Cast and Crew: Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, John Cassavetes, Richard Jaeckel, George Kennedy, Ralph Meeker, Robert Ryan, Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland, Clint Walker, Dick Miller
What It’s About: The army assigns Major Reisman (Lee Marvin) to train a dozen soldiers sentenced to death to parachute into German held territory to assassinate a large group of officers to create confusion in the German command prior to the landing at Normandy.
Why Watch it Today?: The Filthy 13, an indirect inspiration for E. M. Nathanson’s original novel, parachuted into France on a mission to destroy two bridges and hold a third today in 1944. The Filthy 13 were a group of non-conformists within the 82nd Airborne that carried out some very difficult missions. Their legend grew within the service until the stories told to Nathanson involved a group of American Indian convicts sent on suicide missions.
The Dirty Dozen is one of the all time great war movies, with its “misfits forced to train and work together to pull off a suicide mission” formula still being ripped off to this day, an amazing cast of tough guy actors, and solid direction from the idiosyncratic Robert Aldrich.