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The Dirty Dozen Review

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12 debauched soldiers (all facing lengthy prison or death sentences) agree to take part in a suicide mission into Nazi-occupied France.

★★★★

War may be hell, but Robert Aldrich's World War II adventure is devilishly enjoyable. The now legendary plot has 12 debauched soldiers (all facing lengthy prison or death sentences) agreeing to take part in a suicide mission into Nazi-occupied France.

If they succeed, and survive, they will be pardoned. Simple. The fun-packed caper has a ferocious Lee Marvin leading the ragbag unit which includes, amongst others, John Cassavetes, Charles Bronson, Donald Sutherland and Telly Savalas (who, rather confusingly, returned in TV sequels to lead other missions, albeit as a totally different character). Undoubtedly a boys' own classic.

Aldrich has here set a precedent - an anti-war film within the studio system. And it remains highly entertaining.