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The Devil's Brigade

4.5 out of 5 stars 229 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A U.S. colonel makes a commando unit out of a Canadian major's crack troops and a U.S. major's misfit troops.

Amazon.com

Dismissed in 1968 as a plodding rip-off of The Dirty Dozen--without that 1967 film's sardonic, antiestablishment satire--The Devil's Brigade now plays like a nostalgic last gasp of the sentimental World War II action genre. Celebrating the 1st Special Service Force (a commando-like unit formed to fight in Norway but ultimately deployed in Italy), this typically broad Andrew V. McLaglen production recounts the teaming of some miscreant GIs with "the handpicked best of the best-trained army in the world"--the Canadians--under a U.S. officer (William Holden) who had never commanded men in combat. The first hour, heavy on machismo and low comedy, depicts the unit's training at an abandoned base in Montana, with nonstop international rivalry until Yanks and Canadians bond in a lusty saloon brawl. After that, the Germans are easy meat. Holden is solid, as usual, and so is the widescreen work of veteran cameraman William H. Clothier, impeccably rendered on the DVD. --Richard T. Jameson

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: William Holden, Cliff Robertson, Vince Edwards, Andrew Prine, Jeremy Slate
  • Directors: Andrew V. McLaglen
  • Writers: George Walton, Robert H. Adleman, William Roberts
  • Producers: David L. Wolper, Julian Ludwig, Theodore Strauss
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Letterboxed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: January 31, 2006
  • Run Time: 131 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (229 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000062XEX
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,796 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Devil's Brigade" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Eric Howard on December 4, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This fact based WW2 film is one of the great whip 'em into shape movies. When the call went out for U.S. and Canadian volunteers for a commando unit many commanders used this as a oppurtunity to unload their trouble makers. Choir boys don't make good commandos so the right men were available for the job. This film shows the tough training that these men endured including skiing, mountain warfare and advanced hand to hand combat. I've read a few books on these men and the film accurately potrays the bonding developed between the US and Canadians as they teamed up in the local bars to fight lumberjacks and miners. After their harsh training the force is sent to Italy. The film makes no mention that the force's first mission was against the Japanese in the Aluetion Islands. The climax of the film is an assault on a mountain top in Italy. These scences are so well done that when I attended the USMC mountain warfare school at Bridgeport CA. they used this clip as a training tool. The film has a great soundtrack and lots of hero type actors. Just one problem-where did those red berets come from? Read the 2001 published book, "The Black Devil Brigade" told by the men themselves.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
William Holden, Cliff Robertson, and Vince Edwards turn in their customary fine performances in this excellent story about one of the early Special Operations units. The storyline is simple enough. A Special Ops unit is formed for a specific mission in Norway (the mission is eventually changed. Nice bit part by Michael Rennie as General Mark Clark). For reasons I was never quite clear on, the unit is comprised of equal parts of American misfits and Canadian elite troops. (This is said to be historically accurate). My favorite part of the movie is the interaction between the American rogues and the more cultured, but equally tough, Canadian troops. There are some hilarious scenes that take place during pre-combat training which show how the unit gelled together into an elite force.
The action scenes are very well done, and the attitude of the regular army units towards the unconventional Special Ops unit is true-to-life. Special Ops units have traditionally, at least until recently, been the orphans of the army, and that is brought out very well in this fine movie.
If you like a straightforward, well-acted war movie, this is one of the better ones.
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Format: DVD
Just bought this old classic on DVD. Why can't they make movies like this anymore? The answer...because there aren't actors like William Holden, Claude Akins, Richard Jaekel and Jack Watson around anymore. The Devil's Brigade is a true story which accurately depicts the camaraderie all fighting men develop. It's great to see some real machismo stuff and not feminist, PC nonsense were subjected to nowadays. The real men of the Devil's Brigade helped save the world 60 years ago.
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Format: VHS Tape
This film is about one of the elite units of WWII, a unit that is part of the lineage of modern day Special Operations. The film does a very good job of depicting the main points of the birth of this unit and some of the trials and tribulations that it had to go through. The film is historically accurate in the depiction of the undesireable soldiers that the United States contributed to the unit and the better trained Canadians. This film does an excellent job of showing how Special Operations units are unappreciated by the main stream military brass. Having served in the United States Army Special Forces for 5 years, I know how hard it can be to depict special operations capabilities in such a short movie. Again, this film hits the high points and is entertaining. It is a must see for any war movie buff and especially any student of special operations history.
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By A Customer on June 26, 2004
Format: DVD
The 1st Special Service Force really existed and accomplished far more than this film would indicate. Any critic who whines about "improbable events" is a gabbing ignoramus...
Having said that... Most veterans of the Force do not like the film. The idiots with checkbooks would only back the film if it was "rousing" (read Hollywood treatment) rather than lovingly accurate.
The chief technical advisor was Lt. General Frederic (ret) himself... so the producers and director certainly had the facts to hand. Many of those facts and much of the history never made it onto the screen.
What don't the Forcemen like? Well, the Americans certainly had more than their share of guardhouse sweepings and tough characters sent their way by other commands (though those who could not learn to accept discipline and bond with others were rapidly washed out...) and excellent Canadians... but the "border warfare" premise is essentially false.

U.S. uniforms for all but the Americans got higher pay... (different pay days for each group, so always borrowing from each other) When the drek was chased off both nationalities settled in quite well with each other.
Kiska was almost bloodless (Canadian and American troops did accidentally shoot each other when the Japanese proved to have pulled out... but not the Force... their fire discipline was superb...) One part of the Force was prepared to make a parachute drop into action... The Force had the "friction" of battle without the losses... This honed them to a fine edge... and the film ignored the whole episode.

Their jump training was almost ignored (except for jump boots and jump wings shown on the screen) along with their demolition and amphibious training.
Read more ›
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