This biopic on the World War II exploits that made Audie Murphy the most decorated soldier in American history is gripping drama with the original playing himself. The picturization of Murphy’s autobiography has no blustering heroics for the sake of derring-do and the action shown is that of a modest, unassuming young man.
He gets into the army in 1942 at 18. In 1943, Murphy became a replacement in Company B, 15th Infantry Regiment, Third Division, 7th Army, in North Africa, and served with the unit throughout the war in Tunisia, Italy, France, Germany and Austria. During that time he rose from PFC to company commander, was wounded three times, personally killed 240 Germans, and was one of the only two soldiers left in the original company at the end of the war. His decorations total 24, from the Congressional Medal of Honor on down.
Among some of the more outstanding sequences are the knocking out of a Nazi machinegun nest from a farmhouse near Anzio, the crazed attack on another Nazi emplacement in France after one of his buddies has been killed, and Murphy’s almost single-handed blasting of a German tank group.
Aside from the fighting, footage works in some touching moments between battles during too-short leaves.