Why is this film not better known? I caught half of it on a rare television outing years ago and several scenes remained with me long after I had forgotten the plot. Then I read William Eastlake's book (which I rank up there with "Catch 22") recently and just had to find the film, now thankfully on DVD. Basically, a small American unit occupies a medieval castle in Belgium just as the Germans begin what became the Battle of the Bulge. The GIs are entranced by the castle, its mysterious custodians and the local village and come up with a variety of ways by which they can ignore or forget the war, but of course the war comes to them and their bonkers commander (the brilliant Burt Lancaster) insists on defending the castle even if it means their death and the destruction of the centuries of art and antiquities stored there. The battle scenes are noisy and confused and probably very realistic, the imagery reverting to that of a medieval siege to which there is no happy ending. The film is stuffed with incredible scenes: Peter Falk deciding that baking bread will end the war, Lancaster on a white horse rallying retreating troops, the 'swimming' Volkswagen, and Bruce Dern in a cameo as a crazed soldier turned preacher.