- Actors: Corbin Allred, Alexander Polinsky, Kirby Heyborne, Larry Bagby, Peter Asle Holden
- Format: PAL
- Language: English, German
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Classification: 15
- Studio: In2film
- DVD Release Date: 9 Oct. 2006
- Run Time: 87 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B000IB0K8I
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,778 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
Saints And Soldiers [DVD]
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War drama set in Belgium in December 1944. When German troops open fire on unarmed American prisoners of war, they provoke the historic Malmedy Massacre. Four soldiers, trapped behind enemy lines discover a stranded R.A.F. pilot who holds the key to German intelligence which could save thousands of American lives. The five men must battle through the bitter Winter landscape, to smuggle their precious cargo from the clutches of the enemy.
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actual events, namely the horrific murder of over 70 unarmed US soldiers at the hands of an
SS Panzer Division in Malmedy, Belgium, during World War 2.
It's director, Ryan Little an LDS/Mormon, uses the horror of the Malmedy Massacre
to create a watchable, if far fetched theme of US Mormon soldier meets up with German
Mormon soldier on the battlefield.
Four US servicemen manage to escape from the massacre and team up with a crashed RAF
Pilot (Winley) who is carrying information vital to allied commanders.
Corbin Allred, a Mormon actor, plays Corporal Greer who stands out from his companions in
that he had been a missionary in Berlin prior to the war. No mention is made as to Greer's
religious affiliation, but it is not difficult to work out that this non smoking, non drinking, coffee
hating soldier is a member of the LDS church.
Due to his personal peculiarities, his comrades nickname him The Deacon, which just
happens to be a genuine LDS/Mormon priesthood calling, and we see him sitting apart from
the others at times, reading what appears to be an LDS Serviceman's edition of The Book of Mormon.
After trying to make it past enemy lines on his own, Winley, the RAF pilot returns
to camp with a German soldier that he has managed to capture, and we then learn
that Deacon knows the German, as he taught his family while he was serving his church
mission in Berlin. So good US Mormon soldier is reunited with 'good enemy' German Mormon
soldier and they chat and pray together. The group let the German soldier go as he has given
them details of the Nazi Troop Movements in the surrounding area.
After a few more skirmishes with the enemy the US comrades finally catch up with their own
troops and pass on the vital information.
Whilst the story is a good yarn, in which we learn something of the morality and coping
abilities of soldiers under pressure, it is too much to expect an audience to believe that
a US Mormon fighting in the Ardennes Forest would bump into the very same German
Mormon that he knew from his missionary days, and happily chat and pray together.
The odds for that happening are almost impossible.
The only substance to the claim that the film is "based on actual events" is the fact that
the Malmedy Massacre was in fact true and a war crime.
As for the rest, we must accept that the final statement in the credits is true.
"The characters and incidents portrayed in this motion picture are fictitious".
Quality acting from unknown actors, working to a somewhat unbelievable script in
the snowy forests of Utah. I loved it for the implausibility. Not at all typical
of the genre.
Released in 2003.
Running time approx 90 minutes.
Subtitled in English.
The film itself claims to be 'based on actual events', i.e. the Malmedy Massacre where scores of POWs were killed in cold blood by SS troops. This does form the starting point for the film, but doesn't really have a bearing on the plot - it's just a reason why four US soldiers, who escaped the massacre, find themselves trapped behind enemy lines and trying to get back to their own side. These four come across a bailed-out British airman, who has vital information and is like something out of 'allo 'allo, and the five make their way through the snow. They bicker amongst themselves, have various close calls with German patrols and befriend a French woman and her daughter, who have an improbably well-stocked larder and neat and tidy house considering its proximity to the front-line. There is also a highly improbable coincidence, before the film ends with quite an exciting sequence as the group attempt to battle through the Germans to their own side.
I've noticed other reviews mentioning a religious element to the film, and it's definitely there. Much of the aforementioned bickering is about religion, but when one character uses the phrase 'my Father came and found me' at a critical juncture, you can be in no doubt as to the religiosity of the film. But it's not excessively 'in your face' and doesn't detract from what is a decent, reasonably well-acted WW2 drama.
A second disc contains a fairly pedestrian 45-minute documentary about the Malmedy Massacre. I think the Allies were referred to at one point early on as 'divine forces', which is a bit weird, even given the religiousness mentioned above. It doesn't appear to give any special insights, and at least half is devoted to the post-war legal wrangling, which is not exactly riveting stuff. There are also some pretty dodgy-looking graphics.
Watch this dvd if you have too much time on your hands e.g. if you are in prison and you have access to entertainment like we have in our HMS prisons (UK). Enjoy.
Playing like a superior episode of Band Of Brothers(and shot in the self same desaturated palate)Saints and Soldiers benefits from a tight running time(85 minutes)which does nothing to diminish it's emotional power and a good ensemble cast.The action when it comes is both potent and deeply troubling(as it should be)with Ryan Little's direction allowing all the characters to develop convincingly.
One or two contrivances and the pilot's odd British accent aside,Saints and Soldiers is a worthy entry into the war genre and what it lacks in spectacle,it more than makes up for in it's potent depiction of the human cost of war.
Spend a little extra for this two disc set and you get a worthy doc on the events at Malmedy.For anyone who holds B OF B in high regard this is an essential companion piece.