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The date is December 1944. The place is Bastogne, Belgium. The Germans have just unleashed their last major offensive in the west and the US 101st Airborne is rushed in to stem the tide. The film focuses on one platoon of airborne troopers and their actions outside of Bastogne.
If you thought the Bastogne sets for HBO'S BAND OF BROTHER'S were fantastic, get a glimpse of the equally fantastic sets for BATTLEGROUND. The story is presented from the GI point of view, so there are few opportunities to see the German soldiers up close.
In terms of historical accuracy, BATTLEGROUND was so well researched that even the weather conditions are matched with historical fact -- specifically that it did not start snowing until the 21st of December.
This film was a bit of gamble by MGM in 1949. In the post World War II and pre Korean War years, audiences were generally tired of war films. Additionally, BATTLEGROUND was not a showcase for clean-shaven football hero-type soldiers. The characters in this story are a collection of brave, tired, freezing cold, grimy and hungry soldiers just trying to survive. Apparently the formula worked because the film was nominated for six Oscars and won two (Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography). Captured on black and white film stock, the picture is occasionally intercut with real combat footage.
Alongside films like THE LONGEST DAY, this film is one of the best about GIs during World War Two. There are some old "colorized" versions floating around out there. Try to avoid those in preference for the original high-contrast black and white version.
This is not the typical gung-ho Hollywood take on battle, but is rather a thoughtfully scripted look at the range of emotions and experiences of a group of young men faced with the brutalizing and surreal situation of day-to-day life in combat. The range of emotions and degree of camaraderie shared by the men belies any attempt to oversimplify, and a few scenes in particular bring home to the viewer the stark truths of such an experience. Still, it is a rousing film, and one finds himself cheering quietly as most of the soldiers triumph and survive the experience of exposure to the elements as well as the enemy.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was amazed at how accurate this old film turned out to be. In some ways it looked more authentic than Band of Brothers. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Dangerous Dan
Big fan of Van Johnson and this film doesn't disappoint. It's always been one of my favorites of his. For war movie buffs (especially WWII) you gotta have this one!Published 19 days ago by Amazon Customer
Amazon was unable to deliver this video streaming. This seems to be happening more and more. My download speed is 20 megs.
Netflix and Hulu works fine.
The best rendition of the Battle of the Bulge ever made. Believable, heart rending, funny, scary, bloody, gritty action. An excellent addition to anyone's library.Published 1 month ago by WATCHER
Great movie, glad I got it. It had been years since I had seen it and I have watched it twice since it was delivered. Murphy's law - TCM showed this movie yesterday.Published 2 months ago by IVEYQ
Battleground tells the story of the Battle of the Bulge from the view point of a small platoon in the 101st Airborne as they try to survive the Nazi's and the cold winter. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Bwhami
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