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The Dirty Dozen [VHS] (1967)

Lee Marvin , Ernest Borgnine , Robert Aldrich  |  NR |  VHS Tape
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (325 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, John Cassavetes, Telly Savalas
  • Directors: Robert Aldrich
  • Writers: E.M. Nathanson, Lukas Heller, Nunnally Johnson
  • Producers: Kenneth Hyman, Raymond Anzarut
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Language: English, French, German
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • VHS Release Date: May 4, 1999
  • Run Time: 150 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (325 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0792840925
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #333,113 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

A model for dozens of action films to follow, this box-office hit from 1967 refined a die-hard formula that has become overly familiar, but it's rarely been handled better than it was in this action-packed World War II thriller. Lee Marvin is perfectly cast as a down-but-not-out army major who is offered a shot at personal and professional redemption. If he can successfully train and discipline a squad of army rejects, misfits, killers, prisoners, and psychopaths into a first-rate unit of specialized soldiers, they'll earn a second chance to make up for their woeful misdeeds. Of course, there's a catch: to obtain their pardons, Marvin's band of badmen must agree to a suicide mission that will parachute them into the danger zone of Nazi-occupied France. It's a hazardous path to glory, but the men have no other choice than to accept and regain their lost honor. What makes The Dirty Dozen special is its phenomenal cast including Charles Bronson, Donald Sutherland, Telly Savalas, George Kennedy, Ernest Borgnine, John Cassavetes, Richard Jaeckel, Jim Brown, Clint Walker, Trini Lopez, Robert Ryan, and others. Cassavetes is the Oscar-nominated standout as one of Marvin's most rebellious yet heroic men, but it's the whole ensemble--combined with the hard-as-nails direction of Robert Aldrich--that makes this such a high-velocity crowd pleaser. The script by Nunnally Johnson and Lukas Heller (from the novel by E.M. Nathanson) is strong enough to support the all-star lineup with ample humor and military grit, so if you're in need of a mainline jolt of testosterone, The Dirty Dozen is the movie for you. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
75 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars War Classic Stands Test of Time... July 29, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"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.
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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
Format:HD DVD|Verified Purchase
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
Format: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.
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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
Format:DVD
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
Format:HD DVD|Verified Purchase
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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