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Battleground [DVD] [1949]

Van Johnson , John Hodiak , William A. Wellman    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Also available to rent on DVD from LOVEFiLM By Post

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Product details

  • Actors: Van Johnson, John Hodiak, Ricardo Montalban, James Whitmore, Douglas Fowley
  • Directors: William A. Wellman
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00C05XMLC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 171,146 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Director William Wellman (The Big Heat) offered up this 1949 treatment of the Battle of the Bulge, which was nominated for six Oscars, winning two (for Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography). The film concentrates on the camaraderie and the divisions between the troops as they prepare for the big offensive. Told in a taut narrative, the men of the 101st, led by Van Johnson, wait out the winter in the Ardennes forest to confront the German army in what would be the last major offensive of World War II. The men are demoralised and trapped, with no hope of support from the Allies as they are forced to band together and defend their position. A classically assembled war drama that nevertheless manages to be both engrossing and entertaining, "Battleground" is a mainstay of the genre. --Robert Lane

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Bloody Battle for Bastogne. 15 Mar 2009
By Bob Salter TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:DVD
This excellent war film may seem a little dated to modern eyes, but this does not reflect the true picture. "Battleground"(49) was actually a groundbreaking film for its time. It was the first film after WW2 to portray war with gritty realism. All of the soldiers get scared at some point in the film. This is very different to the John Wayne, Errol Flynn propoganda war films a few short years before. In these and other films the US Serviceman cut a heroic figure, but "Battleground" portrays them in a much more honest fashion.

The film was directed by William Wellman who made a lot of very average pictures, although he did make two interesting Westerns in "The Ox Bow Incident"(43) and "Yellow Sky"(48). The script was written by Robert Pirosh who based it on his experiences at "The Battle of the Bulge", where the Germans launched a massive counter attack in the Ardennes Forest. The film starred Van Johnson and John Hodiak.

The story follows the lives of a platoon of the famous American 101st Airborne Division as they struggle to survive the Siege of Bastogne when their troops were completely surrounded. On the 22nd December 1944 the commanding Officer Brig Gen McAuliffe was asked to surrender by German troops. His phlegmatic reply to this ultimatum was "NUTS". This true event is shown in the film. Bastogne was the scene of bitter fighting where many American and German lives were lost. There is a moving museum and memorial to these men in the town, which is well worth a visit. The fear and the cameraderie of these troops is shown realistically throughout the film. Despite heavy losses and privation in the bitter cold, the platoon battles on until relief eventually arrives in the form of Patton's Third Army.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Battleground 25 Feb 2009
Format:DVD
An excellent, gritty war movie telling the story of the battle for Bastogne from the point of view of a single platoon of the 101st Airborne. One of the better WWII films made in the 40s and 50s. The men are not heroes, they are tired and dirty and just trying to live through it all. Brave in its depiction of an attempt at cowardice by one of the platoon, especially when you think that the film was made only 4 years after the end of the war. An essential film in any war movie collection.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Battleground - DVD 14 Aug 2009
Format:DVD
This film was made in 1949 and one of the first 'realistic' films about WW2. By contemporary standards, the sets are restricted in scope but the result is a compact, well-acted, directed and edited work which is reasonably accurate historically. A copy should be held by anyone seriously interested in WW2 and the 'Battle of the Bulge'. However, it could have mentioned that relief for Bastogne came from Patton's Third Army and only marginally from the airforces once the weather had improved.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars At last! 17 Aug 2004
Format:DVD
Apart from a single showing on ITV (with usual cuts)this film has been hidden away for far far too long. It focuses on the experiences of a platoon of the US 101st division during the winter siege of Bastogne in 1944. The film vividly brings to life the confusion, boredom and discomfort interspersed with moments of sheer terror and tragedy which characterised the siege. Unlike many of the US war films of this period, there are no heroics, no villains and the ending is down beat and enigmatic.
The film opens with two new arrivals joining a group of cheerful veterans planning their next leave in Paris. It's Christmas Eve, the war is almost over and the worst behind them. Suddenly orders come and they are moved abruptly to an unknown destination for reasons that they are never given. Finally they are trapped in a situation that becomes more desperate as the weather worsens, supplies run low and the besieger's grip on the city tightens. What the wider strategic context is, they and the viewers only come to understand bit by bit as the film progresses and their world narrows down to become the platoon and whatever part of the shattered city and countryside they find to shelter in. Moved like pieces on a chess board which they barely comprehend, they don't even know in what country they are fighting until the end. The final scene shows the small group of ragged, dirty and wounded survivors marching painfully in step along the road which will take them out of the ruins of Bastogne and on, to where and to what the fim doesn't say.
I don't know how well the film did when it was first released, but I suspect that it fared badly alongside the more gung-ho examples of the genre that were being produced at the same time (Sands of Iwo Jima for example). Paradoxically,it is more in tune with todays attitudes - which may be why Warner has chosen to re-release it on DVD.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Battered Bastards Of Bastogne. 10 Mar 2011
By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Dedicated to the battered bastards of Bastogne, this major player in the war film genre is directed by William Wellman & tells the story of a U.S. Army division involved in what became known as the Battle of the Bulge. The terrific cast features George Murphy, John Hodiak, Ricardo Montalban, Van Johnson and James Whitmore. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards and won two: one for Robert Pirosh's bold and fluctuating screenplay and one for Paul Vogel's realism inducing black-and-white cinematography.

Battleground is an important war film in many ways. Coming as it did at the tail end of the 40s, it was not required to be a flag waving morale booster for a country at war. Free of this burden, Wellman & Pirosh {an actual veteran of the Bastogne engagement}, crafted a grunts eye view of the war. Forcing us the viewers to spend the whole of the movie with one army squad {the 101st Airborne Divsion}, we get to know them, their fears & peccadilloes etc. Pirosh cleverly telling it as it was, scared men doing their duty. It's that we have been with them as their persona's have been laid bare, that makes the battle sequences even more potent. The jokes have stopped, the camaraderie and harmless rivalries replaced by men crying for their mothers or in some mud hole fighting for their lives. This snow covered, and fog shrouded part of Belgium a bleak canvas for the harshness of war {amazingly shot on the lot}. It's a stunningly structured film, one that doesn't resort to type, it subverts the many war film plot developments that are rife in genre pieces that both preceded and came post its release.

The cast are uniformly strong, and all get get ample time to impact on the narrative. Something that isn't always the case with ensemble pieces.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
EXCELLENT
Published 1 month ago by madmax
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good
My husband kept telling me that this was the best WWII movie he had seen (in 1958), so I decided to get the DVD so I could myself.
Published 2 months ago by AnneWGL
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A great film - much unde-rated.
Published 3 months ago by MR A BROWN
5.0 out of 5 stars battered but never bettered.
This dates to when I was a boy (born 1934) and I saw the movie years ago and enjoyed it so much. I have long repeated Van Johnson's plaintive desperate cry of "Oh No" each... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Bad selection on an order,requires more arttention to to order...
cannot rate this Dvd, because the item supplied was a region 1,I live in the UK which is a region 2,and will not play on UK equipment
Published 10 months ago by thomas
1.0 out of 5 stars Battleground (DVD) (Region 1) (US import) (MTSC)
Battle ground DVD (Region 1) (US uimport) (MTSC))

I had to retuirn it to the sender as I could not it play on my machine
Published 10 months ago by Hugh K Aitken
3.0 out of 5 stars Could you spot the Germans?
This film doesn't quite shift up a gear into `war classic' category as the audience don't really feel any emotional connection when people start getting killed. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Alex da Silva
5.0 out of 5 stars All action no nonsence war film
Although the Company portrayed in the Film is fictitious, the characters were based on real soldiers. A cracking story about the men who fought in Bastogne.
Published 15 months ago by Malcolm Boocock
5.0 out of 5 stars they don't make these films anymore
a good classic war film....worth a view, even from todays perspective of wars. van Johnson plays his part well, of a group of g.i. buddies ending up in conflict. Read more
Published 16 months ago by indian osceola
4.0 out of 5 stars Good WWII Film
This is an 1949 B&W war film that I records without any great expectation either way but found really enjoyable. Read more
Published on 8 July 2012 by Hagrid's Umbrella
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