“Battleground” is a Metro Goldwyn Mayer World War II action movie. It stars Van Johnson, John Hodiak, Richardo Montalban, George Murphy and the original “Screaming Eagles” of the 101st Airborne Division who played themselves.. The story and screen play were by Robert Pirosh, who is also the Associate Producer of the film. The film is produced by Dore Schary and directed by William A. Wellman. The setting of the movie centers around Bastogne in Europe in late 1944.
The film depicts the violent battles between the 101st Airborne Division and the German infantry in The Battle of the Bulge. It is a film about the American troops who battled General Heinrich von Luttwitz and his Panzer Corps and subsequently won the name “The Battered Bastards of Bastogne”. The film begins at the U.S. Army headquarters in France in the winter of 1944. The American platoon (101st Airborne Division) is set to go on leave to Paris and enjoy some R & R. Before leaving, their excursion to Paris was cancelled as a result of significant German military activity around Bastogne. A secret mission was established using the “Screaming Eagles” of the 101st Airborne. The weather conditions were harsh with extreme cold and heavy snow. The American troops headed for Bastogne and were moved to the front line of the war. It was miserable conditions as the Americans did not have sufficient food and their clothing was not suitable for the harsh weather conditions. Upon reaching the battle front, the Americans dug fox holes to protect themselves. A German patrol dressed in American military uniforms penetrated the Americans then opened fire. Many casualties occurred. The German soldiers had adequate uniforms and equipment such as tanks while the Americans had no tank defenses and their amunition supply was about exhausted. The American’s weapons frequently froze up in the harsh weather conditions. The skies remained cloudy so the Americans could not call in airstikes to protect themselves. Shortly thereafter, the German soldiers surrounded the American platoon and ordered them to surrender or be killed by attack. The Americans refused to surrender. The Germans started their attack with tanks and heavy artillery. Just when it appeared that the American troops would be defeated and killed, the skies turned clear and the Americans received air support to contain the German infantry.
The scenery of the movie was superb. The depiction of the snow and cold weather conditions was outstanding and made the viewer virtually feel like they were actually at the scene. Frost bite conditions were rampant for the American who were improperly dressed. It made the viewer understand some of the horrors and hardships that these soldiers encountered.
The acting in the film was excellent. Van Johnson, John Hodiak, Richardo Montalban and George Murphy portrayed their characters quite well in the film. If you did not know better, you would believe that you were at the battlefront with them.
My overall reaction to the movie was good. The film portrayed the violence and harsh conditions of war and the hardships that these soldiers went through. I certainly recommend that you see this film for yorselves. I give this film a rating of 4 on a scale of 5.