Video Release: January 19, 2009
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Warner Home Video
- Closed Captioned
- Runtime: 163 minutes
- NTSC (Canada and USA)
- Originally in English
- Released in Spanish
Episodic retelling of the exploits of the American First Infantry Division during World War II, focusing on the squad's sergeant and four of the soldiers. They struggle to survive campaigns from North Africa in November, 1942, to Czechoslovakia in May, 1945, along the way participating in the invasion of Sicily and the D-Day invasion and freeing a lunatic asylum and a concentration camp.
The famous 1st Div. of the U.S. Army is the background for this World War II film. Marvin stars as an experienced sergeant with four teenagers in his squad. Combat period covers the landing in North Africa through the invasion of Europe.
"The Big Red One" was based on director/screenwriter Sam Fuller's personal experiences as a soldier in World War II. The Robert Carradine character is based directly on Fuller himself. Film was first proposed as a project for John Wayne in the 1950s. Title refers to the First Infantry Division, known as "The Big Red One" because of the red one which adorned its shoulder patch and helmet insignia. The symbol was designed by an artist in 1918 and incorporated the red piping from a German soldier's forage cap. Additional cast: Charles Macauley (as General/Captain), Alain Doutey (Broban), Colin Gilbert (Dog Face POW), Joseph Clark (Shep), Ken Campbell (Lemchek), Doug Werner (Switolski), Perry Lang (Kaiser), Howard Delman (Smitty), Marthe Villalonga (Madame Marbaise), Giovanna Galetti (Woman in Sicilian Village), Gregori Buimistre (German), Shimon Barr (German Male Nurse), Matteo Zoffoli (Sicilian Boy), Avraham Ronai (German Field Marshal), and Galit Rotman (Pregnant Frenchwoman). Additional crew: William Hankins (Props), Craig Corman (Production assistant), Roy Street (Stunt horseman), and Alan Weisman (Gunsmith). "The Big Red One" originally ran 140 minutes, but was cut by the studio down to 113 minutes, with the director's apparent approval. Color by Metrocolor. Prints by Technicolor. Titles by MGM. Filmed on location, with Israel standing in for North Africa, Sicily, France, Belgium, Germany, and Czechoslovakia. Scenes depicting the Rhine Valley were filmed in Ireland and featured Fuller's wife, Christa Lang, but were eventually cut from the film. Rated BBFC AA by the British Board of Film Censors.