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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 29 April 2008
A sequel of sorts to "The Longest Day," (same director, some of the same actors like Fonda playing different characters), this is one of the best restorations of a film I've seen in recent years. The picture and sound have been digitally remastered and 17 minutes of previously-unseen footage has been added (you even get a hilarious 1960s intermission card onscreen halfway through, how's that for restoring everything!). The film looks and sounds brand new again and there are new things to enjoy.

Having said that, the film itself doesn't do justice to the real Battle of the Bulge or Ardennes Offensive as it is also called. The real battle was fought in blizzard conditions, there are scenes in this film that look like summertime with not a flake of snow in sight. The tanks are also not the gigantic German Tiger and King Tiger tanks that were used in reality. Of course, it was hard to find all the real elements when making this movie 21 years later, but I'd love to see a Saving Private Ryan-style remake where they could put realistic-looking Tiger tanks in with CGI.

Robert Shaw gives a strong performance, even if he does look like the stereotypical bleach-blond, blue-eyed Nazi. The Malmedy Massacre is well-handled, which is unusual for a film from 1965. There are also some interesting black-and-white interviews and "Making Of" documentaries from the time included on the DVD.

I don't think the average viewer will worry about the historical inaccuracies too much. They'll just see an entertaining, old-school, all-star Hollywood war epic of the kind they don't make anymore. Recommended.
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on 27 October 2006
The film at its original length was terrific, however this dvd has lost at least 20 minutes of footage, spoiling a lot of the build up and anti-war sentiment. A fierce argument over war between Henry Fonda and Charles Bronson has been cut out, as have some of the scenes of brutality by the Germans against civilians in a town. If you have never seen the full length original then you might not notice but a shame all the same.
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This is supposed to be an epic war movie. And it is. It is a great vehicle for many of the popular actors of the time which includes some immortals. This is not intended to be a documentary. The over all intent of this presentation other than entertainment is to show that war has a lasting effect on those people that live through it.

The story is of course the title "Battle of the Bulge" only instead of concentrating on Bastogne we are treated to the formula which on the U.S. side Lt. Col. Daniel Kiley (Henry Fonda) figures out them sneaky Germans is going to attack through the forest and of course Col. Pritchard (Dana Andrews) wants to have Lt. Col. Kiley committed. On the German side Col. Martin Hessler (Robert Shaw) just wants to have fun playing tank and wants the war to go on for ever; however his sidekick Cpl. Conrad (Hans Christian Blech) has this thing about preserving his offspring from joining the fun of an endless war.

Can Gen. Grey (Robert Ryan) find a mistake the Germans have made and turn this around or will the German juggernaut just keep coming on. No fair looking at this movie from hindsight.

I have watched this movie on and off for several decades and even though the Blu-ray version does not add any new words or scenes to the movie it does add a sort of 3D effect that adds to ones viewing pleasure. As an added bonus Director Ken Annakin and Actor James McArthur (who plays Lt. Weaver in the movie) are still alive and adds a voice over commentary
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VINE VOICEon 4 November 2007
Infamous as the war movie denounced by Eisenhower for its woeful inaccuracies, anyone approaching this movie should be well aware of its pitfalls. However, if you can overlook them or at least partake with a generous pinch of salt, there are still some treats to appreciate.
The battle of the bulge was set in one of the bitterest winters on record in 1944, when the Germans used the bad weather to confound the Allies air superiority to launch a massive all out attack designed to splinter the Allies and change the course of the war. As the disclaimer at the end of the movie says, this film is a highly compressed, fictionalised version of that, with all the characters merged and renamed.. in other words, it is a fictional version of what happened - and it shows.
The bitterest Winter is hinted at in a few moments of the movie as during the initial battles we see some pockets of snow and men stamping their feet to keep warm - however, as the movie progresses, the films actual shooting location in Spain becomes more apparent as we see dusty desert and sweaty men. Worse, the two environments are poorly spliced together leading to woeful continuity, and almost the entire movie is plagued by incongruously sunny weather. The tanks bear no resemblance to those used, and the grimness of war is covered over, with death conveyed in the old fashioned `throw-up-your-hands-in-the-air-and-fall-down-dead' approach to moviemaking. Now that the movie is over, I am hard pressed to remember a single moment that actually showed blood. One would think that having directed on `The Longest Day' (a far superior film) Ken Annakin would have learned some lessons in the importance of historical accuracy, and how it can bring an audience in. Here, the contrivances which have Henry Fonda almost single handedly figure out the whole sequence of events and be in all of the major battle scenes, serve to disengage the viewer.
So that's the bad out the way - but in fact, from a one star movie, a sort of watchable movie is rescued thanks to two things - Firstly, the cinematography - shot in Ultra-Panavision, a process designed to give an epic widescreen image, enough to project onto Cinerama (a process which used 3 curved screens, and in its true form, 3 synchronised projectors, to create an all encompassing experience). This movie has clearly been made with this process in mind, as scenes of trains hurtling along tracks and cars weaving down slippery roads are shown at some length from point-of-view angles... the end result is rather like watching a movie shot in 3D in its 2D form - the action seems contrived. However, the aerial, crane and dolly shots in this magnificently restored version use the widescreen to dramatic and exciting effect, and should only be watched in widescreen...the reputation of this movie has suffered greatly from too many years in pan-and-scan format designed for the TV screen.
And secondly, the magnificent performance of Robert Shaw as the fictionalised panzer commander, based on Colonel Peiper - the youngest man to reach full Colonel in the German army. His is a complex character, showing humanity to his aide, and passion for the process of war - and yet disdain for the hierarchy that sends him to battle.
Apart from Shaw, there are a few other moments which attempt to add some humanity to the proceedings, with heroism being forged from tragedy, such as the young lieutenant who survives the infamous (and historically accurate) massacre of prisoners at Malmedy, and becomes galvanised to lead the fight as a result. However, the pluses are outweighed by the clumsy script, inaccuracy and dusty desert filling in for frozen Belgium. The unlikely ending at the fuel dump serves as the nail in the coffin.
Has a certain boys-own appeal perhaps, or to watch to enjoy the incredible amount of Franco's hardware on display...but in this day of Saving Private Ryan and other of its ilk, an audience have come to expect much more. Worth a rent perhaps, but not one to watch twice.
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on 16 March 2016
I was expecting this just to be the film as shown on tv, but turned out to be the original full length cinema version, the quality was such high standard, detail was outstanding, sound quality even better than anticipated as US import this is one of the better films to have been upgraded to high definition quality and plays with no lagging of film track or sound track overall massively impressed with it.
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on 21 June 2006
I'll start by saying that this film was made decades before I was born but that I first saw it as a kid and was amazed by the battle scenes, especially the sheer expanse and number of tanks involved on screen at any one time.

The actors are top notch old greats, the only names missing are Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood and John Wayne, apart from those three, all the great actors of the period feature in the film, from Bronson to Ryan.

There are glaring inadequacies in the film, such as the fact that some of the 'driving' scenes are quite clearly shot in a studio and look cheap and silly in the modern world. The other big mistake is the fact that all the German tanks are American M26 Pershing Heavy Tanks and the American tanks are all M24 Chaffee Light Tanks, when they should have been mostly M4 Shermans. However, surprisingly this does not take away from the plot or the film as a whole. The tank battles are immense and huge and there is some great scenes in it, especially the one with Robert Shaw and Hans Christian Bleck where Bleck (Corporal Conrad) shouts at Shaw (Colonel Hessler) over his love of the war. The scene with Bronson and Shaw is also memorable.

All in all its a great film and I would recommend it to anyone, even if you don't have a clue who any of the actors are. Do not simply be put off by the films age, it is one of the best war films of all time. An absolute classic!
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on 27 October 2015
A brilliant war film. Brings me back to the way films were years ago even having an intermission with music but at least with DVD you can skip easily if you want. Though I wouldn't say the film is 100% accurate it is pretty close to historical events unlike many of the modern war films coming out of Hollywood. Robert Shaw is excellent in it as is Henry Fonda.
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on 30 August 2014
A rather old-fashioned war epic with stereotypical Panzer commander Robert Shaw confronting U.S forces at the famous "Battle of the Bulge",the last Nazi offensive of the war.Quite spectacular,but not entirely convincing battle scenes.Compared with other movies on the same theme, especially the series "Band of Brothers", or the 1956 film "Attack!" it does not have the impact of either.The final battle does not seem like snow-bound Ardennes at all,and the German tanks don't look very genuine,and the climax seems rather contrived.Was it made for Cinerama?. it looks like it. The performances are so-so.Henry Fonda,Robert Ryan,Dana Andrews and Charles Bronson represent U.S. forces, the aforementioned Robert Shaw does his considerable best as Hessler,fighting a losing battle!.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 March 2011
Battle Of The Bulge is a fictionalised account of the battle of the Ardennes in December 1944. Directed by Ken Annakin, it's an ensemble piece that stars notably Henry Fonda, Robert Ryan, Robert Shaw, Charles Bronson, George Montgomery, Telly Savalas and Dana Andrews.

Rightly criticised for its approach to the actual event, one could forgive this failing if the film wasn't so immeasurably dull. I came across a quote for the film that said it was 101 war film making for children. Never has a used quote been so apt as that one for a war film. The actors either look bored or turn in wooden performances, the latter probably prompted by the insipid script from Philip Yordan & Milton Sperling. While the action scenes are constructed like some cardboard cut-out game taking place on the dining room table. It also unsuccessfully tries to blend humour with its serious intents, a blend that just comes off as confusion. There's some worth in this being a film about tank battle {a mighty piece of weaponry indeed}, but no this really is a poor genre offering that can't even be saved by the star wattage meant to propel it forward. 3/10
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on 26 October 2014
Good to very good war movie staring Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw and Robert Ryan. Directed by Ken Annakin who co-directed The Longest Day. The Battle of the Bulge (the Ardennes) was of course one of the most famous European Word War Two battles, when the nazies tried a a last all out offensive to re-take French territory in the winter of 1944. - Good picture quality, full widescreen (2,76 to 1) and last around 2 hours and 40 minutes. English and Gernan subtitles.
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