The Devil's Brigade (1968) Movie Script

Lt. Col. Frederick, good morning, sir.
We're a bit late, sir.
Could you hurry, please, sir?
The Allies were in trouble...
...and so was I, that summer of 1942,
when I arrived in England...
...on what I was sure was a fool's errand.
I'd come from Washington to explain
the US Army's strong opposition... one of Lord Mountbatten's
favorite projects.
I'd written the army's critical report
in what I thought was plain English.
I was puzzled and annoyed at being sent
4,000 miles to say it all over again...
...particularly to Lord Mountbatten himself.
You've never held a field command, have you?
- No, sir.
- No combat experience?
No, sir.
By virtue of what special knowledge... you so dogmatically
damn our plan of action?
You propose, in a period of four months... recruit a unit,
half-Canadian, half-American...
...and drop them in Norway
in the middle of winter.
You have a new snow machine.
What kind of officers and men
will you recruit?
How will they be trained,
organized and equipped?
Your plan doesn't say.
The most important thing is,
once you get them there... are you going to get them out?
There's been no provision made for that.
We're not unaware
of the problems, Colonel.
we're going ahead with the project.
If you've already made your decision,
what am I doing here?
- Thank you, Colonel.
- Let's go, Bob.
Gentlemen, I think we've found
our commanding officer.
If he'll take it.
He's more likely
to throw it right back in your face.
Care to bet?
So you left Washington for this, Colonel?
Don't move, Colonel.
Why in the hell did you have to shoot him?
You see, sir, we didn't feel like
waiting around till it starved to death.
Now, look, Captain.
That kind of smart-ass talk
don't go good with me at all.
You just be careful of that kind of talk.
Col. Frederick. Maj. Cliff Bricker, sir.
I started to collect snakes,
caught one yesterday.
I've got 'em in my footlocker in my room.
You're interested in herpetology.
You like snakes.
I hate 'em. Scared to death of them.
That's the reason I joined the paratroops.
See, I hated to fly.
Scared to death of jumping.
But after 50 jumps, I just loved it.
Danger, Colonel,
that's the best tonic there is.
That's the reason
I put in for Special Forces.
Major, when you address me,
take the cigar out of your mouth.
This is my office, Major.
The name of this outfit is
the First Special Service Force.
- Where were you when I arrived?
- There was nothing to do here, sir.
We decided to go in town and look around.
A blind man could see
a thousand things to do.
Sir, you being in Washington,
you haven't been around like me.
You see, I've been in nine different camps.
I've got to tell you this, sir.
Never have I seen anything
so out-of-the-question hopeless... this joint is.
There's absolutely nothing it doesn't need.
That's why we've got it, Major.
And that's why I've got you.
You've been in and out of camps...
...because you're the biggest hustler
and scrounger in the US Army.
In exactly 10 days,
our first recruits and volunteers arrive.
Whatever they and this camp need,
you're going to supply.
How you do it, I don't care.
Just start hustling. Cardwell?
Move it! Come on!
Line them up on the double! Move!
Come on! This is no Sunday school picnic!
Move it! Come on!
You think maybe somebody somewhere
has it in for our peerless leader here?
The summer I worked in a fish cannery,
we threw away better material than this.
Come on, you men, move!
Hate to break up the game, fellas,
but when my country calls...
Cut it out!
- Trouble, grease ball?
- I told you, don't call me that.
What would you like me to call you?
"Hotshot hustler," "Senor sharpshooter"...
...or just plain "punk"?
Watch it. Here he comes.
- You heard him. Line up!
- What's going on here?
Not a thing, buddy boy.
Not a blessed thing.
Pick up that hat and put it on, soldier!
And I warn you,
don't you give me any trouble.
Break it up!
Get that man!
Break it up!
We're going to try to make some kind of
a company formation out of this.
What are we doing up there?
I got stomach gas real bad.
I think I can cure that.
Ten hut!
Thanks for waiting, fellas. Sorry I'm late.
Don't you know how to fall in, soldier?
Fill up this spot.
Ten hut!
Detail all present and accounted for, sir.
I regret their behavior,
but that's the nature of the beast.
That's why they were transported
like cattle?
Sir, some them are so fouled up,
they must have emptied...
...every stockade in the country.
If I were you, I'd ship them right back.
What the hell's the army doing?
Just about what I expected.
Since you're not me...
...would you see that
they get to camp, please?
Yes, sir. Captain.
A-ten hut!
- Lieutenant.
- Yes, sir.
We're told that men evolved
from lower animals.
Apparently, you think it should be
the other way around. That's all.
Right face!
Forward! March!
Hut, two, three, four!
Your left.
Soldier, get those dark glasses off.
- Where's your gear, fly boy?
- Seems I neglected to bring it with me.
Listen to the sugar plum.
He neglected to bring it with him.
You look a mite neglected yourself.
How come I didn't see you on the train?
I'm the inconspicuous type.
- Listen to him. Ain't he cute?
- Leave him alone, lard ass.
- You're asking for it, dago, you really are.
- Knock off the chatter, and get in step!
How about it?
Got a cure for that, Sergeant?
Yes, sir. Double time! March!
- That's the name of the game.
- What's your name, Luckhouse Louie?
Listen, we're not sharks in the game.
Luck's got nothing to do with it.
- Talkin' about luck, know how I got here?
- Who cares?
A sweet young thing
in San Jose says I raped her...
...takes all my money, every cent,
and blows the whistle on me.
They give me five years in Leavenworth,
or join this fearless fighting outfit.
- How's that for luck?
- Yeah, it's a great country.
Every slob can get clipped, whipped,
and double dipped at the same time.
Beat your gums, dago.
Beat 'em till they bleed.
I'm out $6.
Now, come on, deal the cards, damn it.
The only way out of here is over.
By balloon or P-38?
Did you ever hear of Bernheimer's
world-renowned circus?
What about the Flying Greco Brothers?
Hold still, right?
- I'll be damned.
- Omar Greco.
- They call me Bronc.
- All right, Bronc.
My real name's Bronco Billy Guthrie.
- How many times you made it out?
- About five.
Bronc, I got a system, but I need a partner.
Let's hear about your system...
All right. Come on.
If I'm gonna make it...
- Anybody question the requisitions?
- No, sir. It was a breeze.
We even got a wave-on from the guard.
That's just fine. Great.
You guys get them around back fast.
Next trip, the toilet bowls.
All right, big mouth, that did it.
- Wait a minute. It was all my fault.
- Butt out!
Get him!
On your feet, dago. You got more comin'.
Change direction right!
Right wheel.
Mark time in front.
Canadian company...
Left turn.
Maj. Crown, sir. Canadian army.
Reporting for duty.
Glad to have you with us, Crown.
Ready, company...
Capt. Cardwell, get these men
into formation on the double.
Sergeant, company formation
on the double.
Company formation over here
and on the double, let's go!
Come on, move it. On the double.
God save the King.
God save us all.
Parade rest!
Welcome to the First Special Service Force.
There's only one really important thing
to know and remember about the force.
It's the easiest combat unit in the army... get out of.
All you have to do is fail to measure up.
You'll be returned immediately
to your former unit...
...or predicament.
It's entirely up to you.
You Canadians, I'm told...
...are the handpicked best
of the best-trained army in the world.
We'll soon find out about that.
You Americans, for the most part...
...have an entirely different reputation.
I've been supplied with full details
on your military and moral delinquencies...
...prison records,
how many times you've been drunk...
...AWOL or both.
I know all about you...
...and I couldn't care less.
I want men that are tough...
...Iove to fight, fight to win,
and would rather die than quit.
Now, that's asking a lot...
...but no more than you're capable of
if you'll accept the challenge.
We'll soon find out about that, too.
Good luck to you all. Dismiss your men.
Company, ten hut!
- Fall out!
- Cpl. Peacock!
- Fall out the Canadians.
- Yes, sir!
Canadian company dismissed!
- Can you believe that?
- Lend me your hat. I may vomit.
- Sir...
- You, soldier.
- Where are you going?
- Sir, I've got to see the Colonel.
If you ever hope to see
the outside world again...
...get back where you belong.
I don't belong anywhere.
I'm AWOL from Camp Gillam.
I escaped from the stockade.
I didn't arrive on the train, I walked.
- I want to transfer to this outfit.
- Get!
- In my office.
- Thank you, sir.
Phone his camp. Find out all about him.
I'll be in Communications. Let me know.
- Excuse me, haven't we met before?
- Get the hell outta here!
It's just that you remind me
of a sweet young thing I used to know.
I won't tell you again, mate.
Even sound like her.
Corporal, sir, you've got
a beautiful group of handpicked men here.
- You really do.
- Bugger off.
Where I come from,
the only thing we pick by hand... little yellow daffodils.
Where we come from,
we pick the rotten apples from the barrel...
...and feed them to the hogs.
Listen. One of them's a frog!
Go ahead. Say something, froggy!
Just exactly what does that mean?
To most people, it's an insult.
But to you, I'd say it was a compliment.
- Peacock!
- Sir!
- Yes, sir.
- Peacock!
- At ease.
- Thank you, sir.
Long walk from Camp Gillam.
You must be more than ordinarily eager
to join the First Special Service Force.
Any job that's open, sir.
Or get out of any trouble
that you happen to be in.
You know, the one thing
I have excess of here is the troublemaker.
Yes, sir.
But if I heard your speech correctly, sir,
I think you've got the answer.
Incite border warfare, so to speak...
...between the Americans and Canadians.
I only assume that was your intention, sir.
- What kind of trouble do you make?
- I play the piano, sir.
When I washed out as a flier,
I was assigned to Capt. Quill.
He runs the Officers' Club.
I was to clean up during the day
and play piano at night.
I didn't much fancy sitting out the war
playing I'll Never Smile Again... I asked to be transferred
to Intelligence.
That should be a perfect spot for you.
You're obviously intelligent,
perceptive, adroit.
Thank you, sir.
...and calculating.
How did Capt. Quill fancy your
playing around with his girlfriend?
The girl he thought was his girlfriend, sir.
I thought otherwise.
He won the argument.
- So he beat you up.
- Not all by himself...
Don't lie to me!
I have all the facts.
You're charged with striking an officer.
Capt. Quill asked you to stay away
from his girl, you attacked him...
...and his men had to use clubs
to subdue you.
I'm not crazy enough to strike an officer.
Sir, if you send me back, Quill could
keep me in prison for the rest of my life.
Yes, I know.
Don't calculate
that you can con your way in here.
- You read me correctly?
- Yes, sir.
I'm sorry to have bothered you, sir.
Thank you, sir.
Ransom, did I give you
permission to leave?
No, sir.
What's this?
When you beat somebody up,
that's a good way to play safe, isn't it?
Tie his hands behind his back.
- Yes, sir?
- Get this man a uniform.
You've got to be kidding!
The uniforms have been ordered, sir.
But nobody knows...
Get him something decent to wear.
He smells.
Yes, sir.
That's all.
I promise you, you won't be sorry.
If I am, I promise you,
you'll be a lot more sorry.
Yes, sir.
Those bastards!
- Something on your mind, Major?
- Yes, sir, there sure is.
We're making a big mistake going soft
on the kind of gorillas we got here.
- Did you say "gorillas"?
- Not the Canucks, the Americans.
"Canucks," Major,
is a term we consider disparaging.
Do you have a specific complaint, Major?
Yes, sir, I sure as hell do.
One of those stupid jerks out there
broke into my room...
...and stole my rattlesnake.
- Your what?
- Rattlesnake.
Maybe they don't allow them in Canada.
We destroy them,
we don't sleep with them.
Nobody likes
a promiscuous rattlesnake, Captain.
I can assure you, none of my men
would steal a rattlesnake...
...or anything else.
My men are under strict orders.
Anyone discrediting the Canadian uniform
is subject to immediate court-martial.
Among other restrictions,
they're specifically forbidden to fight.
I suggest, sir, you consider a similar order.
- Do you have a complaint, Major?
- I don't mean to belittle the Americans.
What do you mean?
There have been numerous attempts
by your men to provoke my men.
And unless they're ordered to stop,
there could be serious trouble.
- You really think so?
- I know so, sir.
- We'll have to watch that, won't we?
- Yes, sir.
How did a friendly little fellow like you
get the name of "Ornery"?
Henri. It's French for Henry.
You got yourself
a nice little piece here, Ornery.
They say them French girls
know all kinds of tricks.
Give me that, you espece de salaud!
Ain't that a purty language?
Sure is marvelous
sharing quarters with you Canucks.
- Yeah, what's so marvelous about it?
- Now, let me think...
Bronc, this man is one of
the handpicked best, right, Corporal?
Thank God they're our friends.
Imagine what would happen
if we fought against them.
We could take Canada in two weeks,
if we wanted it.
- Right, Manella?
- More like two days.
Is that a fact?
- Just you try it, mate!
- Back!
Good thing your wife wasn't under there.
Now, you listen to me,
you dirty-mouthed buggers!
I'm not one to pull rank,
but if there's any more of your filthy talk...
...or your foul, rotten tricks,
you'll pay for it.
Now, is that clear?
Right. This man is right. Let's cut it out.
- Very sorry, Corporal.
- It won't happen again, Corporal.
Very well, then.
Sweet dreams, Corporal.
Fall in.
We have very little time to determine...
...who is and who is not qualified...
...for the difficult job assigned to this unit.
The training continues today
with a 30-mile hike.
Normally, you would carry
a full pack and a rifle.
I regret to say that our weapons
and much of our equipment...
...have not yet arrived.
We shall therefore
have to do without them.
However, we do have rucksacks...
...which are loaded
with 50 pounds of rocks.
Each man, each officer, and each unit...
- He's got to be kidding.
- Don't you wish?
"Yankee doodle went to town,
riding on a pony
"Stuck a feather in his hat,
and he called it macaroni"
- Peacock?
- Yes, sir.
Your stripes are not a license
to behave like an ass.
No more derogatory behavior
or insulting remarks to the Yanks.
- Is that clear?
- Yes, sir.
There will be no more
derogatory insults about the Yanks!
Is that clear?
Would ordinary insults be acceptable, sir?
Sir, what am I going to do about my men?
They're a bunch of eight balls.
Half of them, if they don't belong in jail,
should be put in a loony bin.
- How many of them keep pet rattlesnakes?
- Sir?
How many of them have been
in and out of nine different camps?
Would you like to try for 10, Major?
It's very easy.
All right, now, look alive.
I know this is in route-step, but shape up.
I see you circling up there,
and I know who you're following, too.
Fifteen miles back.
"The contents of this can
are not fit for human consumption."
- Maj. Crown?
- Sir?
The Canadians seem to be
in better condition than I expected.
That's very good of you to say so, sir.
"Very good of you to say so, sir.
Thank you, sir."
Bunch of gung-ho volunteers,
they give me the galloping trots.
I can't make it.
- I just can't make it.
- The hell you can't.
Anybody quits gets his head broke.
- What's wrong with him?
- Nothing, sir.
Double hernia, slight heart attack,
otherwise he's fine.
Don't be smart, pretty boy.
- Everybody's fine, sir.
- Just don't drop out.
Canadian company, double time!
American company, attention!
Double time! Hard!
Come on, faster.
Keep up with them. Don't let them win.
Come on, get that bugger!
Run, boy, run!
Go get him, Omar.
- Well done, lad. Good try.
- You all right?
You! Runt!
That was great work, soldier.
That was a silly-ass thing to do.
I was just trying to return your favor, sir.
- You mean about getting out?
- Yeah.
Look, Bronc,
I've been doing a lot of thinking.
You said it yourself, remember,
that they always get you?
This time,
they could put me away for the duration.
It's just not worth it.
You've got your knife,
I'll give you half of this.
You won it. You keep it.
When you get it lighted,
I'll tell you what to do with it.
Bronc, listen, what if I help you get out?
What good'll that do?
Bronc, will you take this?
I don't even smoke.
It's very bad for the wind.
- Who is it?
- Maj. Crown, sir.
Come in.
Our chemists came up with this, sir.
It's the best thing I know of for sore feet.
Thank you. I don't need it.
Is that all?
You paid our men a compliment today, sir.
I'd like to reciprocate.
Your men performed
better than I expected.
- My men?
- The Yanks, sir.
Major, please understand,
I command the entire brigade...
...Canadians and Americans.
Yes, sir.
What I don't understand is, sir...
...why are you pitting them
against each other?
I have less than four months left
to convert this misbegotten outfit...
...into the Army's finest combat unit.
I haven't time to explain or justify
every move I make.
Yes, sir.
But I might point out, sir,
that many of my men fought...
Many of the Canadian unit
fought at Dunkirk.
So, it's just possible, sir,
you might want to learn a lesson...
...from their combat experience.
Yes, I might...
...if you'd won at Dunkirk. You lost.
I'm training this outfit to win.
Good night, Major.
We lost, yes.
In a most bloody awful fashion, we lost.
But from that loss, I learned a lesson...
...the danger of assuming the role
of almighty God.
When the day of reckoning arrives,
as mine arrived at Dunkirk...
...I can assure you, Colonel,
it can be a most sorry day, indeed.
That's it, boys.
Come on, move it. Let's go.
Keep it moving.
Faster than that. That's it.
That's it, Canadians. Keep it moving.
Don't get your feet wet, soldiers.
Get going, Americans.
Bronco, you got a sharp knife?
Sharp enough.
What do you say, Peacock? You ready?
Nobody can see your stripes now.
- I know you're yellow.
- Cpl. Peacock.
You never looked better, Peacock.
- All right, next man on the line.
- All right, soldier.
Heard enough out of you, let's go. Move it.
Keep it going. Come on, move out.
Capt. Cardwell tells me you spoke to him
about a man named O'Neill.
- Is he capable?
- He's capable enough to recommend, sir.
However, if you question my judgment,
you could try him.
I'm a new man here.
You'll not object if I join you?
You don't need all that space...
...even with that enormous
fat behind of yours.
God in heaven, you're not going to eat
that entire nauseating mess?
Small wonder you're
such a monstrous tub of lard.
Is it true that all you Yanks
are thieves and murderers?
There's one of you
that's worse than all the rest...
...a villainous clod who never ceases...
...derogatory remarks about the Canadians.
Mind the elbow, lad.
Would one of you be kind enough
to point out...
...the contemptible swine
named Rocky Rockman?
You have just two seconds
to make a public apology.
- What?
- Time's up.
You can't. We're under orders.
If you disgrace your uniform,
you'll be court-martialed.
Lad, it's his uniform I propose to disgrace.
Now, sit down.
The human body has
numerous vulnerable points:
The elbow, the ribs, the neck...
...the solar plexus and many other points.
It's true, you're a great, powerful beast.
But you'll note
how his own size and weight...
...can be used against him.
Name: Sgt. Patrick O'Neill.
Title: Hand-to-hand combat instructor.
Further instruction will
commence tomorrow...
...07:00, on the parade ground.
Could you pass the salt, please?
Thank you.
You're right, he's capable.
I hope, Major, that you won't punish him
for disobeying orders.
It was my impression
he was following your orders, sir.
More coffee?
I don't mind if I do. Thank you.
And twist.
Try it.
All right, let's have a go at it.
In a situation like that,
you do this, you see?
The collarbones are very easy to break.
Now watch.
See? Try that.
Your stance is more like this.
Look, Major, this is what I understand.
- Whatever you understand.
- You really want me to stick you?
Whatever you want to do.
- I wasn't quite ready.
- I already did it once.
- Try that again, Major.
- You gotta be...
As you can see,
Maj. Crown's an expert, sir.
Put your hands up like this.
Move your feet a little bit the other way.
That's the way. All right, now.
- Good work, Greco, keep it up.
- Keep it up? Keep what up?
You clumsy moose!
Listen, you smart dago, you ran into me.
- Great, man. Just great.
- Show them the way, Canadians.
Well done, Crown.
I can't say the same for your men, Major.
What are you gonna do about it?
- The men are tired, sir. They need a rest.
- They can rest after the war is over.
Keep going until they're as good
as the Canadians.
You want a weekend pass,
you'll work for it.
Let's go back up the hill one more time.
Now, let's see if we can do it right.
I've never seen anything so lousy
in my entire life.
Competition has its use, sir,
but doesn't it concern you?
The men may hate each other
more than they do the enemy.
Major, your concern and mine is
to get them ready to meet the enemy.
Yes, sir.
Proud beauty,
why don't you sit down and have a drink...
...with some nice,
clean-cut American boys?
Where are they? I don't see them.
Fraternizing with the Canucks
comes under the heading of treason.
All right.
- You can't fight nature.
- Just what's that supposed to mean?
Miss Kleinschmidt's a lady.
Ladies associate with gentlemen,
not baboons.
Take it easy, man-mountain.
You've got all night, my friend.
I'm in a hurry.
When this bottle is empty...
...I'm gonna break it over his head,
and then I'm gonna wipe him out.
How come a big man like you
thinks so small?
Let's wipe out the whole
mother-Ioving bunch.
Now you're talking.
- All right!
- Come on, let's do it!
I got dibs on Peacock.
That pretty Peacock is mine.
Somebody put a nickel in the jukebox,
and turn off that dame.
I love you.
Now you owe me a drink.
Fellas. We better beat it.
- What do you speak? Eskimo?
- I said, "You owe me a drink."
You'll get that drink, Eskimo,
the minute hell freezes.
Who do you think you are?
All right, Henri, let it pass.
Come on, move down the bar.
Give them some room now.
Get over here.
Look who we got here.
- Millie, baby!
- Here, your petticoat's showing.
Millie, who's your girlfriend?
Who does what to who?
- It's optional, mate.
- Shut your big, ugly face.
- Come on!
- Look, now you put me down!
- Don't be so particular.
- Can't you take a hint, mate?
I can eat a dozen chickens like you alive.
Look, we're here for a good time,
the same as you.
Let's not spoil it. What're you gonna
have to drink? Bartender!
We'll buy our own drinks.
You've got a hell of a nerve
barging in here, takin' our broads.
- Any of you guys invite 'em?
- No!
- I can't stand Canucks.
- So you weren't invited.
So what do we do about that?
Give me another drink.
You clear out, or we throw you out.
Now what's it gonna be?
Don't waste your time with him.
All right, we'll find another bar.
Finish your drinks.
We'll finish your drink.
- Let's go.
- You made a wise decision.
Now, wait just a minute.
Excuse me, but I'd like to clear up
a little misunderstanding.
You see, the Canadians would be
happy to accommodate you...
...but they can't because they're under
orders, and they're not allowed to fight.
Am I getting through?
Where are you going to now, frog face?
You said nobody invited the Canucks.
But what burns me, big mouth,
is just who the hell invited you?
Splendid, Rocky!
All right, Canadians,
don't disgrace your uniforms!
Join the Yanks!
One for Millie!
Are you all right, Rocky?
Ten hut!
Break it up!
Good! Good! That was good!
Break it up!
All right! Break it up!
- How are you?
- Doing fine.
What are you going to do about them?
I tried to warn you.
I'll take care of it.
- Cardwell, Rose.
- Sir?
Line 'em up.
Heads up in there! Come on!
Let's go! Come on!
Fall in!
The Lieutenant informs me...
...that 35 lumberjacks...
...and 17 MPs were injured...
...and six hospitalized...
...and that property damage
was in excess of $3,000.
Now, every man, regardless of uniform... equally guilty,
and will be equally punished.
Until the damage is settled...
...every man will have deducted
$1 a month from his pay.
From this point on, the entire brigade
is restricted to barracks...
...for a period of eight hours.
Any additional singing...
...drinking, or celebrating...
...will be conducted with proper restraint.
That's all.
"For he's a jolly good fellow
"For he's a jolly good fellow
"Which nobody can deny
"Which nobody can deny
"Which nobody can deny
"For he's a jolly good..."
Come in.
May I presume to offer you a drink?
Sit down.
Come on, lads.
I'll take a snap of you.
Send a copy of this to the Krauts.
They'll bloody surrender.
Come on, big smiles. There you are.
Hugh, just one more.
My father always wanted me
to graduate from something.
Right you are. That's beautiful.
Gorgeous, Rocky. Just gorgeous.
You're still a big baboon.
First Special Service Force pass in review.
Number 1 company, right turn!
- Number 2 company, right face!
- Number 3 company, fall in.
First platoon, forward march.
Second platoon, forward...
First platoon, forward march.
Eyes right!
Maj. Bricker, Maj. Crown, take over.
But I can't believe it, sir.
I just don't believe it.
Bob, it's no satisfaction to me,
but I knew it.
I smelled it. I warned you.
I'm very sorry.
That's comforting. Good-bye.
Come in.
- Project's been canceled.
- Canceled?
God, why?
The commando raid on Norway
is an entirely English project.
We're out of it.
Well, we'll be getting orders soon.
What kind of orders, sir?
Disbanding the brigade.
The men will be assigned to other units.
Son of a bitch.
Don't tell me I'm nuts.
I tell you, I just heard.
They're bustin' up the force.
What did we break our asses for? Why?
"Ours is not to reason why."
Damn the reasons.
I want more than reasons.
I'm going to Washington.
Tell the men it's just a routine trip.
Give everybody a 10-day Christmas leave.
Is there a chance, sir?
Have you got friends up there?
But at this point, I don't care
about making any more enemies.
We don't need your unit.
What we desperately need are
replacements for other units.
Anyhow, orders have been issued.
It's out of my hands. Gentlemen.
Sir, may I have permission
to see Gen. Cullen?
Why, George, he doesn't mean to imply
he's going over your head.
He's not implying anything. He's saying it.
- You've got time to waste, go ahead.
- Thank you, sir.
Thank you, George.
Look, Bob, I understand, I sympathize.
But you keep on this way,
you're gonna retire a Lieutenant Colonel.
...I have men who care more about
the one stripe they've earned...
...than I'd care if you buried me in brass.
Why do I help you?
Why do I even bother talking to you?
- It's your funeral, Bob. Enjoy it.
- Walter?
I want to thank you for your help...
...and your friendship.
Col. Frederick to see Gen. Cullen.
I don't believe
you have an appointment, Colonel.
May I ask the nature of your business?
Would you tell the General
that it's very urgent?
Gen. Cullen's in a staff meeting.
I don't expect him back
before 7:00 at the earliest.
Where can we reach you?
Right here.
You're a lucky dago.
- Joy to the world.
- Lf it ain't old handsome Ransom.
What brings you back so soon?
Sir, I found the old homestead
intolerably oppressive.
Not the heat, the humility.
- Pull up a bayonet, and you sit down.
- Home is where the heart is...
...also the liver, spleen,
and the lower intestine.
- What you need is a drink.
- True.
Come on, ante up.
- Who dealt this one?
- Come on, get your money in.
This horse should have
his kidneys checked.
And why aren't you all partaking of
the blessings of home and family?
- What's to go home to?
- I went home. Stupid sister's.
That draft dodger she married... know what he called me?
"Sucker." I didn't say nothin'.
I just broke his jaw and walked out.
Deal the cards, Hopalong.
- Any word from Washington?
- Nothing. Not even a peep.
High muckety-muck Generals.
Jesus Christ was satisfied
with just one star.
Some of those brass hats gotta have four.
You know how they get 'em?
By screwin' things up.
All right, cowboy,
we gonna play cards or not?
All right, I'm in.
- Ante up.
- Come in, boys.
Thank you.
My sister's children.
Their father's off somewhere in the Pacific.
Hasn't been home in over a year.
I guess the least I can do is
make their packages look nice.
Do you have a family, Colonel?
Not much of a Christmas
for you either, is it?
Gen. Cullen's office. Gen. Cullen.
Sir, there's a Col. Frederick here.
Been waiting since 3:30.
Says it's very urgent.
I see.
And a very merry Christmas
to you, General.
Gen. Cullen won't be back to the office.
He says he's fully aware of your situation,
but there's absolutely nothing he can do.
I'm sorry.
From Gen. Walter Naylor.
He just phoned. Can you read it?
Merry Christmas.
Gen. Mark Clark,
Gen. Hunter, Col. Frederick.
- Colonel.
- General.
Thank you.
- Gen. Naylor informs me you need men.
- That's right.
In Italy,
we're facing a solid wall of mountain...
...defended by the best troops
in the German army.
As you've doubtless heard,
we're getting nowhere.
Have your boys had any mountain training?
I promise you, sir,
whatever the job is, we can handle it.
That's quite a promise coming from a man
with no combat experience...
...commanding an outfit
that nobody wants.
Gen. Hunter's been making some inquiries.
He's a little dubious.
One misfit can foul up a whole company...
...and one fouled-up company
can ruin a whole attack.
A lot of your men are chronic misfits,
that's the word I get.
I don't know where the General
got his information, sir...
...but I can guess.
Probably from the people
who sent us the misfits.
As of now, man for man,
they're the best combat unit in the world.
And that's a fact, sir, not a promise.
If you doubt it, let us prove it.
Unfortunately, there's no luxury in war.
Gen. Hunter won't agree with me,
but this is no time to be conservative.
I do need your men, Colonel.
- When can they be ready?
- Right now, sir.
As you were.
Sorry to interrupt your religious services,
but good news requires a drink...
...and I detest drinking alone.
You've heard from the Colonel.
We're still alive!
Very much alive.
I knew it.
A merry Christmas to him, to us...
...and to the brigade.
We're alive, I knew it!
Follow that stream up ahead.
Lower! Get lower.
Sir, we're gonna get our ass shot off.
- All right, let's head back.
- Yes, sir.
Colonel, my first impression of you
was a whole lot less than favorable.
This daredevil flight of yours...
I don't want any officer around me...
...who takes unnecessary
or unauthorized risks.
- Is that understood?
- Not entirely, sir.
- Depends on how you define unnecessary.
- Never mind the definitions.
Your outfit is being sent
on an ordinary, routine patrol.
You were given maps
and reconnaissance photos, right?
All of which fail to indicate
that the entire route is under enemy fire.
Sure, enemy fire.
Would you like to be relieved?
No, sir. But I think I've found a safer route.
Show me.
Sir, if we could enter the stream
two miles above or below the bridge...
...around Hill 418, and then
enter Santa Elia from the south...
Take your men two miles
through ice-cold water...
...arriving, if they arrive, behind the town... a position to be cut off,
captured, wiped out.
- Very good.
- Not if they perform as expected, sir.
What do you think Santa Elia is,
a Boy Scout camp?
It's a key German supply line to
the mountains and heavily fortified.
- Here it is.
- Yes, sir, you're right.
Now, listen to me.
You've got to take Santa Elia
sooner or later...
...but I've gotta know
what we're up against.
Now, frankly, I don't know
what to expect from your men.
I'm hoping they'll scout the area
and bring back a few prisoners.
That's what I want from you. Is that clear?
Do I gather, sir, you're trying to test us?
You can stop worrying right now, sir.
Let me tell you...
No, sir, we understand.
You're quite clear, sir.
I'm glad of it.
When your outfit comes back
from the patrol... report to me immediately.
Yes, sir. Very good, sir.
Yeah, all right.
I must say, sir,
you accepted his insults graciously.
You get a great idea, he doesn't like it.
So you just forget about it, right?
Do it by the book.
That's what he thinks. What do you think?
He wants prisoners, we give him prisoners.
Damn, why does this guy
love water so much?
Why? He's nuts.
Who ever heard of a Colonel on a patrol?
A daddy wants to take care
of his little kiddies.
- Right, pretty boy?
- Right.
- There goes my chance to be a daddy.
- Don't worry about it, frog.
Keep quiet.
Pass it on to the other morons.
Quiet up there!
It's only a mailman.
Peacock. You, McDonald, Bronc...
You know what to do. Kill if you have to.
But the most important thing is prisoners.
We've got to get 'em.
In an hour, the whole town'll be awake,
so we have to move fast.
In Deutsch.
"Silence, or you're dead."
No mistakes.
One mistake, we're all dead.
You stay here.
Drag these bodies. Hide 'em someplace.
But you stay here. Let's go.
- Move.
- Keep it quiet. Don't let up.
- Come on.
- Come on. Keep going.
Keep it quiet. Get a move on.
- Get a move on.
- Let's go.
Once more! How many men?
What is your objective?
Rockwell W. Rockman, Corporal.
Serial number: 15359...
Once more! How many men?
What is your objective?
Rockwell W. Rockman, Corporal.
Serial number...
You bastard.
Another one? Maybe he can be persuaded.
At least he is looking
more intelligent than this one.
Rocky, lad.
What have they done to you?
We took it, sir.
- Now what the hell do we do with it?
- We keep it.
Does this answer your question?
At ease.
Absolutely everything you did,
from beginning to end...
...was directly contrary to my orders.
Sir, I recall a lecture, some advice...
...some criticism of our ability,
but I don't recall any orders.
How's your recollection
concerning unnecessary risks?
Why did you lead that patrol?
If you will recall, sir,
I hadn't had any combat experience.
I wanted to see what it was like.
You've never been killed, either.
Do you want to find out what that's like?
- How many men did you lose?
- None, sir. Six wounded, not bad.
There's no doubt, sir, that we were lucky
that it worked out as well as it did.
Yeah. As well as can be expected, sir.
Come over here.
What'll you have?
Sir, I'd like about a dozen cases
for the men if you can spare it.
- You're an insolent bastard, aren't you?
- You're right, sir.
Two hundred German prisoners
will tell you that.
- You want a drink or not?
- No thank you, sir.
- Dismissed.
- Yes, sir.
Sir, you must come now.
It's very important.
- You won't believe what we just found out.
- It's an emergency, sir.
What kind of an emergency? Make sense.
The clerk was going over
personnel records. There's no denying it.
No doubt about it. We got proof.
Proof of what?
What are you talking about?
It's your birthday. Happy birthday, sir.
Happy birthday, sir!
Give me a drink!
"For he's a jolly good fellow
"For he's a jolly good fellow
"For he's a jolly good fellow
"Which nobody can deny
"Which nobody can deny"
Okay, knock it off! All right. Pipe down.
Listen. If you guys can hold off
gettin' drunk for a couple of seconds...'re gonna hear
a few well-chosen pearls of wisdom...
...from that distinguished Irishman
and eminent scholar...
...Maj. Crown.
Today I had the pleasure...
...of interrogating some German prisoners.
They said some flatterin' things about us...
Gangsters, murderers, savages...
But the most memorable compliment...
...came from their commanding officer.
And he referred to us as...
...members of the Devil's brigade.
Long life... the devil!
- Give me a drink.
- You organize this?
No, sir. It was a popular uprising.
Cast your bread on the waters,
it comes back a testimonial dinner.
But where it comes from,
I wouldn't be askin'.
It's done my heart a world of good
the way you guys have shaped up.
I couldn't have done a better job myself.
- General.
- General.
- Frederick.
- What is going on here?
Little celebration, sir.
- May I offer you a drink?
- Certainly.
No, later. Is there someplace
we can talk, Colonel?
This way, sir.
Mount la Difensa.
It's on the road to Rome,
flanked all around by mountains.
Mount la Difensa's the key point
to this entire sector.
We've been trying for weeks
to take it from them.
We've had total failure.
And we've had heavy casualties.
But we've got to get it.
For good behavior in prison,
you're rewarded with time off.
In the army, double time,
and a swift kick in the rear.
Your reward, Colonel, is la Difensa.
Study the maps, send out scouting patrols,
give me a plan of attack.
General, this fellow doesn't
send out patrols.
- He leads 'em.
- Full Colonels are not expendable.
Sir, how low in rank does a man
have to be before he's expendable?
Good night, Colonel.
Enjoy your celebration.
Night, Colonel.
"Around her leg she wore a purple garter
"She wore it in the springtime
and in the month of May
"And when you asked her
why the hell she wore it
"She wore it for her parents
who were far, far, away
"Far away, far away
"Far away, far away
"She wore it for her parents,
who were far, far away..."
Our reconnaissance has shown...
...that the German guns
are facing west and south.
That's why I propose
that we attack from the east.
What I need from you, sir,
is an artillery barrage, all you've got...
...on the forward slopes.
That'll give 'em the idea
that we're attacking from here.
In the meantime, at 06:00, I can be here... 09:00, here.
By reaching this point, we'll be
above them, holding the high ground.
For us, it'll be a downhill fight all the way.
If we can drive them beyond
these big rocks, they'll have no cover.
They'll have to surrender or die.
It sounds good, Colonel, but your
attack force up that cliff in three hours...
...with weapons, ammunition, food?
You must have remarkable faith
in your men.
Yes, sir, I have.
Faith moves mountains,
it doesn't take them.
How would you know until we try?
Overlooking your disrespect,
there's no sense trying what can't be done.
I hope the Germans have
the same sensible attitude.
Lf, in their opinion, it can't be done,
they won't be expecting us.
That'll give us a chance to get from here
to here without being discovered.
I tell you,
that's the only way it can be done...
...with all respect.
Any further comments?
You'll get your artillery support, Colonel.
Good luck.
Thank you, sir. General.
They're giving us artillery until 09:00.
By that time, we have to be on top.
Our one and only chance is surprise.
- How much of a chance is that?
- Ask me tomorrow.
Ask me now.
This'll be their Dunkirk.
We'll whip 'em this time.
There'll be nothing stopping us
but a white flag.
I'd settle to be alive tomorrow night.
- Wonder how many...
- 20 minutes.
Pass the word, 20 minutes.
That's quite a load, soldier.
Good luck, son.
Double-check all weapons, Captain.
...send my love to your wife.
If you don't make it out of here,
I'll give it to her myself, in person.
I didn't mean it,
you know me better than that.
- I know you.
- You all packed up?
How is everybody? In good shape?
- Fine, thanks, sir.
- Great.
- Leave something for the mules.
- I will, sir.
Be sure everyone has a sweater on.
It's gonna be cold.
Sweater, yes, sir. I'll check 'em out.
You okay?
- As well as could be expected, sir.
- Need anything?
Yes, sir, an honorable discharge.
Stick around.
You'll get one if you deserve it.
- Sgt. Peacock?
- Sir.
- How are your men?
- The best, sir.
- Take care.
- Will do, sir.
How about that?
What's eating him?
Have you never heard a man say good-bye?
Holy cow. It's straight up.
What's the beef? It's only a mile high.
Greco, Guthrie, Gatling, Smith.
Three hours of artillery.
Three hours only. Let's go.
Batteries ready.
Batteries fire!
This is as far as we can go.
- Overhang?
- Yeah.
Give me your grappling hook.
No, Bronc.
This is my part of the act, right?
We're okay.
There was only one guard on this side.
Move. Get the ropes over fast.
Secure the ropes. Let's get moving fast.
Keep your head down.
- Keep down.
- They're over the ridge, sir.
Stay low. Fix your gear.
Spread out. Keep down.
Keep down.
- Give 'em hell!
- Cover fire!
Come on, you don't live forever.
- Move out.
- Come on! Let's go!
Look out, Bronc!
- We made it. By God, we made it.
- Not yet. Keep the fire up.
Damn right. We'll keep it up.
- Help me.
- Don't worry.
I fix you good. Don't worry, bad boy.
Give my love to your wife.
Cover me, Colonel!
Damn it to hell. Medic!
- Keep moving.
- Shove it!
- Keep moving!
- Medic!
Come on.
I can't...
All right! Come on!
Keep down over there.
Fan out and keep moving.
There you are, my friend.
The pain will be gone in one minute.
Be right back.
- How 'bout the bullet?
- We have no doctor here.
We'll get him down the hill
as soon as we can.
How soon?
When we have men to carry him,
if he's still alive.
Tony, I need a big crowd
to help carry a wounded man.
- Take your pick.
- You. Get up.
You speak English?
Never mind. It don't matter. Come on.
Pick him up. Up!
- Put me down.
- Okay. Over there.
Don't be stupid. You got a belly wound.
You get no water, so just go to sleep.
Come on. Let's go.
- Keep 'em covered.
- Let's do it. Let's go.
Get going.
Hold the mortars!
Cease fire.
Keep 'em covered.
Major, this is your white flag.
Thank you, sir.
Thank you very much, indeed.
I'm ready to discuss surrender
under the following conditions...
You'll discuss nothing.
You'll keep your mouth shut and listen
while I tell you the conditions.
Keep me covered. Watch them.
Come on out of there. Come out!
Come on! Move it!
He's dead, sir. Come on.
There may be a counterattack.
We've got to be ready.
See that we are.
How about reporting to Gen. Hunter?
Shall I do that?
No, I will. Take care of him.
Come on out of there. Come out!
- Keep 'em covered.
- Hands over your head!
Keep moving.
Keep going.
Come on. Close it up.
Hands over your head!
Keep your hands up.
We didn't surprise them
as completely as I had hoped.
Our losses were more than I...
...made allowance for...
...including my top-ranking Canadian.
A fine officer. I'll miss him.
We're getting some artillery fire.
If there's a counterattack, we'll be ready.
We're prepared to hold until relieved.
That's all from here, sir. Over.
That's not all from here.
We tried for three weeks to take
what you took in three hours.
I want to tell you, it's absolutely fantastic,
and it's magnificent.
I'm going to recommend
the entire unit for a citation.
I want to say to you, Colonel,
I couldn't be more delighted...
...that I was absolutely wrong,
and you were 100% right.
I'm pretty happy.
I want you to give my congratulations
to every officer and man in the brigade.
They've unlocked the whole front
and got us moving again.
They say you find out what something
is worth when you pay for it.
Well, la Difensa was ours now.
Not much of a mountain, really.
But I never knew that a
mountain could be so tall...
...or plain rock cost so much.
We'd won a battle, but the war went on.
Beyond la Difensa lay more peaks,
more Germans, more bloody fights.
Mount Remetanea, Sammucro,
Radicosa, Anzio...
...and finally Rome.
As the men fought, their legend grew.
In all its history,
the force never retreated...
...never surrendered an inch of ground.
But the price was high.
The American misfits
and the proud Canadians...
...lay dead in a hundred fields
and crossroads.
Together they had built a myth.
Too many died to keep it true.