BATTLE OF THE BULGE
DIRECTED BY KEN ANNAKIN
CINERAMA PRODUCTIONS CORPORATION/ UNITED ARTISTS
DIRECTED BY KEN ANNAKIN
CINERAMA PRODUCTIONS CORPORATION/ UNITED ARTISTS
Information From IMDb
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
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)
Janet Brandt ... Mother Superior
Carl Rapp ... American MP Lieutenant
Richard Ziedman (as Richard Zeidman)
Paul Eslheman (as Paul Eshelman)
Quinn Donoghue ... Nun #2
Harry Van Der Linden
William Conrad ... Narrator (uncredited)
Sidney Harmon .... executive producer
Milton Sperling .... producer
Philip Yordan .... producer
Dino De Laurentiis .... executive producer (uncredited)
* 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.
Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range, Madrid, Spain
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