Classic Movie Reviews

The Victors Review

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( Feb 1920 -- Jan 1945 )  
The execution depicted in The Victors was that of Private Eddie Slovik of Detroit, the only American soldier to be court-martialled and executed for desertion since the U. S. Civil War. Slovik had frequently been in trouble with the police in his youth but with his marriage had achieved some stability in his life, until he was drafted in 1944. In Europe, as a member of G Company, 109th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division, Slovik spent some time away from his company before turning himself in. He was offered a chance to return to his company but he refused, saying he couldn't endure combat duty. More than 21,000 American soldiers received a wide range of sentences for desertion during WWII, including 49 death sentences. Slovik's was the only death sentence actually carried out, on January 31, 1945, at Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines, France. He was buried beside 95 soldiers executed for rape and/or murder. After his wife tried unsuccessfully for years to have his body returned to American soil, a Polish-American WWII veteran, who offered to pay the cost of return, finally persuaded President Ronald Reagan to give the order. In 1987 Slovik's remains were returned to the U. S. and he was reburied alongside his wife in a Detroit cemetery



"I hope you die!"

One of the two or three best war movies to come out of World War II and, like all honest war movies, is in essence an anti-war movie. It is mostly free of Hollywood phoney heroics and glamorizing. It follows a squad of U.S. infantrymen in combat across Europe and then, for the survivors, post-war occupation duty in Germany. The squad includes Eli Wallach, George Hamilton (when he was still a regular person), George Peppard and Peter Fonda. The female players are also first-rate - Melina Mercouri, Elke Sommer, Senta Berga and others. The ending underscores the irony of the film's title. 

1963, Directed by Carl Foreman

Watch a Clip from The Victors
*Warning May be disturbing to some viewers

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The African Queen       All Quiet on the Western Front    The Apartment    Bambi    Ben Hur    
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