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Battle of the Bulge
IMDB Rating: 6.8/10 from APPROVED votes
Release: 16 Dec 1965 /

Battle of the Bulge

Genre: Drama, History, War
Director: Ken Annakin,
Stars: , , ,
Synopsis: A dramatization of Nazi Germany's final Western Front counterattack of World War II.

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Critic Reviews


As the son of a man who fought and almost died in the Battle of the Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge is a stupid name that brings to mind something to do with weight control), I not only think this is the worst action picture I've ever seen, I'm ashamed that Hollywood insulted our veterans with this stinker two decades after the battle in which so many Americans died to turn the tide in Europe. You know it must be pretty insulting to war veterans if Ike himself bothered to become a movie critic and denounce it as demeaning to our soldiers and their memory.

I try never to say I hate something, but I hate this movie on every possible level. In the war movie genre, it's a zero. In the historical recreation genre, it is a sub-zero. As an action picture, it is unbelievable. Quite simply the only reason anyone should watch this thing is to catalog a list of things you should avoid doing if you ever decide to make a war movie.

By now, you've already read about the gaffs: The anachronisms like a German reading Playboy magazine in the background. The cheap and silly plastic-models-on-a-tabletop war scenes ala Godzilla, The breathtaking inappropriate location of the filming on the Spanish plains instead of using, if not Belgium, then at least some northern European forest country with snow! I mean, my God, would you film a movie about Eskimos in Venezuela? And some reviewers here struggle to make apologies for all this, saying in essence "So what? It was a fun war movie." Who cares if it was filmed in a desert instead of the Ardennes forest? Who cares if they made the Germans into cartoonish Nazis and the Allies into G.I. Joe and Sgt. Rock comic book heroes? Who cares if almost nothing is as it was during the battle?

Well then, why bother to make a movie with the specific title "Battle of the Bulge" at all? Why not just call it, "Clash of the Panzers"? I know, it was the 1960s and it was just meant to entertain and jerk a few bucks out of people's pockets with gimmicks like Cinerama and marquee brand names like Henry Fonda. I know all that.

But it was an insult to the vets who fought and died there. They said it at the time it was made. I can't get beyond that. I have walked the forests and fields around Bastogne where my father endured such an ordeal he would not ever speak of when he was alive. I've walked among the white gravestones of men who died there. I can't bring myself to get to, "So what? It's just a movie." Neither, apparently could the many vets who decided to take their families to this picture when it was released, and then had to sit there, embarrassed and speechless as this movie made a mockery of their struggle.

I fully expect that I'll get a negative rating as to how many people found my comments "useful," but that's OK. From what I've seen, people tend not to like criticism of a film based on subjective, rather than objective remarks. In this case however, I don't care if I get a single "useful" vote. This movie was a travesty in its day, and worse now with the passage of time. It is truly the "Plan 9 From Outer Space" of war movies.

But ending on a positive note: I'd like to see somebody do a spoof film about the making of this movie and how everybody from the screenwriters, to the director and actors and location scouts to the extras in the background didn't give a flying flip about what they were working on except getting a paycheck. That, I'd watch.

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