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Fixed Bayonets

4.1 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An Army corporal leads what's left of his platoon back to their regiment in Korea. Directed by Samuel Fuller.

Amazon.com

Not your typical star-studded or star-spangled war film, cult-fave director Samuel Fuller's Fixed Bayonets is a viscerally thrilling Korean War drama of one platoon's trial, and one corporal's baptism, under fire. Morale is high but the ammo is low for an American division hunkered down in the mountains of Korea. Certain massacre awaits if they retreat. To give "15,000 men a break," 48 "of our toughest combat men" are selected to stay behind and trick the "commies" into thinking the entire division is in place while the others escape safely across a river. Fixed Bayonets is raw and brutal in the best Fuller tradition. The backgrounds are obvious fakes, and the platoon members sport the usual war movie nicknames like Whitey, Rock, Jonesy, and "Mr. Belvedere" (he's the resident know-it-all). But all else has the authentic ring of reportage, as in a powerful scene when the men cluster together to rub their feet to ward off frostbite. Richard Basehart stars as Denno, who can "take an order, but can't give one" until his three superiors are knocked off one by one, leaving him in command. This rueful exchange--"They told me this was going to be a police action." "Why didn't they send the cops?"--is as close as Fuller gets to geopolitics. For war-movie buffs, he does deliver pounding and tense action sequences. In one harrowing scene, a medic must navigate a minefield to try and rescue a wounded sergeant and retrieve the only map to the field.. But he is resolutely unsentimental and more interested in the ravaged, human face of war. These are faces you will not soon forget (one of them, reportedly, belongs to James Dean, but this film is so gripping, one is hard-pressed to make the effort to try to spot him). --Donald Liebenson

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Basehart, Gene Evans, Michael O'Shea, Richard Hylton, Craig Hill
  • Directors: Samuel Fuller
  • Writers: Samuel Fuller, John Brophy
  • Producers: Jules Buck
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Mono), French (Mono), Spanish (Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: April 24, 2007
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MGBLIC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,956 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Fixed Bayonets" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Richard Basehart stars as a Corporal who does not like the responsibilities of command. When the Chinese invade the Division must pull back across the river and set up new defence positions. A stay behind platoon is left on the opposite bank of the river to hold a critical pass. One by one the platoon's leaders are killed and it is up to Basehart to save the day. Excellent Korean War drama/action movie. On par with "Pork Chop Hill" and "One Minute To Zero". Also stars Gene Evans as the Sergeant and Skip Homier as a soldier. Highly recommend!
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A solid Sam Fuller directed movie with outstanding performances by Gene Evans and Richard Basehart. Classic Fuller with more dialogue than 'action'. Similar to his other Korean War movie "Steel Helmet" including the use of WWII Infantry packs in Korea which had been replaced by then. Overall, a good movie for a Saturday afternoon. Fuller was a veteran WWII Infantryman who showed us the grimness of the front-line soldier's world. It would make a great DVD set with "Steel Helmet". Throw in "Big Red One" and you would have the key Sam Fuller war movies.
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This is a taut war movie from Samuel Fuller. A platoon is cut off from the rest of the outfit and has to try to work itself back. Richard Basehart plays the corporal who ends up in charge as men get killed off one by one. Look for James Dean as one of the soldiers.
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"Fixed Bayonets" (1951) is a very good war movie, directed by a specialist as Samuel Fuller, who also directed "The Steel Helmet" (1951) and the exceptionally good "The Big Red One" (1980).
As a WWII veteran Fuller knows what war is and what really happens in front line small units.
The present film IMHO, represents a new approach to war movies, stark reality is shown, not as realistic as in "Saving Private Ryan" (1998) or "Band of Brothers" (2001), but definitely more lifelike than "Guadalcanal Diary" or "Gung Ho" both from 1943.

The story is about a Company left to fight an almost suicidal rearguard action during Korea War. Being the main character a Corporal reluctant to assume leadership notwithstanding his personal courage and sense of duty.
Playacting is really good with Richard Basehart as Cpl. Denno and Gene Evans as Sgt. Rock (performing Sergeants is a trademark for him) as the acting high points.
If you are a movie fan try to discover Jimmy Dean in his first film appearance as an uncredited GI.

B&W photography enhances the film by accentuating the desolate winter landscape and martial music follows an old tradition for war movies.

It is a very commendable movie for all those interested in war films.
Reviewed by Max Yofre.
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Format: DVD
This movie had haunted me ever since I first saw it on Los Angeles TV when I was twelve years old. Being the son of a career soldier it was always expected that some day I would serve in the Army. I always wondered whether I would measure up and be able to lead men in combat.

In 1991 I found myself leading a team of American soldiers advising an army in a very deadly war against a communist insurgency. Leadership in combat is the ultimate challenge and when my tour ended, I felt no different then how Richard Basehart's character did at the end of this movie.

Though a bit dated, this movie is my all time favorite and definitely a keeper.
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If you can suspend your disbelief, and you can ignore the painted background of snowy mountains and the fake cavern in which most of the movie develops, you'll find that Fixed Bayonets! is a very good movie.
Based on some critics I read previously, I was expecting a typical American war movie where the Americans are depicted as flawless heroes while the enemy is shown as stupid, malevolent sub-humans. Not so. This is a plain story where soldiers are, well, just soldiers. At least as far as I can perceive, there is no political agenda or in your face heroism discourses. Though not much background is provided for each of the soldiers, I felt empathy for each of them. Stereotypes? Maybe, but depicted in a very natural, convincing way. Particularly likeable are the two main protagonists: Gene Evans as the wise sergeant-mentor Rock and Richard Basehart (who even looks quite handsome!) as the conflicted corporal Denno. Anyone who has been in an unexpected position of leadership where you have to make important decision concerning other people will be moved by his conflict. There are several scenes full of a dramatic tension that are hard to match: watch for the mine rescue field; just awesome. In a sentence, totally recommended. I'll get also "Steel Helmets" to continue my exploration of Sam Fueller's films.
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Format: DVD
One of my favorite directors, Sam Fuller, directs his follow-up to his Korean War classic, "The Steel Helmet(1950)" with this white knuckler called "Fixed Bayonets!(1952)".

"Fixed Bayonets!" follows the story of a platoon of men left behind to hold back a Commie counterattack during the Korean War. All the men are a colorful, memorable lot and the film focuses strongly on the Corporal as portrayed by Richard Basehart. While a courageuous man, he has difficulty in firing his weapon. He also is afriad of being in charge and his suspense mounts as one by one the chain of command are knocked off.

This is a very succesful War movie but not quite as fast paced as Fuller's previous classic. Instead Fuller builds suspense and clausterphobia among the ranks as the ebemy closes in on the small number of men. Action is there and is typically quick and unexpected, with a particularly exciting final few minutes.

Fuller injects his usual amount of humor into the picture along with minute details on the plight of the soldier. One of the most memorable moments is that bizarre sequence where all the men keep there feet warm in a cave by massaging them together in a small puddle of water. Or passing the time by creating a replica of Bowling with a snowball and spent shells.

The cast is excellent led by Basehart who brings a toughness and realism that is largely missing from other War movies. Most films in this genre would portray him as a one dimensional coward, but Fuller chooses to depict him in a more well rounded light. Case in point: Look at the Upham character from "Saving Private Ryan" for proof of Hollywood's "easy way out" writing style to gain a simplistic audience response. Luckily, this film does not go that low.
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