Pork Chop Hill is a grim, utterly realistic story that drives home both the irony of war and the courage men can summon to die in a cause which they don’t understand and for an objective which they know to be totally irrelevant.
King Company, commanded by Gregory Peck as Lt. Joe Clemons, is ordered to take Pork Chop Hill from the Chinese Reds and to hold it against attack. The time is the Korean War, and the irony of the situation is that (1) armistice negotiations at Panmunjon are virtually concluded, and (2) Pork Chop has absolutely no tactical importance. It must be taken simply because its loss means a loss of face on the part of the Americans in the eyes of the Communist negotiators.
Peck’s performance as the company commander is completely believable. He comes through as a born leader, and yet it is quite clear that he has his moments of doubt and of uncertainty.
The accent on the combat is such that, besides Peck, the other men barely emerge as people. They look real, they sound real, but there’s no chance to get to know them, though the picture makes it very clear that they all know that their objective is secondary at best.