The Biggest Battle (1978)

PG   |    |  War, Drama


The Biggest Battle (1978) Poster

How World War II affected the lives of a German family and an American family, both of whom had sons and fathers fighting in the war.


4.9/10
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21 July 2001 | Aylmer
5
| Extremely good cast and action scenes, but the plot makes little sense
I don't understand how Luciano Martino and Mino Loy were able to raise the money to hire so many big-name actors of the time (such as Orson Welles, John Huston, Henry Fonda, and Samantha Eggar) but they still had to rely on plentiful stock footage from earlier war movies like THE BATTLE OF EL ALAMEIN and LEGION OF THE DAMNED.

Umberto Lenzi's directing is good as usual, with lots of emphasis placed on the well-edited action scenes. The budget for such scenes seems quite minimal however, with a lot of the same actors dying over and over again, and a few really shoddy toy tanks exploding (though a few shots of these tanks were lifted from other movies).

As for the cast, just about everybody that had anything to do with the Italian movie industry shows up somewhere in the movie, from familiar dubbing voice Robert Spafford as Patton to future director Michele Soavi as Fonda's dead son. The photography and music are all top notch, yet this movie has gotten ad reviews accross the board. Why? Because it has little or no plot to speak of. There are so many characters and so much going on in the film that it has no focus or direction. Eggar's character has no point in the movie other than she makes it slightly longer, and Edwige Fenech gets one lousy scene as a French prostitute. Eventually, most of the actors end up in Africa fighting on one side or the other and (surprise!) the Germans lose and all the German characters die, the end. But who goes to watch a good old-fashioned war movie for the plot anyway? There's plenty to enjoy if you like watching German soldiers lying in the road pretending to be dead so they can shoot the American soldiers that run up to help them. It also contains a number of memorable scenes like when Stacy Keach gets lost in the desert and falls over after about 1 minute of walking, and a very goofy case of bad communication when Ray Lovelock attempts to call up his father and the two barely manage to get through even a few words...

The ending really comes out of nowhere though, but it's made especially funny as John Huston seems to just get bored of the movie and walk off saying "seeya around" right into the camera! Definitely not a movie to miss...for fans of the genre.

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