Best Movies by Farr
Battleground Poster
Released Runtime Category
1949 118 War
Director Language
William Wellman English
Denise Darcel, John Hodiak, Van Johnson, Ricardo Montalban, James Whitmore


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What's it About

A small detail of foot soldiers from the 101st Airborne – including wisecracking GI Holley (Johnson), journalist-turned-soldier Jarvess (Hodiak), and Mexican-American Roderigues (Montalban) – holes up for one hellish winter in Bastogne, Belgium, where they're trapped trying to repel German troops. Fighting the enemy proves hard enough, but these hardy grunts face an epic struggle with the elements, too.

Why we love it

Winner of two Oscars and an unexpected box-office triumph for MGM in 1949, Wellman's gritty, unglamorized story of WWII's pivotal Battle of the Bulge takes an on-the-ground, soldier's-eye view of this crucial turning point in the war, telling the stories of a battery of GIs representing a cross-section of American society. Johnson, Hodiak, and Montalban are terrific in their respective everyman roles, but James Whitmore – playing a tough-as-nails sergeant with bloodied, frozen feet-steals every scene he's in. Written by Bulge survivor Robert Pirosh, "Battleground" was produced by Dore Schary against the wishes of legendary honcho Louis B. Mayer, who would soon be forced out of MGM.

BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"