The Big Red One was two years in the making and 35 years in Samuel Fuller’s head. It’s a terrific war yarn, a picture of palpable raw power which manages both Intense intimacy and great scope at the same time.
The story of the First Infantry Division’s exploits in North Africa and Europe between 1942-45, fast-paced pic attempts to tell entire story of the European land war through the eyes of five foot soldiers and pulls it off to a great degree.
Based on writer-director’s own experiences as a GI, pic was announced as a John Wayne-starrer in the late 1950s and came close to realization on many other occasions, but only came together when producer Gene Corman found means to make it almost entirely in Israel.
Approach eschews usual sociological analysis used in many war pix. These men are there for one reason only, to survive the war.