The Big Red One

The most ambitious war film in Samuel Fuller’s career, a chronicle of his own First Infantry Division in World War II, was a long time coming. When it finally made it to the screen, a wholesale reediting by the studio and a tacked-on narration (by filmmaker Jim McBride) made it something less than Fuller originally intended. But it’s still a grand-style, idiosyncratic war epic, with wonderful poetic ideas, intense emotions, and haunting images rich in metaphysical portent. The effective cast is headed by Lee Marvin (as the grim and hardened sergeant), Mark Hamill, Bobby Di Cicco, and Robert Carradine. Packed with energy and observation, it is full of unforgettable, spellbinding moments (1980). (JR)

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