Battle of the Bulge (1965)

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    There are 30 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by The Ringo Kid.

    • Battle of the Bulge (1965)




      Information From IMDb

      Plot Summary
      Fictionalized account of the battle of the Ardennes in December 1944.
      An intelligence officer, Lt. Col. Dan Riley, is convinced that the
      Germans are amassing tanks and troops for an attack
      but he can't get anyone to believe him.
      When the attack is finally launched, he correctly deduces that
      a shortage of petrol will lead the tanks to a massive Allied fuel depot.
      Along the way, we encounter a number of characters including
      a green Lieutenant in his first battle, the grizzled
      American tank commander who is worried about his
      black market operation and a group of German soldiers
      posing as American MP's.
      Written by garykmcd

      Full Cast
      Henry Fonda ... Lt. Col. Kiley
      Robert Shaw ... Col. Hessler
      Robert Ryan ... Gen. Grey
      Dana Andrews ... Col. Pritchard
      George Montgomery ... Sgt. Duquesne
      Ty Hardin ... Schumacher
      Pier Angeli ... Louise
      Barbara Werle ... Elena
      Charles Bronson ... Wolenski
      Hans Christian Blech ... Conrad
      Werner Peters ... Gen. Kohler
      James MacArthur ... Lt. Weaver
      Karl-Otto Alberty ... Von Diepel (as Karl Otto Alberty)
      Telly Savalas ... Sgt. Guffy
      Steve Rowland ... Eddy
      Robert Woods ... Joe (Kiley's pilot)
      Charles Stalmaker ... Maj. Burke (as Charles Stalnaker)
      David Thomson
      Sebastian Cavalieri
      Raoul Perez
      Jack Gaskins
      Janet Brandt ... Mother Superior
      Max Slaten
      Carl Rapp ... American MP Lieutenant
      Axel Anderson
      Bud Strait
      Donald Pickering
      Ben Tatar
      Peter Herendeen
      Richard Ziedman (as Richard Zeidman)
      Paul Eslheman (as Paul Eshelman)
      John Schereschewsky
      Victor Brandt
      Richard Baxter
      William Boone
      John Clark
      Ward Maule
      Paul Polansky
      Freddie Toehl
      Leland Wyler
      Quinn Donoghue ... Nun #2
      John Friess
      Reginald Gillam
      Peter Grzcegorczyk
      Richard Laver
      Harry Van Der Linden
      Derek Robertson
      Martin Rolin
      Robert Royal
      Russ Stoddard
      William Conrad ... Narrator (uncredited)

      Sidney Harmon .... executive producer
      Milton Sperling .... producer
      Philip Yordan .... producer
      Dino De Laurentiis .... executive producer (uncredited)

      Original Music
      Benjamin Frankel

      Writing credits
      Philip Yordan
      Milton Sperling

      * This film was denounced by former President (and Supreme Allied Commander in Europe during WW2) Dwight D. Eisenhower soon after its release in a press conference due to its glaring historical inaccuracies.

      * The character of the German Colonel was first intended to be the real life Panzer officer Joachim Peiper, the youngest man in the Nazi Army to be make the rank of full colonel (SS-Standartenführer, the direct SS equivalent to an Oberst or full colonel in the German army). However, since Peiper, a protégé of 'Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler' , the head of the Schutzstaffel (SS) and the second most powerful man in Germany after Adolf Hitler, was promoted to the ran at the age of 29. However, as he was still living at the time the film was produced and was still a committed Nazi, his character was quickly changed to a fictitious Regular German Army officer, so as not to give Peiper any connection to the film or risk a libel suit. It was Peiper's unit of the Waffen-SS, Kampfgruppe Peiper of the 1st SS Division, Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler (German for "Adolf Hitler's Bodyguard Regiment") that was responsible for the Malmedy massacre of American prisoners depicted in the film. After the War, he was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to death. The sentence was commuted by the American Occupation Force as the trial had been fraught with illegalities, and he served only 11 years in prison, despite having perpetrated war-crimes on both the Eastern and Western fronts. Peiper was assassinated at his home in France, likely by French communists, in 1976.

      * The name of the song that the Germans sing is "Panzerlied". However, only the first four lines of the song are actually sung.

      * This film was shot in Ultra Panavision for showing in Cinerama venues.

      * Although it is claimed by knowledgeable film people that so-called Super-Cinerama was already in use as early as 1962, this was the first film that was actually advertised in the trailers as being shown in that format. The resulting image did not turn out to be larger than ordinary Cinerama, since the film was actually shot in Ultra Panavision, shown with one projector instead of three electronically synchronized ones, and merely blown up in size to fit the giant curved screen.

      * The sequence of the train transporting the big guns was expanded with additional footage shot after principal photography. The extra footage consisted of POV shots from the front of the train and shot at a lower frame rate to make the train appear to be traveling very fast around the curves in the track. This was done to show off the Cinerama process in much the same way as the famous rollercoaster sequence in This Is Cinerama (1952). Much of this footage was removed from the general release version.

      * The film's senior military advisor, Maj. Gen. Meinrad von Lauchert, was the commander of the German 2nd Panzer Division during the real Battle of the Bulge. He then had the rank of Oberst (Colonel).

      * The version of the film released on DVD contains approximately 1196 shots in 9397 seconds of action. This equates to an average shot length of about 7.9 seconds.

      * Stanley Baker was offered the Robert Shaw part.

      * The film's dedication credits statement states: "This picture is dedicated to the one million men who fought in this great battle of World War II".

      * This movie's closing epilogue states: "To encompass the whole of the heroic contributions of all the participants, places, names and characters, have been generalized and action has been synthesized in order to convey the spirit and essence of the battle."

      * King Tiger tanks in this movie are portrayed by M47 Patton tanks whilst M4 Sherman tanks are portrayed by M24 Chaffee tanks.

      * A documentary which outlines a more factual and non-fictionalized account of the Battle of the Bulge entitled The Battle of the Bulge... The Brave Rifles (1965) was made and released a year after this movie was made.

      * Part of this movie's music score utilized the World War II "Panzer Song" march.

      * Revealing mistakes: When the Germans disguised as MPs parachute behind US lines, they are shown just as they've landed and are depicted as a tightly clustered group. In fact, paratroops (especially when they jump at night) tend to drift and scatter on the way down and require time to regroup upon landing.

      * Anachronisms: The German Tiger tanks and American Sherman tanks were actually American tanks from the Korean War era. Most Sherman tanks were scrapped after the war, and the remaining Tiger tanks are in museums.

      * Errors in geography: The Battle of the Bulge was fought in the densely-wooded Ardennes Forest of Belgium, not in a semi-arid environment.

      * Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): Early in the film, we are shown a column of American vehicles retreating in disarray. In the forefront is a stalled jeep being rocked by several men. Much later, General Grey observes a column of retreating American vehicles and says that "This time they're retreating like soldiers." However, this is the same film clip shown earlier except that it has been flipped left to right (the jeep being rocked is now on the other side of the frame.) Since the film clip is the same, General Grey really has no basis for his statement.

      * Factual errors: The opening narration states that "Montgomery's 8th Army was in the north..." Montgomery did command the British forces in NW Europe, but the 8th Army, formerly commanded by him, was in Italy.

      * Continuity: Kiley flying in an airplane takes a picture of Hessler traveling on the ground in a staff car. The picture shown later was obviously taken from ground level.

      * Continuity: As a German tank overruns an American blockade, two soldiers place plastic explosives on the tank which disappear and reappear in subsequent shots.

      * Audio/visual unsynchronized: Robert Ryan says to an aide, "Get me Blue Code, 301" Then we hear what is supposed to be the aide saying it, but it's a dub of Ryan's exact words "301" with Ryan's voice.

      * Anachronisms: The train carrying the badly needed big guns is pulled by a steam engine. But the shots filmed ahead of the hurtling engine show the cables of an electrified system.

      * Continuity: The reason the Americans cannot receive air support is because of poor weather. When the artillery is brought in on a train, the sky is perfectly clear.

      * Revealing mistakes: When Lt. Weaver and Sgt. Duquesne are spotted (as they try to hide from a German halftrack), a German soldier says, "Es kam von da oben!" meaning "It (a sound) came from up there!" This line is repeated throughout the movie by several German soldiers, but without any relevancy to it's meaning, just to sound as if the Germans were really Germans.

      * Continuity: When Major Wolenski knocks out a Tiger tank in the first battle scene, Colonel Hessler calls it over the radio, referring to it as "Tank 104". But, when the tank limps off the road, the ID number painted on the back of the turret is "01".

      * Errors in geography: Tank and battle field sequence filming occurred at the US Army Yakima firing range along the east slope of the Cascade Range in Washington State. This region is roughly 2,500 to 3,500 ft. above sea level with an arid high desert climate. Clearly, this is out of place when compared to the Ardennes Forest region.

      * Continuity: When the German spearhead commences its attack, the footage is flipped - the machinegun in the hull of the tanks appears to be on the right-hand side of the hull. This is the driver's side of the tank. The footage changes regularly in this perspective.

      * Continuity: The actual m47s portraying the German tanks have the hull machinegun on the left side, however the models for special effects shots have the hull machinegun on the right.

      * Continuity: When the Fallschirmjaegers first jump out of the plane, there is one paratrooper with a white parachute, the rest are black. When they reach the ground, all of the parachutes are white.

      * Continuity: When the Germans are exiting the transport plane, the close up shots of the plane shows it is a Junkers Ju-52. In the wide shots it shows a Douglas C-47.

      * Continuity: When Col. Hessler asks headquarters for permission to assault Ambeleve, he is told he has until 0400 hours, and it appears to be the late afternoon. However, when the bombardment starts, it is obvious that the sun is already rising, and by the time the armor assault starts it is daylight.

      * Factual errors: All of the American vehicles in the movie use a German Red-Green-Brown camouflage color scheme, however in late war 1944 only olive drab/black camouflage schemes were used on armor. In winter white wash was used on armor to blend in with the snow on some vehicles. Transport vehicles, artillery etc. were still painted in basic olive drab. In one scene we can even see a Bazooka with a camouflage paint scheme.

      * Errors in geography: There are no mountains in the Ardennes as seen in the movie.

      * Factual errors: When Colonel Hessler is at a conference with his Panzer officers, he points out with his finger on a map the place of the Our River, which they should cross. He is actually pointing near the area of Brussels, some 100 miles west of the real Our River. The same thing happens when General Grey asks his officer the location of the German spearhead.

      * Crew or equipment visible: In several exterior shots, you can clearly see the movie lights reflected in the soldiers' helmets.

      * Continuity: In the final shot of the movie as the credits start to roll, where the camera shot is apparently pulling away and up from the smoking, abandoned German tanks, the film is actually running in reverse. The smoke is going backwards into the ground and smoking tanks.

      * Anachronisms: Early in the movie, Henry Fonda's character visits the "up front" front. In one scene, there is a soldier in a bunk reading a folded magazine, and the viewing audience can see the page he is not reading. The magazine is the April 1964 issue of Playboy and the page he has opened is the beginning of a pictorial on Playmate Donna Michelle. In the same shot a photograph of Rita Hayworth as "Gilda" can be seen on the wall. "Gilda" was not released until 1946. The action takes place in 1944.

      * Continuity: When Guffy, is saying goodbye to his business partner, his crash helmet disappears and reappears between shots.

      * Errors in geography: When the train (carrying the guns) is nearing the first bridge, you can see several men (perhaps railway workers) standing along the side. They are wearing shirts and cowboy-like hats which indicates that it's very hot. The Battle of the bulge took place during the very cold winter of 1944.

      * Revealing mistakes: When Hessler's tanks are bombing Amlève, you can see several houses being hit. When these houses explode, you can see that they are made of steel plates. There are no bricks, stones or pieces of concrete flying around.

      * Crew or equipment visible: When the last vehicles get over the bridge (moments before the cover of the German soldiers gets blown), the shadow of a camera can be seen on the side of the last truck as it passes by.

      * Continuity: The position of the door of Hessler’s command caravan does not match between interior and exterior shots.

      * Errors in geography: When the Sergeant and the Lieutenant get pointed in the wrong direction, you can see the road-sign pointing to Ambleve (left), and to Malmedy (right). Since the sign is supposed to be twisted, this means that they came from the east. Being east at 42 km from Malmedy, and 36 km from Ambleve, they would have been several (10-15) kilometers in Germany.

      * Audio/visual unsynchronized: Early in the film when the reconnaissance plane is pursuing the German staff car, the car is traveling on a gravel/dirt road but the sound of squealing tires is heard. Tires don't squeal on gravel.

      * Revealing mistakes: In the beginning of the movie when Kiley visits Grey in the headquarters, General Grey says to a soldier near the Christmas tree: "Step outside". If you watch this soldier carefully it's clear that he's just standing there, waiting for the order. In fact, he looks at Grey and then starts leaving too early, before the command is said.

      * Revealing mistakes: As Hessler approaches Ambleve he is seen riding in the hatch of his tank as it moves forward. He raises a pair of binoculars and the subsequent shot is shown POV through the binoculars. The image of the town is completely stable, but should have been jostled about as the tank was moving forward. The next shot show Hessler once again astride the moving Tiger, binoculars in hand.

      * Revealing mistakes: When Kiley is at the Our River bridge and sees Hessler, he asks the sergeant for his rifle to shoot Hessler. The rifle does not have the rear sight assembly installed. Only the sight ears of the receiver are visible.

      * Continuity: When General Grey is standing on the steps of his new headquarters a messenger runs up and hands him a folded white piece of paper but when he and Colonel Pritchard walk inside seconds later its the Colonel that is holding the paper and hands it to him telling him ts the intelligence information he had requested earlier.

      * Audio/visual unsynchronized: When the mostly-teenage German tank commanders are performing "Der Panzerlied," you can see that they are lipsynching; the singing voices are clearly not their own. Also, when "Colonel Martin Hessler" and his aide-de-camp are supposedly singing along, no sound whatsoever is forthcoming from their mouths.

      * Continuity: When Hessler dismisses the courtesan, he picks up her coat and bag from his bed, walks to the door and shoves it all the way open. All the while she is walking towards him. He hands her her bag and she crosses in front of him headed for the door. Abruptly there is a shift and she is facing him as he throws her coat over her shoulder and shove her towards the suddenly closed door which SHE has to open.

      * Continuity: When Kiley shows General Grey the pictures from the airplane he took the picture are wet later in the picture are bone dry.

      * Factual errors: The movie portrays the entire German spearhead as consisting of King Tiger tanks. In fact, only 100 were available for the Bulge operation. Additionally, Peiper, the commander appointed to command this force, was horrified at having to deploy the 70 ton monsters through the narrow Ardennes roads.

      * Revealing mistakes: Guffy's tank takes a direct hit in the final tank battle, blowing away most of the turret. Not only is Guffy unhurt or even affected by the hit, the radio still works.

      * Continuity: When Sgt. Guffy is saying goodbye to his "business partner" at the hotel he pushes his tanker helmet back off his head. When the show him from behind his helmet is missing.

      * Revealing mistakes: The Germans discuss that they will be using jets against the allies, and look at some models of them. However, the models look nothing like the ME-262 or the HE-162, the 2 jet fighters the Germans actually did use in the war.

      * Anachronisms: In the scenes of the Allies using an airplane, the plane is a Cessna L-19 Bird Dog, which didn't have its first flight until 4-5 years after World War II ended.

      Filming Location
      Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range, Madrid, Spain
      Best Wishes
      London- England

      The post was edited 3 times, last by ethanedwards ().

    • Re: Classic War Movies- Battle of the Bulge (1965)

      Battle of the Bulge is a 1965 American widescreen epic war film produced in Spain,
      directed by Ken Annakin, and starring Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw,
      Telly Savalas, Robert Ryan, Dana Andrews and Charles Bronson.

      The feature was filmed in Ultra Panavision 70 and exhibited in 70 mm Cinerama.
      Battle of the Bulge had its world premiere on December 16, 1965,
      the 21st anniversary of the titular battle, at the Pacific Cinerama Dome Theatre
      in Hollywood, California.

      The filmmakers attempted to condense the Ardennes Counteroffensive,
      a World War II battle that stretched across parts of Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg
      and lasted nearly a month into under three hours.
      They also shot parts of the film on terrain that did not resemble actual battle locations.
      This left them open to criticism for lack of historical accuracy,
      but they claimed in the end credits that they had "re-organized"
      the chronological order of events to maximize the dramatic story.

      Unlike most World War II epics, Battle of the Bulge contains virtually
      no portrayals of actual senior Allied leaders, civilian or military.
      This is presumably because of controversies surrounding the battle,
      both during the war and after.
      Though Allied forces ultimately won the battle, the initial German counteroffensive c
      aught them by surprise and caused many casualties

      Just watched this classic war movie again,
      and it is very good.
      Fonda, I think always portrays a military leader
      with conviction and ease.
      Shaw, Ryan , Andrews and plus
      Bronson and Savalas, make for a great cast.
      All in all an action packed movie,
      not very accurate, but great to watch

      User Review

      Head 'Em Off at the Pass

      18 February 2003 | by bensdonj (New York, NY)
      A disclaimer on the end credits states, in effect, that the events and people in this picture bear no relationship to a battle by the same name that took place in WW II. Filmmakers have dealt with the problem of filming the big event in various ways; some show many fragments, following individuals here and there; some concentrate on the view of the generals, with long-shots of big battles; some opt for telling just a little part of the big picture, a microcosm. The solution here is to pretend that only a few dozen people were actually involved in the whole campaign.

      One has to assume that someone had a cavalry western script but realized westerns weren't selling any more, so they sold it by doing a quick rewrite to make it a war movie. Henry Fonda is the grizzled scout who insists the Indians are about to attack, based on his reading of the signs in the dirt, and who pulls his boss, the general, out of the fire time and again. Yes, it's Hank who, in the first skirmish, moves up to see if the Indians have a cache of rifles, who recognizes their leader as an escaped renegade fighter-Indian, who discovers that the friendly Crows at the pass are actually deadly Apaches in disguise, who, at a number of critical points, goes out with his young partner to scout around and comes back to the campfire with vital information, who realizes that the big battle is actually a ruse for the Indians to send a party to the water hole to fill their canteens with badly needed water, and who, with an arrow sticking through his shoulder, singlehandedly leads a few raw recruits in a clever maneuver to keep the Indians from the water hole and saves the day. In the last shot, the Indians march back to the reservation across the desert. The Fonda character, in particular, seems to still be in that western. He isn't just A scout, he's THE scout, the only scout, and all intelligence info that's important to the battle is his. The other characters fit the western mold pretty well also, including Shaw's Nazi. Only the Savalas character is indelibly out of WW II (or, more accurately, out of the Bilko show).
      Best Wishes
      London- England

      The post was edited 2 times, last by ethanedwards ().

    • Re: Classic War Movies- Battle of the Bulge (1965)

      I think you are right, and I think he would have brought something to it that would have made it more memorable than it even was.
      Ben Cartwright SASS
      a good motto to live by
      What would John Wayne Do"
    • Re: Classic War Movies- Battle of the Bulge (1965)

      I saw this movie when it first premiered with my father, a veteran who was wounded at St. Vith. While he also hit Omaha Beach, he liked "The Longest Day", but had nothing but contempt for this one.
      Of course, some of that influenced me as well, but I've nevr been able to warm up to this film. The actors, especially Savalas, seemed to be just reciting their lines and waiting to cash their checks.
      The epic tank battle was dull and the editing was choppy.
      I wish my dad had seen "Band of Brothers" for their segments about the Bulge. That was about people, not hardware.

      We deal in lead, friend.
    • Re: Classic War Movies- Battle of the Bulge (1965)

      I first saw this movie as a kid who at the time was just getting "into" WWII stuff especially about that battle. I liked it as a war movie but as a fictional war movie. One thing I really liked about ti was that they had as their main Military Advisor-a retired German General who had actually participated in that Battle. Too bad they couldnt get Gen Heinrich von Luttwitz-the CO of the German 47th Panzer Korps-who were the ones who surrounded and attacked Bastogne ;-))
      Es Ist Verboten Mit Gefangenen In Einzelhaft Zu Sprechen..
    • Re: Classic War Movies- Battle of the Bulge (1965)

      The movie came out in 65 but, I think I first saw it in 67 when I was stationed in S. Korea at the camp theater. Even then, I thought it was entertaining but, knew that it was just a fictionalized account of the battle. The very end of the movie though, was quite silly. It showed the Germans all walking back to Germany like the war was over and they were going home. Even the one soldier said, they've quit, they're going home.
    • Re: Classic War Movies- Battle of the Bulge (1965)

      As an ex Military Policeman, with a lot of experience in traffic control, I found Ty Hardins portrayal of an MP quite ludicrous. Then again being more of a fictionlised account of the battle it should not have surprised me.
      RACMP - For the troops With the troops
    • Re: Classic War Movies- Battle of the Bulge (1965)

      Redcap wrote:

      As an ex Military Policeman, with a lot of experience in traffic control, I found Ty Hardins portrayal of an MP quite ludicrous. Then again being more of a fictionlised account of the battle it should not have surprised me.

      Yes Redcap but, don't forget, Hardins character was really a German soldier posing as an American and the MP part was a total ruse as to confuse the Americans and cause alot of chaos behind the lines. And in the real Battle of the Bulge, the Germans did have many of their own English speaking soldiers dress up in GI clothes and go behind the lines to disrupt everything they could.
    • Re: Classic War Movies- Battle of the Bulge (1965)

      Hi Jim,
      I agree with you about the Germans having squads dress in Allied Uniforms and yes most could speak excellent English. However their methods of traffic control were entirely different to both the American and English styles. As I said it stood out like a sore thumb. Most of the americans I have served with could map read so they should not have been so easily misled.
      RACMP - For the troops With the troops
    • Re: Classic War Movies- Battle of the Bulge (1965)

      I always liked this movie. My uncle was in the 7th armored 23rd compnay c. They came through St Vith in brutal weather. He was killed in the Ruhr Pocket and encirclement on 4-6-1945 just a couple weeks before they surrended. I have several after morning reports of the Bulge and when Edgar was killed . He was killed from a bazooka he's buried in the american cemetary in the netherlands. I hope to one day Take some Oklahoma soil and sprinkle on his grave. God Bless the USA!!!!!
      Mister you better find yourself another line of work, cause this one sure DON"T fit your PISTOL!
    • Re: Classic War Movies- Battle of the Bulge (1965)

      1) Shows the destruction of Hesslers Tank Column as it approached the American Fuel Depot at the end of the movie.

      2) Shows Sgt. Guffy (Telly Savalas) as he is about to kiss his business partner (Pier Angeli)

      3) Shows the Americans as PWs in the newly captured Ambleve.

      4) Shows James MacArthur with his Sergeant-Sgt. Duqusne (SP?) (((George Montgomery))) as they are mis-directed to Malmedy instead of going to Ambleve.
      Es Ist Verboten Mit Gefangenen In Einzelhaft Zu Sprechen..