Certainly one of Sidney Lumet's greatest films. Connery has never been so good, ditto Ian Hendry. Michael Redgrave almost steals the show as the wimpish medical officer who finally stands up against Harry Andrews - but all to no avail. I've always thought that one thing which proves the greatness of any film is the strength of the minor roles - Norman Bird is superb as the hopeless camp commander who's never even heard of the prisoner who's just died. This film comes on TV quite regularly (it was on TCM yesterday) but the only DVD available is Region 1 from the USA - or a very expensive Spanish import. I suppose it'll turn up eventually. PLEASE!
"The hill" is the story of the lives of a small group of British soldiers in a military prison in the North African desert during the second world war and how they face up to the harsh discipline imposed upon them by the people running the prison. The hill in question is a huge mound of sand that the soldiers have to repeatedly run up and down in the searing heat often carrying full packs and rifles as part of the unrelenting punishment regime.
A demoted sergeant superbly played by Sean Connery has been banged up for thumping a superior officer after refusing an order during battle that he thought was suicidal and it is him that rebells most against the regime personified by the authoritarian governor of the prison played by a memorable Harry Andrews. A private soldier played by Alfred Lynch is desperately homesick for his wife and family and not unexpectedly he is the prisoner who is the first of the group to be destroyed by the regime.
Sidney Lumet directs a film that packs a powerful emotional punch and you can feel the scorching heat of the desert and the tension within the prison walls in every scene and you experience the struggle of the prisoners against those who have their lives in their hands and who exercise power over them at every opportunity. Only Ian Bannen in an outstanding role as the only remotely humane guard tries to understand them and ease their suffering and despair. An unforgetable film that tells a story that grips you from the start and never lets go.
This is one very good movie from Sidney Lumet and the acting performances are very good from Sean Connery and Ian Bannen. But it's Harry Andrews great performance as the regimental Sergeant Wilson who steals the movie, which he was nominated for a bafta award for his fantastic performance. But I can't believe he didn't win a bafta or be nominated for an oscar and Sean Connery also deserved an oscar nomination for his performance as prisoner Joe Roberts, which he and his fellow prisoners are forced to climb up a man made hill again and again. Out of the many films I have seen Sean Connery in, I think this and "Indiana Jones and the last crusade" are probably his best performances. Also the supporting actors are also good, including Ian Bannen as the sympathetic guard, Ian Hendry as the nasty staff sergeant and Michael Redgrave as the medical officer. The black and white cinematography suits the movie very well, which Lumet Makes the prison look dark and dreary. The camerawork in the beginning of the film is very good, which the camera performs a 360 degree shot from the top of the hill and the ending is powerful which makes you think what will happen to the prisoners. Overall this is a great prison drama which deserves to be better known and I would give it 8/10.
Hard like a punch in the stomach, this movie is a fair portrayal showing how much a man can be a coward when he faces the life behind an uniform. All the actors are fine, Connery leads of course, but we can't a find a single star, because this is a choral movie and everything works. B/W film with a quite good audio. A cult for the genre evaluators.
A grim but realistic film of life (and death!) within a military prison in wartime Egypt. The film concentrates on the treatment of five prisoners who have to survive the brutal treatment heaped on them in particular by one sadistic staff-sergeant. Sean Connery performs well as the hated prisoner Roberts,a busted sergeant-major,and also Ian Bannen and Ian Hendry as prison staff. Best of all is Harry Andrews as the prison's Regimental Sergeant Major, an old timer who has seen it all but finds events getting out of control as he nears the end of his service. I rate this a near perfect film marred only by its abrupt ending,we know things are going wrong but would like to have seen the outcome!!
Brilliant film. Some of the previous reviewers have cited some cast members for their quality performance. No argument from me there but Roy Kinnear also appeared, in a suppporting role, and also deserves high praise. Likewise the coloured gentleman whose name escapes me. In my opinion, Connery never bettered this performance and he, along with Harry Andrews and Ian Hendry should have been given Oscars !
This must be one of Sean Connery's best roles. It felt very realistic & was a real eye-opener into what might have happened within ranks in the British military during the War. There were many subtle nuances & there was no clear cut answer o who was right & who was wrong & what you yourself might have done in the circumstances. A great film.
This film was ordered by mistake as I wanted an English copy. But it was not wasted as I passed it to a very good friens who is a fluent Spanish speaker. He was impressed with the film and the brtality that it portrayed.