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76 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars War Classic Stands Test of Time...
"The Dirty Dozen", Robert Aldrich's 1967 adventure classic, would redefine a whole genre of films, as public attitudes towards warfare and heroism changed, due to Vietnam. With 'heroes' who were certainly not noble, a mission that would require a level of cruelty film audiences had never before seen from American fighting men, and graphic language and bloodshed, the...
Published on July 29, 2006 by Benjamin J Burgraff

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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic movie, but shockingly BAD DVD transfer...!!!
All right, we all know how great THE DIRTY DOZEN is... you've more than likely read all the previous reviews, most of them rightfully glowing. HOWEVER, what almost ALL the previous reviewers neglect to mention is that the current DVD release of DOZEN is woefully atrocious both in sound and picture quality, at least by the standards that we've come to expect from current...
Published on September 3, 2005 by S. BARRY


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76 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars War Classic Stands Test of Time..., July 29, 2006
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"The Dirty Dozen", Robert Aldrich's 1967 adventure classic, would redefine a whole genre of films, as public attitudes towards warfare and heroism changed, due to Vietnam. With 'heroes' who were certainly not noble, a mission that would require a level of cruelty film audiences had never before seen from American fighting men, and graphic language and bloodshed, the impact of the the film was both immediate (despite huge 'box office', many critics panned the film as 'disturbing' and glorifying violence), and continuing (influencing films as diverse as "Patton" and "Saving Private Ryan"). It can be viewed at many levels, as a crackling good adventure yarn, an 'anti-establishment' and anti-war statement, the ultimate 'buddy' film...few films have generated as much controversy, or stood the passage of time, better!

Based on E.M. Nathanson's novel (of rumored 'Death Row' convicts offered a pardon or reduction of sentence for volunteering for a suicide mission), with a large dash of the Pathfinders' legendary "Filthy Thirteen" of WWII tossed in, the property was purchased as a potential starring vehicle for John Wayne. The Duke passed on the project, however (choosing to make "The Green Berets", instead). Director Aldrich never envisioned Wayne in the lead, preferring WWII Marine vet Lee Marvin in the complex role of maverick Maj. John Reisman, and the actor, fresh from winning an Oscar for "Cat Ballou", was dead-on perfect in the part. Veteran stars Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Ralph Meeker, Robert Webber, George Kennedy, and Richard Jaeckel were cast as Marvin's military allies and adversaries.

For the "Front Six" of the Dozen, sullen Charles Bronson (another WWII vet), John Cassavetes (who would garner an Oscar nomination), Telly Savalas (in the most 'whacked-out' role in his career), Clint Walker (of "Cheyenne" TV fame), football legend Jim Brown (in only his second film), and popular singer Trini Lopez (in his film debut) would dominate the screen time, with a "Back Six" of character actors in much smaller roles, simply filling out the rest of the twelve parts. But a movie 'miracle' occurred; when Walker objected to a scene where, as a bogus 'General', he would idiotically review an Airborne unit (feeling it demeaned Native Americans, who his character portrayed), Aldrich passed the scene to "Back Six" actor Donald Sutherland...and the scene would spectacularly launch his career, leading to his starring role in "M.A.S.H."

Aldrich's meticulous shooting style, and the often rainy British weather (where the film was shot), more than doubled the shooting schedule, and after seven months on location, Trini Lopez (on the advice of friend Frank Sinatra), informed Aldrich and the producers that he was missing singing dates, and would need a pay hike to continue. To Lopez' surprise, Aldrich 'dropped' him, having him die in the climactic parachute drop!

The director was warned that if he didn't eliminate the film's most controversial scene (pouring gasoline and dropping grenades on the women guests, as well as the Nazi officers seeking refuge in the bomb shelters), he would lose any chance of a 'Best Director' Oscar. After soul-searching, he left the scene in ("War is Hell, and HAS to be portrayed that way"), and while he sacrificed the prize, Robert Aldrich gave the film a brutal honesty that subsequent wars would sadly verify.

With loads of Disc Two Special Features that open up the film and gives an insight into why it has become a 'classic' (including the first "Dirty Dozen" TV 'sequel', a Lee Marvin Marine 'Leadership' training film, and an astonishing documentary on the "Filthy Thirteen"), it is absolutely an essential for any 'War Film' library.

"The Dirty Dozen" survived contemporary criticism, and has proven to be one of the most enduring war films of all time, as fresh today as when it debuted in 1967.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dirty Dozen is nice and clean on HD!, November 2, 2006
By 
Elwood Conway "elwoodc" (Frankfort, KY United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dirty Dozen [HD DVD] (HD DVD)
Wow...this HD presentation captures everything, including (much maligned) film grain. It is most likely a better presentation than this film had when originally released to theaters. Visuals are wonderfully clear, the print is exceptionally clean and the sound, for a movie almost 40 years old, is top shelf. This is definitely the version to own!!
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56 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rousing Crowd Pleaser, February 21, 2004
By 
Westley (Stuck in my head) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dirty Dozen (DVD)
"The Dirty Dozen" became one of the biggest hits of 1967, placing behind only "The Graduate," "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," and "Bonnie and Clyde." Its success was well-deserved and unsurprising given how enjoyable and stirring it is. Lee Marvin stars as a Major during WWII who is disliked by many of his superiors. He's assigned to lead a suicide style mission behind Nazi enemy lines. He's disinclined to do so, particularly after he meets his "troop" comprised of a dozen murderers and other criminals - the titular "dirty dozen." Despite his misgivings, Marvin eventually agrees to train and lead this rag-tag group, as a shot of redemption for all concerned.
The story is constructed brilliantly, beginning with an introduction to the assignment and the dirty dozen, detailing their training, showing their first "mock" operation, and climaxing with their final mission. The cast is a superior mix of established stars and then-newcomers, including Ernest Borgnine, George Kennedy, Charles Bronson, Trini Lopez, Jim Brown, Clint Walker, Telly Savalas, and Donald Sutherland. Special cudos go to Lee Marvin, who is terrific as the renegade Major, and John Cassavetes as the rebellious Franco; Cassavetes received his first Oscar nomination for the role (he later received one for writing and one for directing his own films).
Director Robert Aldrich does his best-ever work (he was nominated for best director by the Director's Guild of America), building on such earlier hits as "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" and "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte." His skillful direction manages to make us care deeply and root for a collection of violent offenders. Overall, "The Dirty Dozen" is a first-rate action movie - one of the most enjoyable ever made.
Extras: Included is a fascinating short (9:15) featurette, which was made at the time of release for promotional purposes. The short film presents the actors making the film and then relaxing in "swinging" London, shopping on King's Row, and so forth. A most fascinating time capsule! The building of the chateau for the film is also detailed; it was one of the largest sets ever built for a movie and was blown up for the climatic scene.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's about time, June 1, 2006
By 
Jordan M. Poss (South Carolina, United States) - See all my reviews
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Warner Brothers has made up for the long wait for a good DVD edition of The Dirty Dozen. This two-disc package is excellent, a major improvement on the previous release.

Image quality: A new transfer to anamorphic video. The image is great--very sharp and clear, giving all due emphasis to the gritty quality of the story. In some shots you can see every pore on Lee Marvin's face. A little frightening, I suppose, but worth it.

Sound: Very good. The Dirty Dozen won the Oscar for Best Sound Effects, and this DVD's sound does the film justice.

Special features: Surprisingly good for a film as far-removed in time as this. The highlight, for me, was the commentary on the film by a few of the surviving actors, a film historian, and Cpt. Dale Dye of Warriors, Inc. Dye's salty commentary is the real jewel of the features on this edition.

It's nice to see a movie I've loved since childhood getting the DVD it deserves. If you've been waiting for this DVD--or even if you haven't--pick it up as soon as you can. Highly recommended.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dirty Dozen, October 9, 2006
By 
T. Weigel "Tom W." (Philadelphia, PA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dirty Dozen [HD DVD] (HD DVD)
This HD DVD version does a great job at cleaning up the picture of a movie that is now almost 40 years old. This clasic was enjoyed, being watched in the house even by our kids that have never seen it before. I'll have to say the DD+ audio track was in overdrive on this movie in the battle scenes, the sub woofer and 7.1 surround sound was definetly rattling the house.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Blu package, includes a full-length 'The Next Mission' in DVD resolution as a bonus, November 7, 2008
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This review is from: The Dirty Dozen [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The Dozen is one of the best 'guy' flicks ever made with 'Prison Break' probably the only contemporary challenge that may actually surpass it.

[Well, they are both on available on Blu so we can enjoy them both now :)]

The plot is very simple and, for a classic such as this one, I'm not sure it's worth discussing it. Okay: Lee Marvin prepares a dozen convicts of the worst kind for a mission to kill as many unsuspecting German officers - partying at a remote chateau - as possible so that the German army would have fewer officers to command it on D-Day. Lee Marvin is a tough guy but so are his trainees. In the end, the mission is accomplished and almost everyone dies.

I very much enjoyed this Blu-ray version of the movie. Of course, it's not perfect, there are (a few) artifacts and there are no surround sound effects but this is a clear improvement over the DVD version. The colors are sharp, the picture is steady, the sound is clear and, overall, it's a pleasure to watch. In fact, I've watched it 3 times already since we bought it, a few months ago.

The Blu-ray version, to my surprise, includes a second, DVD quality full bonus movie , the 1985 made for TV movie "The Dirty Dozen:Next Mission". Add to that a couple of great documentaries, including a contemporary one showing 'the making of', commentary sound track, a contemporary trailer, Dolby 5.1 sound and it adds up to more than I expected.

It's a good buy and a great Blu-ray packaging of a classic.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The DVD fans of THE DIRTY DOZEN have been waiting for, June 2, 2006
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The movie THE DIRTY DOZEN led to three sequels, easily the best of which was the 1985 TV movie DIRTY DOZEN: THE NEXT MISSION. That movie, which reunited Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine and Richard Jaeckel from the original movie is featured in the two-disc collectors set DVD as the primary special feature.
Learning of a German plot to kill Hitler, Allied intelligence is worried. The war is not going well for the Reich and Hitler is making illogical and irrational decisions. The Allies realize that if the Fuhrer is assassinated, that the decision-making powers could be given to a more capable military commander and thereby prolong the war, as Borgnine's Gen. Worden notes, Hitler is in fact their best ally.
What follows is a largely retread of the recruitment and training that was seen in the first movie, however the target this time is a train and instead of killing a whole mansion full of generals, the target this time is one. However, as expected, things do not go entirely to plan and the closing minutes of the movie are laden with a couple of surprises for the team. It's lightweight fun and not at all up to the same quality as the original, but it's entertaining enough and has its great moments. The 1985 movie's running time is 1 hour, 35 minutes and is (since it was made for television) full-frame. It's inclusion as a special feature here is reason enough for this movie to be a recommended purchase.
But it's not alone in the special features department. Add to that a scene specific commentary that is held together by film historian David Schlow. For the most part the participants appear to have been recorded separately (with former marine Capt. Dale Dye being the sole participant for the first eight minutes), and at times it can be a little dry, but it's fascinating and informative. Joining Dye and Schlow are cast members Jim Brown, Trini Lopez, Stuart Cooper, and Colin Maitland, producer Kenneth Hyman and original novelist E.M. Nathanson.
For his part Nathanson is also featured in two of the featurettes, "Armed and Deadly: The Making of The Dirty Dozen" and "The Filthy Thirteen: Real Stories from Behind the Lines." Surprisingly the second of these is the most extensive of the two with the retrospective documentary running at a little less than 30 minutes (27:18) and the story on the actual WWII events running at over 45 minutes (47:10). Both are well done in their own respect (and are in widescreen) with a number of new on-camera interviews with George Kennedy, Donald Sutherland and Ernest Borgnine. The first details the development of the movie from book form to finished movie. Interesting among this documentary is the fact that director Robert Aldrich was denied an Oscar because he decided not to cut the scene of the gasoline being poured on the Germans in the underground bunker. Sticking to his principles Aldrich commented that "war is hell" and refused to compromise the quality of his vision. Also interesting is the revelation that newcomer Donald Sutherland originally only had one line in the movie, but when one of his fellow cast members declined to do the scene where they impersonate an American general, Sutherland was picked to do it instead. Little did anyone suspect that almost 40 years later it is arguably Sutherland who is the most famous of the original cast. Author of the book "Guts and Glory" Lawrence Suid talks about how realistic the movie was compared to earlier WWII movies and Nathanson tells us (on camera) that Aldrich attempted to buy the rights to the book before it was published, only to discover that MGM had already acquired them.We also learn that the part of Col. Reisman was originally offered to John Wayne who turned the part down much to the relief of Aldrich who feared that it would have become "a John Wayne movie." In his on-camera interview former footballer Jim Brown reflects on the fact that Aldrich (who was a big football fan) gave dialogue and scenes intended for other actors to Brown so that he would have a bigger role and also the fact that he received some valuable instruction from the other actors, saying "It's almost like having 15 acting coaches."
The second documentary traces the origins of the DIRTY DOZEN story. Author Nathanson had been told that a unit such as the Dirty Dozen had been formed in World War II and two surviving members of what were named "The Filthy Thirteen" are interviewed on camera including veteran Jake McNiece who was a soldier referred to by one historian who just wanted to kill the enemy and didn;t see what discipline had to do with it. Prior to the jump into Normandy McNiece shaved his head to prevent head lice infection and painted his face, a style that his companions copied. War corresspondants became interested in the group and one (Arch Whitehouse) coined the phrase "Dirty Dozen." For his part Nathanson says he used court martial records and his imagination and to this date no evidence has ever been presented to conclusively prove that allied prisoners were recruited for suicide missions, in fact Dye notes in the audio commentary that no U.S. soldier was hanged in WWII.
Two vintage featurettes are also included. "Operation Dirty Dozen" (at 9:13) is little more than a short promo for the movie, although it does offer some interesting clips of the behind the scenes shooting, this is in fact the same feature that was included on the previous release and though it is evidently old, it appears to be in good shape. The second is perhaps the most unusual of all the special features. Former WWII Marine Lee Marvin hosts a Marine Corp training and recruitment film that runs just shy of a half hour at 29:39. Sadly the film quality on this featurette is less than perfect.
Rounding out the special features is a 3:29 on-camera introduction by Ernest Borgnine where he references the three sequels.
All in all, this is the DVD set that fans of the movie have been waiting for. Highly recommended.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic movie, but shockingly BAD DVD transfer...!!!, September 3, 2005
By 
S. BARRY "jimmer72" (EAST LONGMEADOW, MA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dirty Dozen (DVD)
All right, we all know how great THE DIRTY DOZEN is... you've more than likely read all the previous reviews, most of them rightfully glowing. HOWEVER, what almost ALL the previous reviewers neglect to mention is that the current DVD release of DOZEN is woefully atrocious both in sound and picture quality, at least by the standards that we've come to expect from current DVD technology.

Apparently, the official Warner Bros. release is essentially the same as the 1998 MGM release, with only minor variations on the cover art. The picture quality is pretty much the same, which is to say: Lousy. It looks as though MGM/Warners were working from a beat-up, worn-out, 30+ year old print, rather than from any high-definition, digitally-remastered negative transfer. THE DIRTY DOZEN more than likely needs some MAJOR restoration work before a proper release can be sold to the public. Overall sound effects are okay, but certain sections of dialogue are muddied and hard-to-hear. Worse, the picture/print has a a fading yellow layer (which renders almost everything with an unnatural pinkish hue) and is littered with scratches, dirt, dust, pops, etc., and overall picture detail is far from crystal-clear. It's probably one of the worst-looking films I've ever watched on DVD.

Having said that, the film itself is still great and none of the defects really detract from the great story and acting, which still shine through regardless. BUT... if you want your copy of DOZEN to be sparkling-new and spotless, I'd advise holding off on purchasing this DVD until a new, remastered Special Edition comes out... most likely around 2007, when DOZEN reaches its 40th Anniversary. Until then, buyer beware.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pure Entertainment, May 5, 2007
By 
The main problem with The Dirty Dozen is that is shown virtually every night on a TV channel somewhere, so its difficult to justify owning the DVD at all. However this is a good film (and the package would make it 4 and half stars for me) and one I have watched over and over again.

It's an 'A' list cast:

Lee Marvin

Ernest Borgnine

Telly Savalas

Donald Sutherland

Charles Bronson

John Cassavetes (who was nominated for Best supporting actor in 1967)

Robert Ryan

The first 2/3 of the film works best where The Major (Marvin) has to train his bunch of no-hopers. Of course they are under-cover so he upsets some of the top brass and this leads to some run-ins with Col Breed (Ryan). These scenes are wonderfully done and the acting and the script all work brilliantly. For me the last part of the film is less successful. This is where they go into battle. I'm not sure why I find this less interesting, but perhaps its because really the Army is fighting itself in the first part of the film and as soon as they are fighting the Germans I don't care as much.

The extras are worthwhile in this release. There are some interesting commentaries from members of the original cast and a few 'experts'. On the 2nd disc you also get the 1985 sequel movie "The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission" (which still has members of the original cast in it), plus three documentaries.

So superb entertainment from director Robert Aldrich, which does hold up to repeated viewings - even if you have already seen it 25 times!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, April 5, 2006
By 
PAUL PISANO (DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA United States) - See all my reviews
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If any film deserves special edition treatment it is this one. I also read that the made for TV sequel The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission will be included. Telly Savalas who played Maggot would go on to play Major Wright in two more Dirty Dozen TV movies. Lee Marvin showed why we all love him in these roles, he was born to play tough guy parts and play them convincingly. Marvin was in the pacific during WWII and saw action.
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The Dirty Dozen [Blu-ray]
The Dirty Dozen [Blu-ray] by Robert Aldrich (Blu-ray - 2011)
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