Published on March 25th, 2008 | by Chris0
Saints and Soldiers (2003)
Saints and Soldiers is by far the best war movie I've never heard of before. Yes, it really is that good. Starting off with a frank depiction of the Malmedy massacre of Allied soldiers by the Germans, Saints continues on into an incredible story of humanity and survival. This tale is at the same time beautiful, and incredibly difficult to watch.
Every aspect of this film just blew me away, from the acting from a band of relative unknowns, the soundtrack, the camera work, the writing and the direction. Sure there were a couple of moments I winced, but nobody's perfect, but this is really, really close.
Fleeing from the massacre are four US soldiers: Medic Gould (Alexander Polinksy), Private Kendrick (Larry Bagby), Sgt. Gunderson (Bill Pullman look-alike Peter Holden), and the real star of the film, Cpl. Greer (Corbin Allred) aka. "Deacon." Along the way they pick up a downed British pilot, Winley (Kirby Heyborne.)
Their mission, at least once they pick up Winley, is to get him and the important intelligence information he carries back into Allied hands. However, things are never quite that simple, and frankly the mechanics of the plot aren't what makes this film so great.
Saints and Soldiers is primarily an exploration of the men who fight, and that's where Deacon comes in. Deacon has, quite by accident, done some terrible things in this war, despite his clean-cut and straight-laced persona (hence the nickname "Deacon.) Because of this, he's suffering from a bout of shell shock, and at times puts the rest of his group in jeopardy. Throughout the picture, Gunderson is looking after Deacon, trying his best to stick up for him, and keep him safe until he can get help.
Deacon also has been in Germany before, and has a certain connection with the people, as he was a missionary before the war. As luck would have it, he runs across one of his former acquaintances, who helps them out of a predicament.
I could go into more detail about the plot, but I really don't want to ruin it. The story is one about humanity. That we're all more-or-less the same no matter which side we're on. That sometimes doing what's right is more important. Actually the film takes on an almost religious overtone at times, which is not a bad thing. There are questions asked and discussed about what it means to be doing what they're doing, what happens to us, how we find redemption from it.
The only complaint I can think of would be the soundtrack, which for the most part is an excellent compliment to the film, but at times borrows heavily in sentiment from "Saving Private Ryan." With the somber horns and snare rolls... when you hear it you'll know what I mean.
Surprisingly for a modern war picture, there isn't a lot of profanity, either. Actually I'm struggling to remember a single instance. You'll see this film rated 'R' in some places, and the DVD I saw had a PG-13 rating on it. That actually surprised me given the "frankness" of the opening scenes of the Malmedy massacre.
The performances from all were well beyond what I had expected from a little-known film like this. In fact, their combined performance, along with the brilliant direction is what brings me to the final nine for this picture. It's a roller-coaster of emotion, and indeed suspense, and I'd rank the final "shootout" scene right up there with any scene from "Ryan" any day.
Hunt down and watch Saints and Soldiers, if nothing else to get a refreshing and different perspective on the business of war, and what it means to be in it.
Saints & Soldiers
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Based on actual WWII events, the award winning Saints and Soldiers tells the dramatic story of a small band of Allied Soldiers trapped behind enemy lines with information that could save thousands of American lives...
DVD InformationBinding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Manufacturer: Excel Entertainment Group
Original Release Date:
- Corbin Allred
- Alexander Polinsky
- Kirby Heyborne
- Larry Bagby
- Peter Holden
70 of 73 people found the following review helpful
Better than average war movie. Not a propaganda piece. Definitely worth watching.,
This review is from: Saints and Soldiers (Amazon Video)Can't give it 5 stars. It is a close call, but can't do it. As an Army Vet, brother to two active servicemen, son of a marine, Vietnam vet, and grandson of two soldiers that both survived WWII, this movie hit home. I married a German woman and have spent a significant amount of time overseas, living there for five years and getting to spend a lot of time with my wife's German family. Her Great Grandfather fought in WWII, and her father is a retired German Col. To hear about WWII from their side, and about the Nazi party, and the pressure and influence at that time, really taught me to understand that many of the people did what they had to, like myself. You are told to do something, and you have to, or risk death or imprisonment.
This movie showed the human aspect of soldiers like many movies don't. It showed people dying for each other, defending each other, having disagreements but still following orders, and what I took away from the movie the most, was the persistence... Read more
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Surprisingly thoughtful and well done. Made my evening...,
This review is from: Saints and Soldiers (Amazon Video)
Caught me by surprise. The movie starts with the famous "Malmedy Massacre", where some German SS soldiers shot some American POW's. Paints the confrontation in a very different light than I've heard before; though the Germans still retaliate too harshly, for sure.
After that start, the surviving soldiers confront their situation and then have to deal with new information and battlefield changes.
What made the movie for me was the conflict between a Christian soldier and an American medic that does not believe in God. They each confront what they've been through and deal with each other. That plot line really worked for me.
On top of all this, the props, effects were well done.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A fine movie!,
This review is from: Saints & Soldiers (DVD)I recently discovered the two "Saints and Soldiers" movies and have been very pleased with both. Hard to say which one I liked better, although I think I'd give a very slight lean to this first one due to a fine plot. If you like war movies, I'm confident you'll really like these. I give it only a four star rating because it doesn't have the intense, panoramic combat sequences that you'll see in "We Were Soldiers," "Blackhawk Down," or "Saving Private Ryan." However, "Saints and Soldiers" does NOT have the filthy langauge that you'll get with those three movies, or the blood and gore. What you will get are very interesting characters, fine acting, very good combat sequences, and a fully engaging movie that moves at a very crisp pace. I watched it with my 10-year-old and we both really liked it. Caution parents: there are a few "mild profanities," but no worse than Harrison Ford in "Star Wars." This movie has a very strong... Read more
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Summary: Hunt down and watch Saints and Soldiers, if nothing else to get a refreshing and different perspective on the business of war, and what it means to be in it.