"The Big Red One" Is Released

The Big Red One (The fighting first division of WWII, who were the first to capture German territory) is a 1980 war film written and directed by Samuel Fuller, produced by Lorimar and released by United Artists in the U.S. on July 18, 1980.

Fuller wrote a book with the same title which was more a companion novel than a novelisation of the film, although it features many of the scenes that were originally cut. The film portrays the horrors of war as it affects the men on the front lines. It was heavily cut on its original release, but a restored version was premiered at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, seven years after Fuller's death. The Big Red One is the nickname of the 1st Infantry Division, organized in 1917. The Big Red One was rated PG by the MPAA. The film aired on HBO in late 1980.

Samuel Fuller's valedictory war picture, The Big Red One follows the First Infantry Division from Africa to Europe during the years 1942 through 1945. Lee Marvin portrays the division sergeant; he's tough and experienced, to be sure, but he takes on his job with cool professionalism rather than Hollywood bravado. Based on Fuller's own experiences, the film is a loosely constructed series of anecdotes. Among them are an insane asylum under bombardment while the inmates applaud and a climactic vignette in which a very young concentration camp internee dies while a friendly soldier plays piggy-back with the boy. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide