This low-budget war film boasts a terrific ensemble cast, with an early performance by the dynamic Steve McQueen, and one of the few examples of Bobby Darin's fine acting skills, as he, as well as fellow cast member Nick Adams, both died when they were 37. Others in the cast include Fess Parker, Harry Guardino, James Coburn, and Bob Newhart, who was famous at the time for his stand-up comedy routines of one-way telephone conversations, and lightens the tension with a hilarious scene where to fool the Germans who have placed a "bug" near the telephone, he pretends to talk to the commander.
Based on a true story (which took a few years to be declassified and written about), it takes place near Montigny, France, in 1944, and is about a small squad that is outnumbered by the enemy, who is protected in a pillbox surrounded by mines; the script is tight and the pacing marvelous, with direction from Don Siegel, who would go on to direct so many great Clint Eastwood action films.
I have seen this film countless times since its theatrical release in 1962, and it never gets stale; the performances are all excellent, with a modernistic score by Leonard Rosenman that adds to the atmosphere, and Harold Lipstein's black & white cinematography capturing the muddy, gritty feel of the foxholes, the fear felt by all, and the incredible heroism that some men can rise to.
Total running time is 90 minutes.