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Top Customer Reviews
"The Hill" that gives the movie its name is a device of torture built by prisoners in the Libyan desert: a pyramid of stone, sand and corrugated iron, which looks like a vestige of some ancient, barbaric age. Prisoners who violate the letter or "spirit" of the British Army's antiquated rules are forced to hump double-time over the hill in full pack, in the searing mid-day sun, endlessly, until they drop. On its sides men are broken--hollowed out--and obedient robots are made.
"The Hill" is, in my opinion, the most powerful WWII film ever made--yet not one bullet is fired in its two-plus hours. The drama and the terror of this film are in the war of character, of wills: the violence of psychological destruction. If this sounds boring to you, you should know that the film draws you in quickly with its stark premise (a disgraced NCO enters a detention camp for incorrigible soldiers, and antagonizes the sadistic staff-sergeant), then cuts deeper and deeper and does not flinch for an instant. This movie has a spine harder than the sun-blasted rock of "the hill" itself.
The maniacal inflexibility of leadership--particularly in wartime, and especially among noncombatants eager to prove their "toughness"--has been the theme of several great movies. This may be the greatest. Its atmosphere is more convincing than other prison/boot-camp flicks ("Full Metal Jacket," "Midnight Express," etc.), and its photography and editing have enormous impact--all without resort to stylization or even a musical score. The final brilliance is in the casting.Read more ›
Cinematography is fabulous, lack of musical score intensifies the drama's isolated setting.
Buy this film--campaign for the uncensored (uncut) DVD.
This is a deeply intelligent film.
The acting, script, story, direction and photography have rarely been equalled. I don't think there is a single weak link, line, or player in this gripping story of human nature under stress.
There is no easy way out in this movie, no fail safe cliches or sentimental heroics. "Mutinous" prisoners baying the name of a dead soldier are cowed and brought to heel, by a NCO, who knows full well how to gain control of a crowd.
Each time, you think justice will out, cynical men carefully pull the strings, bark the orders, and carefully manipulate the men to perform their bidding.
Each character grows, each role has depth, each offers insight into the way any of us might react to such circumstances. No one is idealised. Even Roberts laughs at Stevens at one crucial point.
Strange, the director conveys such brutality and corruption but rarely needs any obscenity in the script. I only realised that half way through the film.
I have a great love for Euripides, the Athenian playwright of 484-406 BC, whose ironic tragedies question the accepted brutality in 'civilised' society at war. I think The Hill does the same and to the same superb standard.
Shot in beautiful and stark black and white in the desert of Almería (Spain). During WWII in north Africa the British run this prison camp for British petty criminals whose lives are made miserable to the brink of going mad. One cell is shared by five very different persons, each one very interesting for the type they represent. Harry Andrews plays the cruel sergeant-Major who sadically enjoys torturing his "human specimens" march up and down a man-made sand hill. His staff-sergeant embodies the loathable lackey who takes orders and even exceeds in carrying them out. All the cast is superb, wonderful. Connery, the star in the film is very good but I felt the other characters were as interesting -if not more- than him. The tension in the film increases by the minute, to a point when you can't even blink an eye, it's gripping, absorbing. One really feels like being there, tortured in the 100 degree sun, running out of breath, with no way to escape. The system is rotten but nobody dares speak out.
It is very realistic. It reminded me of my own Spanish military experience: the officer's cruelty, drunkenness, the commanders away with prostitutes and relaying responsibilities in the brutes of the lower ranks always willing to take it on the rank and file. Even the physical exhaustion, and the beating.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Received one DVD that would not play, returned it and received another one that would not play.Published 1 month ago by M. E. Gfeller
I saw this this long ago, and it stuck in my memory... that hill of sand. I did not remember much of the plot, but now with the intervening years, it all rings true. Read morePublished 2 months ago by F.Hoffman
This intense WW2 drama contains, in my opinion the ,career best performance by Sean Connery. There is not a trace of Bond on view here; he disappears into the role. Read morePublished 3 months ago by b gunkle
Highly recommended. A cast of some of the finest British actors (Sir Michael Redgrave, Ian Bannen, Harry Andrews, Ian Hendry) surrounding Mr. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Erik M. Friedl
This is one of the few films, of the time, in which Sean Connery doesn't get to mingle with a beach full of beautiful girls, nor does he get to save the world. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Donald Brown
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