Newest Review: ... is that accurate, with the odd exception - Sounds familiar from Hollywood doesn't it? - Memphis Belle, Enigma............. Anyway to the ... more
Tanks, Tanks and More Tanks!
Battle Of The Bulge (DVD)
Member Name: daseaford
Battle Of The Bulge (DVD)
Date: 14/01/02, updated on 14/01/02 (354 review reads)
Advantages: Great Acting., Realistic.
Disadvantages: Shows a lot of killing.
There are a number of excellent war films that are repeated over and over again on television and this is one of those films. The film is set during the Second World War in December 1944 when the allied forces were advancing across Europe and most people believed that the war would soon be over.
However, some of the German Army senior commanders still wanted to fight on, and believed that a new offensive could split the allied forces in Central Europe and allow the German’s to regroup and fight back.
Like a lot of Second World War films it can now be difficult to tell the truth from fiction and the two are merged together for the purpose of the film. In this film we see a number of actors who became very famous for playing army roles including Henry Fonda (who plays Lt. Colonel Kiley), Robert Ryan (who plays General Grey), Dana Andrews (who plays Colonel Pritchard) and Robert Shaw (who plays Colonel Hessler). The two other well known actors who feature in this film are Charles Bronson (who plays Major Wolenski) and Telly Savalas (who plays Sgt. Guffy).
Colonel Hessler leads a crack brigade of Tiger tanks against the American forces in a surprise attack. There are then huge battle scenes between the Germans and the Americans, with many tank battles. As this film was made in 1965 the film makers did not have the luxury of computer generated images and the large battle scenes really did have huge numbers of men and a significant number of tanks. Although there was the use of some trick photography, you can only imagine the enormous logistical challenge that this film must have been for its makers.
There are hundreds of explosions during the battles and although many men are killed the film is not at all gory, and all of the men seem to die without ever bleeding. These type of “clean” deaths were very common in films made around this era.
What is interesting in this film is that the scenario is shown from bo
th the German and the American sides. We can see how the war was as much a battle of minds, strategy and intelligence, as it was actual fighting in the field.
The film is very well made and at times it is easy to forget that this is just a film, as it seems more like a documentary with “real” footage. The acting is very good throughout and the characters are portrayed in a totally convincing way. Robert Shaw is superb as the obsessed panzer commander, Colonel Hessler and you are given an insight into how some of the German officers may have thought at that time and why the end of the war was protracted.
Entwined within the main story are a few sub-plots, which give more of an individual viewpoint of the war. (I won’t name the characters as this may spoil the film a bit). These include a hero, a profiteer and a guy who just wants to go home to see his sons.
If you are interested in Second World War films then this is one of the best. It is filmed in colour and the special effects teams and stunt actors have done a superb job in giving this film a very realistic feel.
This is a war film that I can highly recommend.