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The Long Day's Dying

The Long Day's Dying(1968)

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Three young British parachutists who are cut off from their regiment await their sergeant in a partially destroyed house. Their dissimilar personalities create frequent antagonism: John is a well-educated pacifist who nevertheless takes pride in his military skills; Tom, the oldest and most experienced of the three, cautiously follows regulations; and Cliff is a sadistic military enthusiast. Setting booby traps for the enemy, the three men capture Helmut, a German officer with a passion for efficiency, and he tricks them at a draw of straws into sparing his life and taking him with them as they search for their sergeant, whom they eventually find with his throat cut. After spending a night in a farmhouse containing a team of dead Germans, the four men confront a German search party in a woods. In the ensuing battle, Cliff is killed along with the members of the German patrol. Finally arriving within sight of the British lines, the three survivors sing British songs to show that they are friendly. However, a line of tracer bullets is fired, and Tom is mortally wounded. In a mad frenzy, the pacifist John leaps on the wounded Helmut and drives a skewer into his heart. Then, staggering back onto the field, John is also killed before the British recognize him as one of their own.