Film deals with a segment of the Battle of the Bulge and is ‘dedicated to the battered bastards of Bastogne’, those heroic unyielding GIs who were reinspired to the ultimate victory by General McAuliffe’s famous ‘Nuts’ reply to the Krauts when they sought to negotiate a peaceful surrender by the Americans.
Through sharp focus on a group of characters it exposes all the griping disappointments and foxhole dreams and aspirations of the battle-wearied foot soldier.
The cast performs in inspired manner. Murphy is the 35-year-old ‘Pop’ who is being discharged but finds himself a civilian in No Man’s Land because Bastogne is surrounded. Johnson plays the carefree GI, and with great credibility. Other standouts include: John Hodiak as the newspaperman who enlisted; Montalban as the Mexican-American.
1949: Best Screenplay & Story, B&W Cinematography.
Nominations: Best Picture, Director, Supp. Actor (James Whitmore), Editing