This highly underated war movie is one of the best of its kind, telling the story of a troubled young soldier, Sam Gifford (played by Robert Wagner), who's at war with himself as well as the enemy. He's outwardly cold to those around him, and for good reason: he's been busted from sergeant down to private for striking an officer. His old squad has been wiped out in a tragic accident, and he's been transfered to a new unit under the command of an insane captain (played by Broderick Crawford).
Through flashbacks we learn that Sam grew up in Tennessee (my home state) where he was the head of a cotton dynasty, which he commanded with an iron fist. His beautiful wife (played by Terry Moore) learns of this sinister, heartless side of him and they fight. Later her father (which is Sam's commanding officer) is killed on the same Pacific island as Sam, and he's furthur depressed. In his new unit under Broderick Crawford's command, he meets a cropper-turned-soldier (played by Buddy Ebsen) who befriends him and watches over him like a father would.
They become close friends, but their friendship is put to the test when they are stationed on an isolated hill with only a handful of troops to defend it against swarms of Japanese troops. In one deadly assault, all of the Americans are killed except for Sam and his friend, who is now wounded. Sam must then choose between trying to carry his wounded comrade through enemy lines, or trying to save himself. I won't spoil the ending, but I will say that this is one of the best war movies I've ever seen (and I've seen hundreds!).
The dvd has a great picture and sound quality, especially the sound. I had to turn up the volume on my tv loud to hear the dialogue, only to be "blown away" by the tremendously loud explosions and machine gun fire! This may seem like a dvd defect to some, but to me it only enhanced the excitement of the battle scenes! The dvd is bare-bones as far as special features go, although it does have several theatrical trailors from classic war movies, which is nice. Overall, I highly recommend this classic to all fans of war movies.