Battleground 1949 (1949) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: We follow a band of American soldiers as they engage the Germans in a snowy, foggy winter near Bastogne in World War II. They're low on fuel, rations, and ammunition; the Germans are constantly encouraging their surrender via radio and leaflets, and most importantly, the pervasive thick fog makes… Runtime: 118 min Release Date: 09 Nov 1949
Most underatted and forgotten movie of WW2 ever... (by acerimmer308)
Before "Band of Brothers" came out, I considered this the best, most accurate depiction of an infantry unit in action ever, and I still think it has an edge over "Saving Private Ryan" and "Patton" as the greatest World War II movie not mini-series yet made.The entire cast is not only fun to watch, but very believable in their individual roles, and as a veteran, I can attest to the fact that the swings between humor and deep thoughts in their conversations are dead on accurate. Anybody who's ever served in an infantry unit will tell you that for all the <more>
bickering back and forth, members of a squad, platoon, or company will always look out for each other. "Battleground" captures this perfectly.One of the saddest things for me about this movie is how few people know of it. Except for the occasional airing on AMC or TCM, it rarely shows up on TV and that's a shame. It's well worth the time and effort to find this one.
I like this movie more every time I see it. (by garygorf)
"Battleground" is probably the best movie made about the Battle of the Bulge. After seeing "Band of Brothers", I bought "Battleground" and watched it for the fourth ? time. I thought the characters were well done. I saw this movie for the second time when I was in the US Army, and it turned me off. I couldn't believe guys were measuring their chances of getting off the line by hoping for the million dollar wound, or some other malady. The third time I saw this movie, I had grown up and realized that, human nature being what it is, nothing about their <more>
behavior was abnormal. While I was growing up, Van Johnson was the model GI in all of his movies, as he is in this. I liked the entire cast in this movie. I think one of the best scenes was the Christmas gathering with the Chaplin. His "Was this trip necessary?" speech was one of the high points of the movie for me then and now. This movie, along with "Band of Brothers" are a must see.
An accurate and fantastic film without too much gore. (by NativeTexan)
This is my favorite film about the Battle of the Bulge. The characters are absolutely real, and the story and screenplay are the actual experience of Robert Pirosh who was a member of the 101st Airborne and also the author and screenwriter of the film. Without getting lost in blood and gore, you nonetheless understand the death and carnage going on all around, and you feel you actually know these men. Robert Pirosh and Director William Wellman manage to bring the celebrated American sense of ironic humor to the film. That sense of humor, graveyard though it be, is one of the things that helps <more>
us, as Americans, get through times like those, and like these.Most touching scene: The utter sadness when Pvt. Layton learns that his buddy, Pvt. Hooper, was killed by a mortar shell. William Wellman filmed Marshall Thompson from the back. The fall of his shoulders and head when they said "We didn't even find his dogtags" is an eloquence beyond words.Most memorable repeated phrase: Pvt. Holley's "Oh, no!"
Who knew in mid December of 1944 that Nazi Germany still had enough left for a nasty counter-punch that became known as the Battle of the Bulge.Though a movie with that name was later made, this one is the real deal about the most known incident in that battle, the defense of the town of Bastogne by the United States 101st Airborne Division. Taking advantage of the weather with a pea soup fog that rendered Allied air superiority null and void, Hitler found a weak spot in the American line and launched a counterattack that split the army groups commanded by Montgomery and Hodges with that of <more>
Patton and came perilously close to recapturing the strategic port of Antwerp. Had it been successful it is very probable that the Allies would have had to negotiate an armistice that would have left the Nazis in charge of Germany.In that counterattack the strategic town of Bastogne which commanded a junction of several different highways became surrounded with the 101st Airborne Division holding it. Battleground explains this quite clearly and shows in graphic detail what these men had to endure, the cold, the snow, the lack of food and ammunition and medical supplies for the wounded. As the Duke of Wellington said about the Battle of Waterloo, the defense of Bastogne was a mighty close run thing.MGM put together a fine group of their contract players to show the various types of soldiers who made up a company of the defenders of Bastogne from the 101st. No MGM war film could be done without Van Johnson and he headed a group that was impeccably cast like, Ricardo Montalban, George Murphy, John Hodiak, Marshall Thompson, Douglas Fowley, James Whitmore, Don Taylor, and Bruce Cowling. My favorite in the film however is Leon Ames in a short, but telling role as an army chaplain, conducting some impromptu Christmas services in the field, explaining why their presence in Bastogne and this trip to Europe for the greatest generation was necessary. William Wellman who as a young man volunteered to make a previous trip to Europe in the last World War directed this film impeccably with a sharp eye for visual detail and the language and idiom of our GIs.My uncle who turns 88 this year and will be celebrating a 60th wedding anniversary in September with his wife of the same age was part of the relief that rushed to Bastogne as depicted in that other war film classic, Patton. My mother was his younger sister who worked after school in the Bausch&Lomb factory in Rochester which was converted to war use back in the day. It is to both of them, members of America's greatest generation that this review is reverently dedicated to.
One of the top 5 American WWII War movies (by surf66ocbp)
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, They Were expendable, Twelve O'clock High, Tora Tora Tora, and Battleground: fast forward to HBO's Band of Brothers. There is nothing between that measures up. Battleground loses nothing by being in 1940's black and white: the easel of the finest directors and producers in Hollywood. This is the movie of the Infantryman. Anyone who served is able to detect the phoniness of Hollywood War films when done poorly. The characters are impeccable.The reality is superior. Consider this: you never see an officer. Boil the entire film down to the incredibly <more>
intense German infiltration scene in the fog. Close up to Pvt Hansen in his foxhole pouring away with his Garand. 8 shots: the sound is true to the core the last shot ejects the empty clip in a noise unmistakable for anything else. The weapon is steaming. One of the guys near him is dying you can hear him crying. Hansen needs to reload from the top with glove-liners on his hands in brutal cold. This is hardbitten and stark. Whitmore is a Sergeant throughout. There is a sarcastic Pvt. Holley line from this movie I find myself using now and then: "I thought we had it good before, but this is the BEST YET ! "
Sometimes less is more. This movie made more of an impression on me than all other WWII films until "Saving Private Ryan". The fact that some 45 years separated the making of these two films represents most of the differences in them. Both James Whitmore and Van Johnson were great in this film; the realistic dialog and interplay of the characters all are very natural and believable.At least Wellman did not insert an allegory of the Holocaust into his film they way Spielberg did with the Jewish soldier getting sliced open with his inept fellow soldier too gripped with fear to <more>
Christmas crisis in the Ardennes, December 1944 (by smiley-39)
This is not a large scale multi-million dollar epic of World War Two. No thousands of extras, no wide panoramic sweep of battle scenes. This says more about The Battle of the Bulge than the movie of the same name. It's just an ordinary black and white M.G.M. production. What it lacks in size and scope it makes up for in impact.A simple story very well told, of a squad of GI's of the 101st Airborne Division, thrown into the maelstrom that was the German offensive in the Ardennes in December of 1944 against the Allied ground forces. It's hard to believe that this film was not shot <more>
on location; but on a Metro sound stage. And Metro's Culver City was turned into the only outdoor location for the snow-covered, rubble-strewn town of Bastogne under siege, which was tenaciously held by the 101st, under the command of Brig. General Anthony McAuliffe. With the exception of Van Johnson as Pvt. Holly who was high profile on the Metro lot in his time, and George Murphy as Pvt. Stazak, the rest of the cast were character-type actors who filled their roles perfectly. James Whitmore as Sgt. Kinnie is drilling the squad in the opening scenes. The squad members talk of an enjoyable furlough in Paris which is suddenly cut short by the German breakthrough in the Ardenne. Ptv. Stazak hopes of going home are dashed because his authorised documents have not come through before the squad moves up front. Douglas Fowley as Pvt. Kippton seems to be the best in the squad at bellyaching.Maybe it's his dentures that make him a sourpuss. But Fowley's dentures turn into a class act; clicking away to the old song, "I Surrender Dear," through the courtesy of a German propaganda broadcast heard over the radio in a Sherman tank. Denise Darcel comes as a welcome relief of feminine pleasure; not out of place in the town of Bastogne itself. In an indoor scene, Pvt. Holly's eyeballs go into left-to-right overdrive as he stares at Denise's buxom rear end descending a flight of stairs. Then there's Holly again, nursing stolen newly-laid eggs, as valuable as gold nuggets. He's about to scramble them over a fire when the squad is told to saddle up and move out. Not for the first time does Johnson Pvt. Holly yell, "oh no!" A expression he's used in past movies also. The broken eggs in his upturned helmet are now a problem. In the end it's disaster. The German artillery scramble the eggs for Holly. Problem solved! On a three man patrol, Holly, Hodiak as Janness, Montalban as Rodriguez, intercept and force a jeep carrying a Major and two sergeants to stop and identify themselves. The knowledge that Germans are infiltrating in GI uniforms has made the patrol suspicious so the Major is asked how the Dodgers made out in 1944. The Major hesitates,but the Sergeant in the rear seat asks Holly who Betty Grable is married to. Montalban shouts back, "Cesar Romero". The Major says Romero is out. "Betty Grable is married to Harry James". The tense atmosphere relaxes. The patrol is convinced they're friendly. What is displayed authentically on this studio sound stage is the icy, bone-chilling atmosphere of the battlefield. The men hunkered down; the deeper the better, in their foxholes. Throughout nearly all this movie there is the constant rise and fall in the background of continuous artillery fire, like a rolling thunder. It never seems to cease. Sometimes it's close, sometimes distant. That, along with the freezing fog hanging like a thick whitish-grey blanket in the air, enveloping everything, gives off an atmosphere of crisis; a feeling of fearful tension. The men endeavour to dispel the fear with humour. Waiting and wondering when the enemy will appear ghost-like out of the mist-shrouded forest. Near the end of the movie, Leon Ames gives a good performance as a Army Chaplain. Trying to explain the reason for this necessary trip to Europe, to kill off a murderous political system that has already killed off millions. Before the end, the tables turn in the Allies favour. Sergeant Kinnie notices his shadow against the snow. The sun is breaking through and the mist rises. Allied tactical air power is back in business again with a vengeance.Veteran director William Wellman was not found wanting when he directed this movie. He had already proved himself with, "The Story of GI Joe", in 1945. Antiwar film? Any war film well made and convincing can be antiwar, and you do not need blood all over the silver screen to prove it. Antiwar or not, World War Two was a "popular" war. The reasons stuck out a mile. The Army Chaplain said so in so many words. The Ardennes offensive caught the Allies unawares, in short, too cocksure. By late 1944, battered the German forces may have been. But they still had a few nasty shots in their locker to scare the living daylights out of the Allied Command. The allies paid the penalty in lost ground and casualties for General Eisenhower's insistence for a broad front advance. We thought the Germans had run out of fighting steam, but old Field Marshal Karl Rudolf Gerd Von Rundstedt thought different!
"BATTLEGROUND" has the right feel in most ways. The constant pictures of limping soldiers with their feet wrapped in makeshift boot warmers, the generally haggard and scruffy look of the men, the old woman foraging for food at the trash can, even the white parkas pilfered from German dead remind us of the constant struggles the soldiers and citizens at Bastogne faced in December of 1944. And that doesn't even take into account the thousands of guys waiting in the woods to kill you. But every WWII movie has the combat scenes. It's these non-combat scenes that make <more>
BATTLEGROUND a special movie. Its ambiance is as thick as the fog that enveloped Bastogne.My one gripe with most WWII movies made before THE BIG RED ONE is the age of the actors playing the combatants. Look at it this way, of the six servicemen who raised the flag at Iwo Jima, Mike Strank was the "old man." He was 24. I'm not sure if it was Hollywood's desire to get name stars and character actors with experience, or reluctance to display the horrible truth that most of the combatants were only a few years older than the kids roaming the halls of the local high school.***Spoiler section*** I loved...when Holley Van Johnson attempted to flee a battle and people followed him into perfect ambush position.The boots at the edge of the foxhole.The soldier wordlessly gathering the propaganda leaflets and our certainty of what he was heading into the woods to use them for.Richard Jaekel, fighting to figure out a way out of combat to his very last breath. There was no safe harbor in Bastogne.The wounded and their nurse in terror as the shells rained down around the barn.The relative accuracy of the discussion between the colonel and the German envoy. Every account I've read has the German asking if MCAuliffe's response of "NUTS!" is "negative" or "positive." and the Americans telling him it is decidedly negative.
I watched this movie all the time with my Grandpa growing up. He was a vet of the US Army in the Pacific and he told me that this was the only movie where a M-1 rifle and artillery actually sounded real. That is because both were the real sounds they made. The artillery was actually recorded during the war and used in the film.The characters you can connect with. The circumstances were anything but ideal to fight a war in. You see Layton grow into a vet before your eyes. You see men scared, terrified, and there for each other. Until "Band of Brothers" came out this was my favorite <more>
flick about WWII, and it's definitely the best of the "old school" war movies.