Best Movies by Farr
The Big Red One: The Reconstruction Poster
Released Runtime Category
1980 163 War
Director Language
Samuel Fuller English
Lee Marvin, Mark Hamill, Robert Carradine, Stephane Audran, Kelly Ward, Bobby DiCicco

The Big Red One: The Reconstruction

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What's it About

A sergeant (Marvin) in the 1st Infantry Division ( aka,”the Big Red One”) leads a squad of men through the horrors of World War II, from North Africa, to Omaha Beach and straight on to the liberation of a Nazi death camp. Four men survive the odds with him, including Pvt. Zab (Carradine), a cigar-chomping, brash writer, and Pvt. Griff (Hamill), a peace-loving naif. In between episodes of intense fighting, the soldiers battle fatigue, tedium and fear.

Why we love it

Shot mostly in Israel on a limited budget Fuller’s autobiographical epic was cut by the studio on its initial release, and he didn’t live to see this reconstructed version, which reinserts 50 minutes of footage. Originally deemed too brutal, the film now stands as a character-driven, thoroughly realistic account of war. The studio originally wanted John Wayne for the lead, but the film bears out that Fuller made the right choice with Marvin, who gives a bravura performance as the weary, dogged leader. (The actor was in fact a decorated veteran of the Second War). Based on events from Fuller’s own experiences, this is raw, visceral moviemaking at its best.

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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?"