Battle for the Western Front (2022) Movie Script

- You can't do this, damn it.
I'm a pilot.
I belong up there fighting.
- You are fighting.
You're an incredible
force for recruitment.
More effective than you know.
- I've become a damn poster boy.
- A top ace.
A living legend.
Providing more for the war
effort in morale building
than any single pilot
could in the sky.
- I haven't even caught
up to Richtofen's 80 yet.
Hell, Franc could pass
me, a bloody Frenchman.
- He could, or
Barker or Collishaw
or McLaren could pass him
and all the better that they do.
- Or the next top
ace could pass him.
Trained by the
indomitable Billy Bishop.
- A flight school?
- Taught by the best.
Can you imagine
the repercussions
if you were shot
down and killed?
- Well, better
to die in the sky...
- One final push.
Recruitment, training,
and victory in Europe.
- When do you think they'll
send us out to the front?
- Can't be soon enough.
The war's gonna be over
before I even have a chance
to catch Bishop's score.
- You'll return home
with your lovely Margaret,
have a handful of
little Bishops.
- For the first time,
I can hardly wait for
this campaign to be over.
- The Lion, England, is strong.
But men of fighting
age and high courage
must answer the call.
It's our commonwealth after all.
And we must defend it.
- Here. Here.
- I'll go, take me
to France Billy.
- I imagine you'd beat the
Hun back all on your own, boy.
If only you were old enough.
- Billy, they say
that you met the king?
- That's right.
- What did His Highness say
when he met a real hero?
- Well,
he shook my hand.
And before he
released it, he said,
Bishop, I've been
telling everyone you
shot down 72 planes.
But here I read in your
book, you shot down 47.
Now are you a liar or am I?
- What did you tell His Majesty?
- Well, I told him neither.
When I wrote the book,
I had 47 victories.
And since then,
we're 25 closer to
defeating the Germans.
But we need more men.
- I'm signing up, Billy!
I'm going off to France
to fight those Hun.
- Good for you, son.
Give 'em hell.
- You ever notice that
we don't see many men
coming back, Robert?
- We haven't won
the war yet, James.
When we do, they'll come home.
Keep my mother busy
while I enlist.
- He's old enough.
There's no talking
him out of it.
- They say the government's
going to conscript
if you don't get
enough volunteers.
- Robert, counts on
you looking after him.
Always been that way.
Some days, I can't
believe you all are grown.
Adults now.
I guess that's the way of it.
Oh, oh, Mabel.
- Well, I suppose
you'll be joining up?
- Why is that?
- You and Robert
are inseparable,
since we were kids.
- Men are dying over
there, for Europe's war.
- Most of my family
is still there.
This war is all of ours.
If Germany takes
Europe, what then?
- Some men need to
stay back and farm
to build the guns and such-
- Some men lack the
fortitude or the character.
- I don't want to
forget who I am.
I don't want this
war to change us.
- I'll remind you who you are.
You'll see her again.
We're off to France, James.
- We're coming home heroes.
Those Huns won't
know what hit 'em.
Been reading Billy's book.
His wife, Margaret.
She's the niece of
Timothy Eaton, himself.
- Is that a fact?
- Whole family thought he
wasn't good enough for her.
Until he joined up, and
downed all those Huns.
- Lucky for him.
- You know what Billy said?
What he said to her?
If I gotta shoot down every
last German plane in the sky
to be good enough for you,
those birds are going down.
Can you imagine?
It's the God's
honest truth, James,
They are just like you and Mary.
- Well, I don't
know about all that.
- You win a medal for her
to show to her friends
and she'll love you forever.
You come home a hero.
Family name will be honored
for a hundred years.
- My family name is
thought of just fine...-
- Nobody cares about "fine".
- Enough!
- You two need to listen
to me very carefully
because what I'm gonna tell you,
it could save your life.
- What's that, old timer?
- You don't go over there
trying to be a hero.
You just do your best and
you try to stay alive.
- What's it like over there?
- War is not for everyone.
Some of us, we,
we get used to it.
If I stand to
see the sunrise
My sins will be atoned
If I walk with
strength and purpose-
I'll be coming home
- The forward line is secured.
The Germans have
been forced back
to their old line at
the edge of the forest.
- Well done, Sergeant.
Word has come up from the brass.
- Sir?
- We are making the push.
- Sir, do they
understand these men
have come off an extended
offensive to take this position?
They're not ready for
another push, sir.
They're exhausted.
They're not equipped.
- They have assured me
that supplies are
coming up from the rear
along with reinforcement.
- Well, with all due
respect, Captain,
we just fought our
way through there.
The roads are
destroyed from Archie.
It's one thing for men on
foot moving duck boaord
hell, we lost wounded
men in the mud
who otherwise may have lived.
How do they plan to move horses
and trucks through
that, Captain?
- We hold at all cost.
we push through
their line, here.
After that, the First and the
Brits push through behind us.
Today, we'll need
a short offensive
so that the Germans think us
better equipped than we are.
After that, we sustain
any counter offensive.
- Yes, sir.
- We just need to
survive one day.
- Captain.
- There's one thing
that brings me comfort
in this God-forsaken hole.
It's knowing that Jerry
is just as miserable as we are.
- There's no comfort here.
- Brings me comfort knowing
I gutted three more Hun.
- How many is that now?
- Not enough.
- I can't wait to get one.
Have you even fired that
Enfield today, private?
- I remember when
you landed, Kip.
Full of vinegar,
but the piss was in your boot.
- Yeah. Yeah.
Well the Germans
have retreated back
to their line where they belong.
- They keep coming.
- Stams, if it weren't
for killing Hun,
there'd be nothing left for me.
- Dead walking.
- Give it a rest, Stams.
- Mercy's sakes, Bench!
This one's still breathing.
- Wanna survive this war, boys?
The Hun's only desire
is to make your loved
ones suffer your loss.
Remember that.
Highlights the pointlessness
then, don't it?
- Charming.
Perhaps the Sergeant will make
a more humane role
model for you, privates.
- The Hun got his
boy back in 15.
He volunteered the next day.
- Dead walking.
- Careful, Peggy.
That's a fine machine gun
nest they're building there.
Be a shame if someone
delayed that effort.
No sense firing again, and
giving away our position.
The fog is rolling in.
- Hey, be sure to keep your
head below the top there.
Many tall men have wished
themselves shorter, too late,
only to find their stature
reduced to their width.
- Why do you talk like that?
- What do you mean, Kip?
- We can't understand
you, Henry.
And big words
don't kill Germans.
It don't do nothing.
- It doesn't do anything.
- We can agree on that.
- Anybody got a light?
- Again?
- My matches got soaked through.
- I ain't got none.
- Hey, you don't have any.
- That's what I said, dammit.
- It's like farming in the rain.
So you keep your matches
in your top pocket
or in your helmet
so they stay dry.
- Like farming, only
the corn shoots at you.
Eh, amusing story.
I've read it.
- True account, Billy
wrote it himself.
- Hmm, I think you'll
find shades of truth.
You know, it's like
the newspapers.
It reads black and white,
but rarely occurs that way.
Now history is never
told with full accuracy.
And then of course,
there's a matter of
perspective to consider.
Oh, not to worry, it's ours.
- Wonder what it's like
to see it from up there.
One man must look like
an ant in all of this.
- I suppose so.
- I heard Bishop downed 70
before they pulled
him off the line.
- He was handy for 72.
- Likely a "polished" 27.
- Still admirable.
- They'll just send more.
Can't ever kill them all.
- Hey pal, you got a light?
Can you believe that?
A red skin thinks he's too good?
- Private, you know who that is?
- That's Francis Pegahmagabow.
- Never heard of him.
- Hey!
The dye isn't even
dry on your boots
and you're dense enough
to be insulting Peggy.
- Walt, who's better?
Bishop or Peggy?
- Well, Peggy
missed a shot once,
said he didn't care for it
so he wouldn't miss
- What do you
think there, Peggy?
Who's better?
- Well, the Eagle's a
hunter, but so is the wolf.
The young beaver
needs enough sense
to stay on his mother's
back so he doesn't get wet.
- The hell's that
supposed to mean?
- When you figure that out,
maybe you'll be able to
keep your matches dry, Kit.
- The Germans are taking up
up a second line on the hill.
Less than a half kilometer.
Machine gunners are
holding the space
between the old line
and north side of Orix.
- Still some left to kill, then.
- Brass will call
a short offensive,
smoke and mirrors.
Keep the young ones
close enough to get back.
- Tell the school teacher.
- He heard.
Best put the book away, Kid.
Morning's about to
get interesting.
- Can you imagine what
it's like to be Billy?
Up there fighting the Hun
like a knight in an SE5.
Lewis gun chattering.
- What's so great about Bishop?
He's just some rich man's son
that got outta fighting
in the trenches.
- The book says-
- Kid.
- Bishop made up half of that
and the Canadian government
spit shined it and here you are!
- Why'd you come
here then, Harris?
- Me?
- Yeah.
- I'm here 'cause
they couldn't find
enough suckers to volunteer.
- Nobody gonna make it out.
I don't recognize
myself anymore.
- Dammit, Stams.
All this to look at
and you're the most
depressing thing?
- I suggest you find
new purpose, Stams.
Learn to enjoy your work.
Killing Huns can be
satisfying, redeeming even.
- There's no redeeming
us for all of this.
- Speak for yourself.
You don't speak for me.
- What's it like to kill a man?
- Well, when you kill a man,
it doesn't feel like a victory.
One minute, life is there,
the biggest something.
And the next,
there's just a body,
the smallest something.
It's way too quiet and
I don't like that fog.
- Officer approaching!
Officer approaching!
- Well done.
Took the trench back.
Our new men sure proved
themselves today.
First battle, first
taste of victory.
I envy you that.
Has everyone had
some breakfast then?
- Yes, Captain.
- Good.
We'll be mounting an
offensive this morning.
We will let the Germans know
to not become comfortable
in their new accommodations.
- Yes, Captain.
- Very good.
Carry on.
Officer approaching!
- Coals aren't even cooled here.
And he's hungry to
take more ground.
- We can't win a war
standing still there, Kit.
- I'm curious.
Tell me.
How many gotta die
to win the war?
They got a number picked out?
- Stay
close, stay close!
- Go on.
- Come on, stay close, Robert.
Stay close, gentlemen.
Keep up!
- They keep sending me children
- Over and over.
- For Jerry to kill.
- Stay with me, Robert!
- Don't push it.
- Come on, run, run,
right behind you.
- Where's our resupply?
- Runner just gave word.
They likely can't
get into us all day.
Between the roads.
- They're damn slow!
- The
ammunition is low.
If food is low, we knew the
advance was a risk, sir.
- Our ammunition running
low is a problem, Sergeant.
The Germans knowing our
ammunition is running low
is altogether worse.
Get back out there.
- Yes, sir.
- ...between the wire.
We have to get out of here.
- Stay where you are, Robbie.
- We're going to die in
here, James, the bombs.
- I said stay down!
- We have to get out of here.
- We're gonna die in
here, James, the bombs.
- I said stay down!
- I've got a bad feeling
about this, Robert.
- You haven't have a good
feeling about anything
since we've landed in England.
Worse since we got
to got to France.
- Soldier's gonna die out there.
- That's what
soldiers do, Peggy.
- I let you talk
me into joining up.
- This isn't the time.
- We could die here, Robert!
- If we stay here we're
as good as dead, James.
With our guys, we have a chance.
Stop complaining and let's go.
- You got a death wish?
There's other guys.
- Yeah, plenty of guys.
- Peggy, don't do this.
I'm begging you.
- Ready then?
- God almighty.
- You get out there,
I'll cover ya.
On one, two, three.
Go, go, go, go, go.
- Wait.
- James.
- Wait, wait, wait,
it's the wrong way.
Get back!
James, James!
- We were all mixed up.
Didn't know which way was which.
He's over there.
You have to get him back.
- We will, son.
We will.
Stand your post
and rest up for it.
- Yes, sir.
Thank you, Captain.
- Probably dead already.
They keep sending younger men.
Even the Germans.
- No word on a resupply.
The runner hasn't
made it back yet.
- God help us if they
mount a counter offensive
before nightfall.
- Medic!
It's okay, soldier, it's okay.
- Come on, come on.
- Shh shh shh.
- Come on, come on.
- Shh shh shh.
Slow, slow, slow, slow...
- Ah, hell.
- Bench?
- Suppose tonight's
as good as any.
Gimme a chance to
kill a few more Hun.
- I don't suppose
you'd care to tell us
what the hell you mean?
- We're going on a night raid.
- How do you get that?
- Night raid?
- It's a short funeral preceeded
by us going over the top
under the cover of darkness
and jumping into
their damn trenches.
That's what it is.
- How can he be so sure of
that's what's happening?
I can't go back out there.
- We're
going on a night raid.
- You five will
be coming with me.
- Do we have to go at night?
In the darkness?
The experienced men: Bench,
Henry, why me?
- You're not a father, are you?
You have the luxury of
dying without guilt.
- I'm Catholic.
Can't do anything without guilt!
- Where is he?
Where is he?
Where's my friend? Where
is he?
- No, save the bullet.
Let him burn.
- Bench!
- What?
- Here, take these.
Head back.
- Come on, Bench.
Come on, get over it!
What the hell?
Cover me.
You stupid bastard,
you have kids.
- They're all kids, Bench.
They're all kids, let's go.
Now come on.
- Come on!
- Come on, guys.
Get him in, get him in.
- Help me here.
- Help him, come on.
- Get on your feet, soldier!
- I can't!
- You got one chance
to live today.
Get up!
- I can't, I can't.
- Get on your feet, get up!
When those Germans
come over the hills,
you kill every one of
them crosses that field.
You hear me?
- I'm not meant for
it, I can't, I don't.
- No one's meant for it, kid.
Listen, you wanna die
or you wanna live?
- I wanna live.
- Exactly.
That's what I thought.
So you point your weapon
and kill every one of those
bastards trying to kill us!
There's no one else
coming for you.
It's just me and him and him.
We're all you got, kid.
There's no one else coming
for you except them.
And they're not
gonna take you home.
You understand me?
You gotta fight.
You gotta fight, kid.
- Get this to the line.
I'll be right behind you.
- What you got there, Peggy?
- Let the Captain know we have
a prisoner to bargain with.
- He didn't know that.
Did Walt make it back?
- Where's the kid, Robert?
- Oh, he made it.
I saw the Sarge tearing a
strip off him there earlier.
- Come to think of it, I
haven't seen him since.
- Deserter?
- We've made arrangements,
for a prisoner exchange
with the Germans.
Bench, you'll lead it.
Peggy you will provide
support with the Ross.
1400 hours.
Take one man with
you and meet here,
in Upton Woods.
- Yes, sir.
- Yes, sir.
- Thank you.
- Any word on that resupply?
- No word from the Brass yet
on when they are
getting through.
We need this prisoner
exchange to go well,
keep their spirits up.
- Captain.
- I was told you were wounded
during the night raid.
How are you, Bench?
- Well, my injuries and losses
might have made me
old before my time,
but this was just a flesh wound.
- I pray you find some
piece of happiness again
after this is all over.
- With all due respect, Captain,
I'd rather die in the dirt.
- How long you been
here now, Peggy?
- Signed up as soon
as the war started.
- You know what's funny?
I'm not even
supposed to be here.
I had a run with the law,
changed over to my
mother's maiden name,
some uncle I never met,
went by that name.
Turns out that's the
one that gets drafted.
25 to life or whatever
comes of this.
- Hmm, should have taken prison.
Food is probably better.
- Here we go.
- Afternoon, Jerry.
Got something for me?
- I don't like the way
this Jerry's looking at me.
Easy now, fellas.
- Pow.
- Hello?
- Bonjour, Canadian?
- Yes.
Yes, I'm Canadian.
Could you spare some water?
- Oui, yes, yes, of course.
- Papa?
- Lucienne, my daughter
will prepare food.
- No, no, I couldn't.
- Please, you
would be our guest.
- Thank you.
- Should we expect others?
- No, I was separated
from my unit.
- Our time is complicated.
- I just need food
and water, please.
And then I'll be getting on.
- Of course.
Come. Come.
My brother told me about
the Canadian he observed.
It was some months ago.
My brother, Lucienne's uncle,
runs a farm near Cambrais.
Tell him, Lucienne.
- My uncle was out early
morning walking the fields
when he heard the airplane.
His fields are nearby
a German aerodrome,
and he has become very
familiar with each plane.
The Canadian came in and began
shooting the German planes
one by one, as they sit idle.
- One tried to take off
- The Canadian
pilot destroyed it.
Another lifting off, reaches
The Canadian shoots.
It burst into flame and
crashed into a tree.
- Just like that, it
went up into the clouds.
The Germans never
knew what hit them.
- What was his name?
William, oh, Billy.
- Bishop.
William Avery Bishop.
So it is true?
- Yes. Yes.
Captain William Avery
Bishop, that's it.
The German paper,
they only reported minor
Nachrichtenblatt is propaganda.
It is notorious for
exaggerating their victories
and minimizing their losses.
- I understand
- The Germans.
They are here.
You must go hide in the field.
Lucienne, you hide in the barn.
It is just me and my daughter.
- Where is she?
- She has chores.
- Get in there, hide.
I'll protect you from
across the trees.
Get in!
- Can't do it, James.
Just not built for it.
- Yes, you can, Robert.
It's real simple.
Just take a deep breath,
eye up your shot.
Breathe out as you
squeeze the trigger gently
like you're sneaking up on it.
- Yes!
Pretty soon I'll be doing
it with my eyes closed.
- Big words for someone
who's afraid of the dark.
- James.
Come on, come on!
- Morning, sir.
- Sergeant.
The runner?
- No word.
Limited rations for breakfast.
We're less than a day away
from running outta water.
Very low in ammunition, sir.
- Thank you, Sergeant.
- Here they come.
- They're not saying
it, but I'm telling you.
We're running out of ammo.
I've had about half a breakfast.
They're not saying it,
but there's no resupply coming.
- Shut your mouth, Harris.
It's about time we got
to killing some Hun.
- It's not the killing
that bothers me, Bench.
It's the dying.
Especially when I'm hungry.
- Stop chattering
on and on about it.
It only makes it twice as
bad on an empty stomach.
- I'm just hungry and tired.
I didn't sleep well.
- Bet those Jerrys have
got a fine breakfast.
Hell, I got half of mind
to go over there and eat.
- Does that mean what
I think it means?
- Yep.
- Bayonets!
Get ready, boys!
Let's go!
- I suppose you Hun think
you're safe over there,
eating your breakfast!
I can smell your
breakfast cooking.
And I'm hungry!
I'll eat your breakfast
and it'll still be warm!
This is for my boy!
You took my boy!
He was my only boy!
- Harris, you alright?
- I'm fine.
- The
lion, England, is strong.
But men of fighting
age and high courage
must answer the call.
It's our commonwealth after all.
And we must defend it.
- Here. Here.
- I'll go, take me
to France, Billy.
- Like a...vapor
I wonder if it was ever real.
- We're being overrun.
- Dammit.
- What do you want to do?
- We follow our orders.
- Captain!
- And hold at all costs!
- Yes, sir.
- What do we have here?
Sarge, we got something.
- Wounded? German?
- Deserter.
- Canadian?
What is your name?
- I have no name.
- Give 'em hell, come
on, let's get it.
Let's go, boys, come
on, let 'em have it!
- Go, go, go!
- When we
broke their line
it was the beginning of
the ends for the Germans.
It set in motion
what came to be known
as the Hundred Days Offensive,
it turned the tide in the Great
War that changed the world.
I was never afraid of dying.
I just wanted to
get home to Mary.
- You should take his letter.
- He didn't have anyone
left to send one to.
Look at you.
With morphine.
Just my type.
- Well, don't just stand there.
Let's help this man.
- No.
I can't bear the darkness.
Our Father, who art in heaven.
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done.
On Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day.
- Firing company, ready.
Forgive us our trespasses.
As we forgive those who
trespass against us.
- Firing company, aim!
- And lead us not
into temptation.
- Sir, sir!
- But deliver us from evil.
- Sir, sir!
- Hold.
- It's over, sir.
The war.
It ends today at 11:11.
- For thine is the Kingdom,
the power and the glory,
are thine forever.
- All right, so,
what you're gonna do.
You're gonna take a breath.
And let it go
as you gently
release that trigger.
- Okay, Dad.
- Okay, so, I want you to put
your fingers through here.
There you go.
Good, good, good.
Okay, now aim.
Aim down, I'll hold it.
Whenever you're ready, okay?
All right.
Great shot!
Great shot, Robbie!
Good job.
Way to go.
- I like to
imagine sometimes
that my best friend,
Robert, met a French girl.
I imagine he wandered
off and found his place.
Maybe he has young kids, too,
They lay in the grass together
and watch the planes overhead.
And he tells 'em stories
about the great ace,
William Avery Bishop.
The same way I tell my son
about the legendary scout,
Francis Pegahmagabow,
the deadliest sniper
in all the Great War.
And I tell my son
about his Uncle Robert.
I guess that's how
we all handled the
war when we got home,
those of us who came home
the ones who remember,
the ones who can't forget.