The Dirty Dozen (1967) Poster

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  • U.S. Army Major John Reisman (Lee Marvin) is "asked" by General Worden (Ernest Borgnine) to train a dozen hardcore military prisoners, some of them sentenced to death by hanging, so that they can be led on a dangerous mission, called "Project Amnesty", behind enemy lines. In return for their service, the prisoners will have their sentences commuted ...if they survive. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The Dirty Dozen is also a 1965 novel by E.M. "Mick" Nathanson, said to be inspired by the Filthy Thirteen, a real life Demolition Section of the U.S. Army whose job it was to demolish enemy targets behind the lines. The book was adapted for the movie by Nunnally Johnson and Lukas Heller. A sequel, The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission (1985), followed in 1985. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • They are: (1) Tassos Bravos (Al Mancini), (2) Victor Franko (John Cassavetes), (3) Glenn Gilpin (Ben Carruthers), (4) Robert Jefferson (Jim Brown), (5) Pedro Jiminez (Trini López), (6) Roscoe Lever (Stuart Cooper), (7) Archer Maggott (Telly Savalas). (8) Vernon Pinkley (Donald Sutherland), (9) Samson Posey (Clint Walker), Seth Sawyer (Colin Maitland), (11) Milo Vladik (Tom Busby), and (12) Joseph Wladislaw (Charles Bronson). Edit (Coming Soon)

  • To parachute into France, infiltrate a guarded French château in Rennes, Brittany, being used by high-ranking German officers as a rest house, kill as many Germans as possible, and destroy the communications tower in an effort to disrupt their chain of command before the Allied invasion on 6 June 1944. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • It's evident in the movie that Colonel Breed (Robert Ryan) and Major Reisman greatly dislike each other, but no details about their backstory is provided. It's explained in the book that the mutual contempt between them began in Italy. Reisman, an OSS officer, was working undercover with local partisans in Italy and had observed Breed's arrogant and dismissive treatment of the paratroopers under his command. Reisman, dressed as an Italian peasant, had seen Breed order his men out of a small cafe in which some of the troopers had stopped to have a drink. Reisman broke character and called Breed out for the jerk he was in English, telling him that he ought to give his guys a break and let them drink because tomorrow some of them might be dead. The pompous Breed, embarrassed in front of his men, was furious and had Reisman arrested and held until his identity was confirmed. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Those were pencil detonators aka timing pencils, basically pens with blasting caps and short-duration timers, settable by turning. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Reisman signals to Jefferson that it's time. Jefferson tosses live grenades down the ventilation shafts as quickly as possible, knowing that he has only 20 seconds to join Reisman, Wladislaw, Franco, and Sgt Bowren () in the German half-track before the grenades begin exploding. He almost makes it but is shot and killed by a German soldier. As the grenades start exploding, Reisman heads the half-track out of the courtyard and over a bridge. Sawyer and Lever, who have been serving as lookouts, head for a boat to meet Reisman on the other side of the river but they are shot by Germans and their boat blown up. The half-track makes it across the river, and Franko begins shouting, "We made it!" Suddenly, a German solder steps out from under the bridge and shoots him in the back. The half-track continues its escape, carrying Reisman, Bowren, and Wladislaw, the only one of the dirty dozen to survive, a narrator states: Among the many reports of the raid on the château near Rennes, perhaps the most objective is the one by General Worden in which he states, "We are recommending that those members of the group known as the Dirty Dozen who survived this operation should have their service records amended to indicate that they are returning to duty at their former ranks and that the next of kin of those prisoners who were killed be advised that they lost their lives in the line of duty." In the final scene, Reisman, Wladislaw, and Bowren are recuping at a military hospital. They are visited by Generals Worden and Denton (Robert Webber) to commend them on a job well done. Just before leaving, Denton says to Wladislaw, "Hurry up and get well...we need men like you out there." After Warden and Denton have left the room, Wladislaw says, "Boy oh boy, killing gnerals could get to be a habit with me." Edit (Coming Soon)

Spoilers

The FAQ items below may give away important plot points.

  • When Gilpen is walking at the roof of the chateau, he unfortunately stepped onto a rickety galvanized iron resulting for one of his legs to be trapped at the broken roof. Due to the accident, Gilpen cannot move anymore to continue his mission of disrupting the communication. When the Germans in the chateau discovered the Dirty Dozen's ploy, Gilpen was forced to blow up the whole communication tower to sever the communication. At last, when the entire chateau exploded, Gilpen was among the victims as he was still on the roof, struggling to free his foot under the broken galvanized irons. Edit (Coming Soon)

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