AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
The Dirty Dozen
Director: Robert Aldrich (Dir)
Release Date:   1967
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 15 Jun 1967
Duration (in mins):   149
Print this page
Display Movie Summary

Cast:   Lee Marvin (Major Reisman)  
    Ernest Borgnine (General Worden)  
    Charles Bronson (Joseph Wladislaw)  
    Jim Brown (Robert Jefferson)  
    John Cassavetes (Victor Franko)  
    Richard Jaeckel (Sergeant Bowren)  
    George Kennedy (Maj. Max Armbruster)  
    Trini Lopez (Pedro Jiminez)  
    Ralph Meeker (Capt. Stuart Kinder)  
    Robert Ryan [1909-1973] (Col. Everett Dasher Breed)  
    Telly Savalas (Archer Maggott)  
    Donald Sutherland (Vernon Pinkley)  
    Clint Walker (Samson Posey)  
    Robert Webber (General Denton)  
    Tom Busby (Milo Vladek)  
    Ben Carruthers (Glenn Gilpin)  
    Stuart Cooper (Roscoe Lever)  
    Robert Phillips (Corporal Morgan)  
    Colin Maitland (Seth Sawyer)  
    Al Mancini (Tassos Bravos)  
    George Roubicek (Pvt. Arthur James Gardner)  
    Thick Wilson (General Worden's aide)  
    Dora Reisser (German officer's girl)  

Summary: A few months before D-Day, Major Reisman, a U. S. Army officer stationed in England, is given the task of training 12 convicted GI's--murderers, rapists, thieves--for the suicidal mission of parachuting into Nazi-occupied France and blowing up a chateau housing top-ranking German officers. Although the 12 men agree to undertake the assignment in the hope of being granted pardons, their initial reaction to Reisman is one of indifference and contempt. But with Sergeant Bowren's aid, Reisman goads, browbeats, and drives the men until he earns a small measure of respect from each of them. And by standing up for his squad against the opposition of two superior officers, Colonel Breed and General Denton, Reisman eventually succeeds in forging his band of misfits into a fighting unit. To prove the worth of "The Dirty Dozen," a nickname the men acquired when they were deprived of soap and water, Reisman gains permission from General Worden to allow the men to participate in war game maneuvers. After making a fool of the pompous Colonel Breed by capturing his entire staff, the men are given the go-ahead for the dangerous mission. Once parachuted into France, they make their way to the chateau and, by various ruses and surprise attacks, gain entry. Everything goes as planned until one of the Dozen, a Bible-spouting sex degenerate, Archer Maggott, goes berserk and betrays his colleagues. He is shot down, however, as the chateau is turned into a battleground of rapid machine-gun fire and exploding grenades. The savage in-fighting ends only when gasoline-soaked grenades are thrown down ventilator shafts, blowing the chateau to bits. Only three of the 12 men--Wladislaw, Posey, and Sawyer--are still alive when it is over. Both Reisman and Sergeant Bowren are present when General Worden reveals that the ex-criminals who gave their lives are now listed as soldiers who died honorably in the line of duty. 

Production Company: M. K. H. Productions  
  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.  
Production Text: A Kenneth Hyman Production
Distribution Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.  
Director: Robert Aldrich (Dir)
  Bert Batt (Asst dir)
Producer: Kenneth Hyman (Prod)
  Raymond Anzarut (Assoc prod)
Writer: Nunnally Johnson (Scr)
  Lukas Heller (Scr)
Photography: Edward Scaife (Dir of photog)
  Alan McCabe (Cam op)
  Tony Spratling (Cam op)
Art Direction: William Hutchinson (Art dir)
Film Editor: Michael Luciano (Film ed)
Music: Frank De Vol (Mus)
Sound: Franklin Milton (Sd rec)
  Claude Hitchcock (Sd rec)
  John Poyner (Sd ed)
Special Effects: Cliff Richardson (Sp eff supv)
Make Up: Ernest Gasser (Makeup)
  Wally Schneiderman (Makeup)
Production Misc: Julian Mackintosh (Unit prod mgr)
  Angela Allen (Cont)
  Walter Blake (Main title des)
Country: United States

Songs: "The Bramble Bush," words and music by Frank De Vol and Mack David; "Einsam," words and music by Frank De Vol and Sibylle Siegfried.
Composer: Mack David
  Frank De Vol
  Frank De Vol
  Sibylle Siegfried
Source Text: Based on the novel The Dirty Dozen by E. M. Nathanson (New York, 1965).
Authors: E. M. Nathanson

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
M. K. H. Productions 15/6/1967 dd/mm/yyyy LP34487

Physical Properties: col: Metrocolor
  Widescreen/ratio: see note

Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: World War II
Subjects (Major): Criminals--Rehabilitation
  Germany. Army
  Parachutes and parachuting
  United States. Army
  War games
  World War II

Note: Filmed in England. Print blown up to 70mm for some engagements. 

Display Movie Summary
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
Advanced Search
Support our efforts to preserve hisotory of film
Help AFI Preserve Film History

© 2017 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.