The Big Red One (re-release)


Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19

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Critic Reviews

  1. A grand-style, idiosyncratic war epic, with wonderful poetic ideas, intense emotions, and haunting images rich in metaphysical portent.
  2. 100
    To see this seamless "reconstruction" - consisting of some 15 entirely new sequences as well as augmentations to 23 others - is to behold a masterpiece revealed.
  3. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Marvin's taciturn performance--a moving demonstration of masculine grace under pressure--may be his finest.
  4. 90
    It's a terrific war yarn, a picture of palpable raw power which manages both Intense intimacy and great scope at the same time. (Review of Original Release)
  5. What the movie may lack in "Saving Private Ryan"-style gloss, it more than makes up for in authenticity, or, in other words, heart.
  6. 90
    Marvin's performance, much enhanced by "The Reconstruction," is a marvel.
  7. The combination of old-time Hollywood valor and ahead-of-its-time surprises makes this restoration a big event.
  8. The Big Red One, for all its uncompromising brutality, is viscerally, angrily alive. Fuller was lucky to survive the war. It is our good fortune that this film, a tribute to his luck (and to those who did not share it), has come back to life.
  9. 80
    Fuller was never a poetic director, but in The Big Red One he finds what in himself was closest to lyricism. Fuller's movie is like flowers thrown on a battlefield in remembrance, and it makes the overblown war movies that have followed seem like cheap and tatty Veteran's Day poppies.
  10. 80
    In some respects a less tidy film than before, particularly when it veers off into a subplot involving a Nazi soldier played by Siegfried Rauch, the new cut mostly retains the original's virtues while adding details and episodes that make it more recognizably a Fuller film.
  11. Powerful, humorous, and touching. (Review of Original Release)
  12. 75
    Hard-boiled, filled with action, held together by male camaraderie, directed with a lean economy of action. It's one of the most expensive B-pictures ever made, and I think that helps it fit the subject. "A" war movies are about War, but "B" war movies are about soldiers. (Review of Original Release)
  13. Reissued with the addition of 50 minutes trimmed from the original 1980 cut, Fuller's only A-budget movie is still among the lesser works of this frequently brilliant filmmaker.
  14. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    There are sequences in The Big Red One that you can't forget, and every one of them could have been made better with a bigger budget and a realism that was beyond Fuller's grasp at the time.
  15. In his lifetime, Fuller longed for a restoration of what he considered his most personal film. Schickel's version is a labor of love that, despite the controversy it is bound to ignite, comes close to fulfilling the director's vision.
  16. 70
    Its kitschy grabs at the surreal--the scene in a lunatic asylum, where German troops are billeted, manages to be at once implausible and offensive--that blocks any close engagement with the drama. That said, you must see this film for one unstoppable reason, and that is Lee Marvin.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 6 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Apr 11, 2016
    Compared to The Longest Day, Band of Brothers, Twelve O'Clock High, Patton, Das Boot, The Great Escape, The Train, In Harm's Way, Schindler'sCompared to The Longest Day, Band of Brothers, Twelve O'Clock High, Patton, Das Boot, The Great Escape, The Train, In Harm's Way, Schindler's List, and others, The Big Red One: The Reconstruction is a very long and tedious collection of anecdotes with very little in the way of interesting action or characterization. It would be a waste of time to even mention the words "story arc." This is perhaps the most overrated film I have ever encountered. I would compare it to a mediocre episode from the TV series The Rat Patrol with the only redeeming feature being Lee Marvin, who is provided with very little material to work with.

    I can well understand the theatrical release being edited down from 162 minutes to 113. What I can't understand is why in God's name anyone would want to paste it all back together. There's so little in the way of a real story here it's ridiculous and probably not worth your time, unless you are very easily entertained.
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