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A platoon of American soldiers captures an Italian farmhouse.
In 1943, the diverse group of fifty-three soldiers comprising the Lee Platoon of the Texas Division anxiously await their upcoming landing on a beach near Salerno, Italy. A landing barge carries them to their objective during the pre-dawn hours, and the increasing danger of their situation is demonstrated when their young lieutenant, Rand, is wounded by a shell fragment that destroys half of his face. Platoon Sgt. Pete Halverson takes over command and orders Sgt. Eddie Porter to lead the men to the beach while he tries to find the captain and confirm their orders. First aid man McWilliams remains with Rand, and the rest of the men hit the beach and dig in while trying to elude the shelling and machine-gun fire. Sgt. Bill Tyne wonders what they will do if Halverson does not return, and after the sun rises, the sergeants send the men into the woods to protect them from enemy aircraft. Tyne remains on the beach to wait for Halverson, but learns from McWilliams that both Rand and Halverson are dead. Soon after, McWilliams is shot by an enemy airplane. Tyne walks to the woods, and there discovers that three other men have been hit, including Sgt. Hoskins. Hoskins stays behind and Porter, Tyne and Sgt. Ward then lead the men in three squads along a road toward their objective, a farmhouse with a nearby bridge that they are to blow up. Porter knows that the six-mile journey will be a dangerous one, and warns the men to watch out for enemy tanks and aircraft. As they walk, the men shoot the breeze and discuss their likes and dislikes, the nature of war and the food they wish they were eating. Porter grows increasingly agitated, but is distracted when two retreating Italian soldiers surrender to the platoon and confirm that they are on the right road. The Italians warn them that the area is controlled by German troops, and soon after, the platoon meets a small reconnaisance patrol of American soldiers. After the patrol's motorcycle driver offers to ride to the farmhouse and report back, Porter becomes even more edgy as minutes pass without the driver's return. Finally Tyne tells the men to take a break while he sits with Porter. As machine gunner Rivera and his pal, Jake Friedman, razz each other, Porter begins to break down and tells Ward that he is putting Tyne in charge. Porter has a complete breakdown when a German armored car approaches, but Tyne's quick thinking prevails and the men blast the car with grenades and machine-gun fire. The bazooka men, who Tyne had sent ahead to search for tanks, blow up two tanks and another armored car, but expend all of their bazooka ammunition. Leaving a man to guard the still-crying Porter, Tyne pushes on, and as the men march, Friedman tells Rivera that he is a traveling salesman who is "selling democracy to the natives." The men finally reach the farmhouse, but when a small patrol attempts to crawl through the field in front of the house, they are shot at by the Germans, and two men are killed. Tyne and Ward are baffled about what to do next when Windy, a calm, introspective soldier suggests circling around the farm via the river and blowing up the bridge without first taking the house. Tyne sends two patrols, headed by Ward and Windy, to accomplish the mission, then orders Rivera to strafe the house while he leads a column of men in an attack on the house, which he hopes will distract the Germans. The remaining men nervously wait for their comrades to reach the bridge, until finally Rivera opens fire and Tyne and his men go over the stone wall and into the field. Tyne's sight blurs as he crawls toward the house, and when he comes across the body of Rankin, one of the fallen men, the platoon's constant refrain, "Nobody dies," resounds through his head. The bridge is blown up, and despite heavy losses, the platoon captures the house. Then, at exactly noon, Windy, Ward and the remaining men wander through the house as Tyne adds another notch to the butt of Rankin's gun.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||New York opening: 11 Jan 1946|
|Release Date:||1946||Production Date:||
David Hersh, President
EB*; EmGee; AFI
AFI tape is cut for TV; EmGee: #6142-S
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono (Western Electric Sound System)||Production Co:||Lewis Milestone Productions, Superior Pictures, Inc.|
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If I were Guest Programmer....
I have fantasized about what 3-4 films I would select if I had this honor and I always select under the radar movies so they are not forgotten. This is one...
Great WWII Movie
Dana Andrews has been a favorite of ours forever.That he looked like my dad never hurt,either.My father served in the South Pacific,but always loved this...
Barry Palevitz 2017-03-11
I first saw this film many years ago, I think as a teen growing up in NYC. I'm 72 now and I can honestly say it's still the absolute best war...