Battleground [1949]

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: John Hodiak, Ricardo Montalban, George Murphy, Marshall Thompson, Jerome Courtland
Genre: Action, War, Drama
Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Runtime: 118 minutes

Director William Wellman (The Big Heat) offered up this 1949 treatment of the Battle of the Bulge, which won Oscars for best screenplay and best cinematography. The film concentrates on the camaraderie and the divisions between the troops as they ready for the big offensive. Told in a taut narrative, the men of the 101st, led by Van Johnson, wait out the winter in the Ardennes forest to confront the German army in what would be the last major offensive of World War II. The men are demoralized and trapped, with no hope of support from the Allies as they are forced to band together and defend their position. A classically assembled war drama that nevertheless manages to be both engrossing and entertaining, Battleground is a mainstay of the genre. --Robert Lane

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