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The Story of G.I. Joe (1945)

Burgess Meredith , Robert Mitchum , William A. Wellman  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

Price: $109.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Burgess Meredith, Robert Mitchum, Freddie Steele, Wally Cassell, Jimmy Lloyd
  • Directors: William A. Wellman
  • Writers: Ben Bengal, Ernie Pyle, Guy Endore, Leopold Atlas, Philip Stevenson
  • Producers: David Hall, Lester Cowan
  • Format: Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • 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: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 23, 2000
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305837406
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,899 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Story of G.I. Joe" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Archival newsreel footage of the real Ernie Pyle talking with American G.I.s in Italy during WWII
  • Stills gallery of original 1940s Ernie Pyle newspaper columns
  • Liner notes by James Tobin, author of "Ernie Pyle's War: America's Eyewitness to World War II"

Editorial Reviews

As they march into yet another devastated Italian town, one of the soldiers of Company C neatly sums up the average infantryman's experience of World War II: "When this war's over, I'm gonna buy me a map and find out where I've been." Released less than three months after the German surrender, The Story of G.I. Joe is a gritty portrayal of the reality of war: defeat as well as victory, blood and mud as well as glory.

William Wellman's film was based on the newspaper columns of war correspondent Ernie Pyle (played by Burgess Meredith), and through him we get to know a small group of ordinary infantrymen as he follows them from North Africa into Italy. They're led by Captain Bill Walker (Robert Mitchum), who claims he earned his rank by living longer than the other lieutenants, and Sergeant Warnicki (Freddie Steele), a tough, gruff career soldier who carries a carefully wrapped recording of his son's voice across Italy in search of a gramophone. The soldiers--many played by real veterans of the Italian campaign--mature as we get to know them, becoming battle-hardened but increasingly exhausted.

Meredith is effective as Pyle, who quickly becomes something of a company mascot. He earns the respect of the GIs by sticking around when the shells start to fly, and he becomes an even bigger hit when he brings them all turkey and cigars at Christmas. But if this quintessential ensemble piece belongs to anyone, it's Mitchum as the battle-weary C.O. Fiercely loyal to his men, he feels every death as a personal loss but refuses to flinch from his duty. Mitchum brings an extraordinary depth of emotion to his performance, and he received a well-deserved Oscar nomination.

Much of the film's strength lies in the contrast between the human side of war--bored men trying to stay sane in cramped dugouts--and the inhuman randomness of its destruction. After every battle, ambush, or artillery attack there's a terrible moment when we wait to see who is dead--"We lost three," says Sergeant Warnicki as a few men stagger in from a patrol. The nerve-shatteringly realistic battle sequences bring to mind Saving Private Ryan, and The Story of G.I. Joe is a strong competitor with Spielberg's acclaimed film for the title of greatest-ever war movie.

Several of the soldiers who appear in the film, along with Ernie Pyle himself, died in action before The Story of G.I. Joe was released. Fifty-five years later it still stands as a memorial to them and to all of the ordinary men and women who died in World War II. --Simon Leake

Product Description

The mightiest action drama ever filmed! Robert Mitchum (Cape Fear) and Burgess Meredith (Of Mice and Men) star in this gripping World War II drama based on the newspaper columns of Pulitizer Prize-winning war correspondent Ernie Pyle. Directed by legendary filmmaker William Wellman, "The Story of G.I. Joe" depicts Ernie Pyle's (Meredith) experiences with the men of Company C of the 18th Infantry and their role in the invasion of Italy. Pyle joins Captain Bill Walker (Mitchum) and his men in the desert of North Africa and follows these gallant soldiers as they fight their way from the beaches of Sicily to the hills of southern Italy. Few films have so honestly portrayed the harrowing existence of the infantry soldier in World War II--an unsentimental, often brutal, but always human story of the mud, blood and death that surround the infantryman in combat. Mitchum's performance made him a star and earned him an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor. Critics and film historians agree--this is simply one of the best films ever made about World War II.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
103 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Story of G.I. Joe April 4, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
I have been watching "War Films" for nearly fifty years. This has been my favorite war film of all-time. It was filmed in black and white. It does not have the special effects of "Saving Private Ryan",but being made in 1945, it has the look and timeliness of the "real thing" without the Spielberg touch. 150 men in this movie were actual combat veterans which lends a lot of credence the movements and actions of these soldiers. This was the first and only time, that Robert Mitchum was nominated for an Academy Award. He was OUTSTANDING as Capt. Walker. Burgess Meredith is so great as Ernie Pyle, that Ernie Pyle could not have played himself any better!
This movie will let you know about the comraderie of combat citizen soldiers. Their personal anguish. Their sacrifice and courage.
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the story of g.i. joe April 17, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
I saw this movie many years ago and always considered it the best war movie ever produced. The stars were outstanding. Ernie Pyle could not have have played himself better than Burgess Meredeth and Robert Mitchum has never been better in portraying the lt. loved by all his men. The characters were everyday men who had a job to do and never considered themselves heros. I could never understand wythis movie was never reproduced on video or why it has never been shown on tv in over 40 yrs. This movie falls in the same class as "Saving Private Ryan" and "A Walk in the Sun"
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Three Best WWII Films. November 10, 2000
I grew up during World War II. My dad, a combat engineer, was overseas for three years, so the war made an indelible impact on me that lasts to this day. I remember sitting in the local movie house watching the news reels and wondering whether my father was there,was all right or would even come home again. I had friends whose fathers were not.
He did, thank God, but the experience made me very critical of the typical John Wayne type Technicolor epics that glorified war and had almost supernatural heros and heroics. Those old black and white news reels, shot by combat photographers, showed the real face of war, its mindless viciousness, the numbing stress it placed upon its young combatants and the pathos of death and dismemberment at its most violent.
I believe only three films about WWII caught this realism. 1. Battleground, 2. Twelve O'Clock High. and 3. The Story of G.I. Joe. If there were equally good films made about the Pacific theatre, I don't remember them, but the three above films I think will stand the test of time because of their powerful realism.
The Story of G.I. Joe is about the 'forgotten war', the Italian campaign where the American and British forces had to slug their way inch by inch up the peninsula against well-prepared and led German forces who often fought to the last man. But the attention of America was focused on the Pacific and later, after D-Day, the northern European campaigns.
Ernie Pyle, who is brilliantly portrayed by Burgess Meredith in this film, was the only reason that folks back home, who had fathers and sons in Italy, could find out a little, anything, about this forgotten war. He understood the American G.I. better than any writer that ever lived.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Here Is Your War February 26, 2005
I love the infantry because they are the underdogs. They are the mud-rain-frost-and-wind boys. They have no comforts, and they even learn to live without the necessities. And in the end they are the guys that wars can't be won without. - Ernie Pyle

Newspaper columnist Ernie Pyle reported from the front during World War Two, spending the majority of his time with the common infantry soldier and most often reporting on their daily doings, Pyle won the Pulitzer Prize in 1944 for `distinguished war correspondence during the year 1943.' William Wellman's 1945 ERNIE PYLE'S STORY OF G.I. JOE is one of the great World War II movies made by and for that generation. It's important, I think, to heed the full title. This movie is very much Ernie Pyle's vision of the war. You can find a number of columns written by Pyle by doing a simple internet search, and anthologies of his war reporting are still in print.

The movie episodically follows Pyle (Burgess Meredith) and the infantrymen of Company C from their landing in Italy to the eve of their assault on Rome. The low-key approach Pyle brought to his writing is duplicated here. There's a gritty realism without the false heroics or gung ho attitude that marked most recruitment movies of that era. It's an ensemble work, with Meredith and then newcomer Robert Mitchum (who was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as Capt. Walker) standing out in a strong lineup.

This is a movie made by, and for, the WWII generation. The soldiers - your sons, America - are tired and dirty and somehow inured to the killing. As Pyle wrote, and this movie captures, `every line and sag of their bodies speaks their inhuman exhaustion.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ernie Pyle's coverage of the common soldier February 13, 2005
By Dave
This unforgettable classic, based on Ernie Pyle's "Here is Your War" and "Brave Men", is considered by many to be one of the best war films ever made. Even General Dwight Eisenhower considered it the best movie to come out of World War 2. William Wellman, the director, initially didn't want to make the movie, but after a telephone conversation with Ernie Pyle himself, Wellman relented. Wellman later admitted that Pyle's pleas for the common soldier were so touching that Wellman was nearly brought to tears.

"The Story of G.I. Joe" follows the beloved correspondant Pyle (played to perfection by Burgess Meredith) as he meets and becomes close friends with C Company of the 18th Infantry as they fight their way from Sicily to Rome in 1942 and 1943. Pyle becomes especially close to Captain Bill Walker (played by Robert Mitchum, in his oscar nominated breakthrough role). The combat scenes are brief but very realistic, and no one is safe from death on the battlefield (including the Captain).

This movie is an unflinching look at the daily struggles of the infantrymen, who struggle with the enemy troops and the mud. Wellman wisely used 150 veterans of the army's Italian campaign as extras, and gave some of them speaking parts. Unfortunately, many of these extras would later be killed fighting in the Pacific after the film was completed. And Ernie Pyle would also meet his death in the Pacific, killed by a sniper's bullet. "The Story of G.I. Joe" would be the one and only film he made that Wellman refused to watch.

Undoubtably one of the finest-crafted war films ever made, "The Story of G.I.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice, flic, a little boring at times, not sure it's tot
Overall not a bad movie, however it is a little boring at times. I think a good touch would be to put actual Ernie Pyle writings, such as what he wrote in the newspaper etc. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jonsam Friedman
1.0 out of 5 stars Stop selling DVD's that do not play on DVD players in the USA.
The DVD does not play. Return costs were as much as the DVD. Due to the cost of returning the DVD I still have it..
Published 7 months ago by Mark Kachor
5.0 out of 5 stars This is really the story of Ernie Pyle
Ernie Pyle was America's most respected and best-loved war correspondent in World War II. While this movie may have been inspired by Ernie Pyle's book, Here is Your War, about the... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Bob C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift for my husband.
This is a great story, and bought it for my husband. He really likes it too. Any war story is worth watching especially if it is true.
Published 11 months ago by MARTY
5.0 out of 5 stars great movie and great delivery
I really liked the movie very much and it came exactly like you said it would.i would recommend to anyone that likes real good war films.
Published 16 months ago by randyboes
3.0 out of 5 stars gi joe used dvd
the film itself is a landmark film... unfortunately they are not making it anymore, so its a super high priced dvd (which is fine if ya got that kind of cash on hand) or a used... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Colonel Katdaddy
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe The Best
I was 10 years the year this movie came out & remember seeing it with my parents. Now I am 77 & have seen it a second time. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Philos
5.0 out of 5 stars Different type of war film
"The Story of GI Joe" is the true life story of newspaper reporter Ernie Pyle who was attached to US infantry units in WW 2 during the 1943 Italian and Tunisian campaigns. Read more
Published on April 2, 2011 by Dr. James Gardner
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Story of G.I. Joe (1947) ... Burgess Meredith ... William A....
United Artists presents "THE STORY OF G.I. JOE" (1947) (108 min/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) -- Starring Burgess Meredith, Robert Mitchum, Freddie Steele, Wally... Read more
Published on February 7, 2011 by J. Lovins
5.0 out of 5 stars Movie review
Ernie Pyle would have been very proud of this movie because it is a very realistic portrayal of the war.
Published on June 27, 2010 by John P. Williams
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