The Big Red One

Watch The Big Red One

"Only chance could have thrown them together. Now, nothing can pull them apart."
  • R
  • 1980
  • 1 hr 53 min
  • 7.1  (21,317)
  • 77

The Big Red One is a 1980 war film directed by Samuel Fuller, based on his own experiences as an infantryman in World War II. The film stars Lee Marvin as Sergeant Possum, the leader of a small squad of soldiers fighting in North Africa, Sicily, Normandy, and Germany. Mark Hamill plays Private Griff, one of the new recruits who joins the squad early in the film, and Robert Carradine plays Zab, another member of the squad.

The film is divided into five chapters that cover different battles and campaigns during the war. The first chapter, "The Breadbox," takes place in North Africa in 1942 and introduces the audience to the squad and their mission. The squad is made up of a diverse group of soldiers, including Possum, Griff, Zab, and three other soldiers named Vinci, Johnson, and The Sergeant. They are tasked with destroying an enemy fuel depot and face tough opposition from enemy soldiers and planes.

The second chapter, "The Prairie," takes place in Sicily in 1943 and deals with the squad's efforts to capture a farmhouse being used as a command post by the German army. The third chapter, "The Desert," takes place in North Africa in 1943 and sees the squad trying to survive in the harsh desert environment while also fighting German soldiers.

The fourth chapter, "The Forest," takes place in Germany in 1944 and depicts the squad's role in the Normandy invasion. The squad faces tough challenges as they try to push their way inland and face heavy resistance from Germans troops. The fifth and final chapter, "The War," takes place in Germany in 1945 and sees the squad in the closing days of the war, facing desperate German resistance and trying to keep morale up.

The film is not a traditional war movie in that there isn't a clear hero or a clear victory. Instead, the film focuses on the experiences of the soldiers and the hardships they face. There is a sense of camaraderie and loyalty between the squad members, but also a sense of loss and pain as they witness the death of their fellow soldiers and come to terms with their own mortality.

The film is notable for its realistic portrayal of combat and its attention to historical detail. Samuel Fuller, who served as a combat infantryman in World War II, insisted on using real weapons and uniforms from the time period to give the film an authentic feel. There are also several scenes in the film that are based on Fuller's own experiences in the war.

The performances in the film are strong, particularly Lee Marvin's portrayal of Sergeant Possum. Marvin brings a sense of toughness and gruffness to the role, but also allows the audience to see the human side of the character. Mark Hamill's performance as Private Griff is also noteworthy. This was his first major film role after the success of Star Wars and he does a good job of shedding that image and creating a believable character.

In addition to the battles and action scenes, the film also deals with larger themes like the nature of war and the futility of violence. There are several scenes in the film where the soldiers question the value of what they're doing and wonder if it's all worth it. There is also a sense of resignation and sadness as the squad members realize how many they have lost and how much they have sacrificed.

Overall, The Big Red One is a well-made and poignant war film that deserves more recognition than it has received. Samuel Fuller's personal experience and attention to detail make the film feel authentic and the performances from the actors are top-notch. It's a film that doesn't shy away from the harsh realities of war but also manages to find moments of hope and humanity amidst the chaos.

The Big Red One is a 1980 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 53 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.1 and a MetaScore of 77.

The Big Red One
Where to Watch The Big Red One
The Big Red One is available to watch free on The Roku Channel Free and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Big Red One for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 53 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.1  (21,317)
  • Metascore