Movie Review: The Dirty Dozen (1967)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1967 war film starring Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson

Synopsis: A World War II Army major is put in charge of a group of ex-soldier convicts and told to turn them into a commando unit. They are then sent on a top secret suicide mission to kill dozens of high ranking German officers so the German military will struggle to respond to the upcoming D-Day invasion with the promise they will have their sentences commuted if they succeed and survive.


Surprisingly, even though I usually enjoy them when I do see them, I rarely watch war movies. I’m not really sure exactly why other than the fact I’m pretty much the only one in my house that would be interested in watching them and rarely have enough alone time to do so.

I happened to come across this movie earlier this week, however. And, even though I’ve seen it probably a couple dozen times now, found myself making time to watch it again. This is because, even 47 years after it was made, it is easily one of the best war movies ever made.

The thing I really like most about this movie is the fact, even though the soldiers in the squad are considered the good guys, they aren’t necessarily good people. This is in contrast to what I’m used to seeing in a variety of other films, where the heroes are good soldiers that follow orders without asking questions. The majority of the characters in this film had no love for the military, don’t seem to really care who wins the war and are only doing their jobs because there’s something in it for them.  But, at the same time, they were pretty impressive as a team.

Charles Bronson (Photo Courtesy of Pixabay)Adding to this was how they pursued their objective by doing things that weren’t necessarily morally right. The scene where they lock the guests of that chateau in a dungeon and then burn them alive was pretty dramatic in my opinion because, in addition to German soldiers, there were also quite a few women and other civilians in that group too. That’s a realistic portrayal of the harsh realities of war you aren’t going to see in many other films. Oh, and the fact Bronson’s character appeared to almost enjoy what he was doing helped improve the overall impact.

Final Opinion

As I said before, I don’t watch a whole lot of war movies. However, this is a film I will take the time out of my busy schedule to see whenever I have a chance. And, it is also a film that, in my mind at least, sets the standards for all other war films.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 11/29/2016, StevenHelmer
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