In a prologue, an American soldier in World War I mistakenly kills a German hours after the armistice has been signed. By 1942, the American is a veteran Sergeant (Marvin) leading a small group of men in the invasion of North Africa against the Vichy French. Private Zab (Carradine) is a budding writer, Private Vinci (Di Cicco) an Italian-American, Private Johnson (Ward) a fun-loving blonde. The one who will grow the most as the squad fights its way through Sicily, Normandy, Belgium, the Battle of the Bulge, and finally a Nazi death camp in Czechoslovakia, however, is Private Griff (Hamill), an artist/cartoonist who shies from killing in their first battle and is shunned by the others, but who becomes a stone-cold killer (not a murderer, as their sergeant explains) by war's end. The men will experience everything from battle in an insane asylum to delivering a baby in a German tank. Much of their trek across the map is shadowed by a German sergeant, Schroeder (Rauch) who repeatedly tries to kill them and finally collides with the American sergeant in the final hours of the war. Samuel Fuller wrote and directed this 1980 film based on his own experiences and book: originally released in severely-cut form at 113 minutes by the studio, it was reconstructed and rereleased in 2004 with a running time of 158 minutes.
The review of this Movie prepared by David Loftus