1960s Battle of the Bulge (1965)

Published on April 8th, 2008 | by Chris

1

Battle of the Bulge (1965)


Reviewed by:
Rating:
2
On April 8, 2008
Last modified:October 6, 2012

Summary:

Battle of the Bulge could have been a timeless classic, but instead winds up on my B-movie list, having more in common with Cavalry-vs.-Comanche pictures than any war movie. At least they got typecast Nazi Karl-Otto Alberty to play a role as the poor German infantry commander wrapped around Hessler's pinkie.

Battle of the Bulge (1965)I went into Battle of the Bulge thinking, "Alright! A nearly three-hour long epic docu-drama on the battle!"

And, unfortunately, I couldn't have been more wrong. I'm not really sure what this movie was supposed to be. When I think of the real Battle of the Bulge, I don't think of the things that were portrayed in this movie. I think of the poor slobs stuck out in the forest freezing their you-know-whats off, practically starving, and being pounded by German artillery.

I don't think of huge, and largely unbelievable tank battles that look like something out of the Revolutionary war. Funny, not until I started writing this did I find that my opinion matched some of the others out there....

...that this was a Western in war-movie clothing. To top it off, the thing is largely dull and uninteresting. We're treated to long and wholly sanitized scenes of gunfights and tank battles, which remind you (painfully) so much of the old western movie cowboy and indian battles. Right down to the over-dramatic and bloodless deaths. If I had a nickel for every schmuck who overacted his death in this movie...well, I'd have enough change for the beer I should have drank beforehand.

To top it off, from what I can tell, few of the events portrayed in the film atually happened. Sorry, guys. Sure there is a visit to the heinous Malmadey massacre, the infiltration by Nazis in GI disguises, McAuliffe's "NUTS" reply... and I suppose they got the strategic aspect of the push more-or-less correct. But the entire reliance on the tank corps. in the film, deciding the entire offensive in one battle at one location, and the introduction of so many fictional characters and situations was just a bit odd.

Not to mention that the entire operation in this movie lasts but a couple of days. Stranger still is Lt. Col. Kiley (Henry Fonda) and his sole observations. Surely not. And I can't not mention the bumbling and out-of-place comic relief (but not that comical anyhow) of Sgt. Guffy (Telly Savales.) His tank's annhiliation, but still drivable, and hey he survives without a scratch!! Um, no.

Sigh. It's just unfortunate I suppose. Battle of the Bulge seems to have been created to appease some sort of studio's need for an "action epic" rather than any kind of factual or believable integrity. I mean, at the very least you could have found someplace that *looked* like it was covered in a foot of snow. Some places in the film did, but most were just merely muddy, and a lot of spots there were still leaves on the bushes. And only at the outset of the picture do we get a feel for the cold and nasty conditions.

I will say that about the only interesting part of the film relates to (the fictional) Col. Hessler's (Robert Shaw) assistant, Cpl. Conrad (Hans Christian Blech.) His falling out with Hessler over the context of the war and how men like Hessler's character are the problem, could have given this picture a lot more depth. Unfortunately it was only briefly touched on, and his throwing down of his rifle at the end should have meant so much more.

Battle of the Bulge could have been a timeless classic, but instead winds up on my B-movie list, having more in common with Cavalry-vs.-Comanche pictures than any war movie. At least they got typecast Nazi Karl-Otto Alberty to play a role as the poor German infantry commander wrapped around Hessler's pinkie.

(P.S.) And what is the deal with the OVERTURE and EXIT MUSIC plates? Yet another aspect of the film that screams it took itself way too seriously! On actually good movies this is awesome.  Here not so much.)

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Description

The German offensive in December 1944 became the basis for this all-star Hollywood take on the Battle of the Bulge. Henry Fonda is an officer who predicts the assault, Robert Ryan and Dana Andrews are Army brass skeptical of his intuitions, and Robert Shaw (his hair dyed yellow and his eyes glinting with malice) is a German officer leading the tank attack...

DVD Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 2.20:1
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Brand: Warner Brothers
Manufacturer: Warner Home Video
Original Release Date:
Actors:
  • Henry Fonda
  • Robert Shaw
  • Robert Ryan
  • Dana Andrews
  • George Montgomery

Features

  • Nazi Panzer forces stage a last-ditch Belgian front offensive that could turn the tide of WWII. Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw and Robert Ryan in the spectacular recreation of a crucial campaign.Year: 1965Running Time: 170 min. Format: DVD MOVIE Genre:ACT

Reviews

Customer Reviews
Average Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good BD transfer, December 18, 2012
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The Blu-Ray transfer of this movie is quite good. Great colors, good depth and contrasts, and steady as a rock.

The movie itself, however, grows more unbelievable as it proceeds. The producer and director make an attempt through the beginning and middle of the film to give one the feel of the brutal winter that settled into Belgium and France during the 5-6 weeks over which the battle raged, with patches of snow scattered here and there, and with a generalized chilly haze filling the air. But by the film's end, we're clearly off shooting in the arid Cascade Mountain Range in Washington state, with sunshine beaming gloriously. We're not anywhere near the Ardennes, and winter is but a distant memory. The final apocryphal battle between the massed tanks of both sides in the movie (there were tank battles during the Bulge, but no final, decisive one) takes place on a vast and barren plain that would have cost a pre-CGI fortune to decorate with snow, fake or real, so we get no... Read more
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Battle of the Bulge Partly Bungled, December 14, 2014
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This review is from: Battle of the Bulge (Amazon Video)
Having read Gen.John S.D. Eisenhower's book on the Battle of the Bulge, and having personally visited Bastogne, with a half day tour of the battle fields, I found this movie to be historically accurate in some ways, but not in other ways. The movie is quite long as it is [remember intermissions?] so something had to be left out. However, to omit Gen. Patton's part in the Battle is unforgivable. Also, the German tanks appear to be advancing in CA terrain, instead of the snow and mud covered fields of Belgium. The German Tiger tanks bogged down in this mud. The American tanks never seem to win an engagement, which isn't true to history. There is a disclaimer at the end of the film to try to cover these omissions. However, the producers could have left out some extraneous material, and saved room for more history. This would have better honored our brave fighting soldiers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly made film even for the 1965 era, January 28, 2014
By 
Rough Customer (unicorn land) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Battle of the Bulge (Amazon Video)
Though full of movie stars, the film Battle of the Bulge was not good if you are a stickler for historical accuracy. So many things wrong with the film, see IMBD for complete list, but briefly: tanks not correct type despite what director says in DVD comments, flim reversed/flipped left to right in some scenes (machine guns on tanks on wrong side), models of tanks, rockets, etc incorrect, the large movie lights reflect and reflections seen in helmets, glasses, etc, camo patterns incorrect for nation and time, The soldiers who are shot, always throw both arms in the air before they fall, which by the time the movie ends is laughable...someone must have instructed them to all throw both arms into the air. Items appear and disappear in movie scenes (the explosives on front of tank which drives over stone wall, the helmet on back of Telly Savalas head in the kissing scene, etc).
Many items in the movie did not exist at the time of the BOTB including the airplane in which Henry... Read more
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Battle of the Bulge (1965) Chris

Summary: Battle of the Bulge could have been a timeless classic, but instead winds up on my B-movie list, having more in common with Cavalry-vs.-Comanche pictures than any war movie. At least they got typecast Nazi Karl-Otto Alberty to play a role as the poor German infantry commander wrapped around Hessler's pinkie.

2.0


User Rating: 0 (0 votes)


About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.



One Response to Battle of the Bulge (1965)

  1. Edward White says:

    Forget it Patton, We don’t need you afterall. We rolled a bunch of oil drums down a hill and destroyed the whole German army.

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