Director: Don Siegel
Writer: Richard Carr, Robert Pirosh (Screenplay) Robert Pirosh (Story)
Starring: Steve McQueen, Bobby Darin, Fess Parker, Harry Guardino, james Coburn, Bob Newhart
Plot: Small squad must hold off German attack.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Dated War Film
Story: Hell is for Heroes starts in Montigny, France 1944 where the soldiers are resting. They are all waiting for the time when they can finally go home but when a new soldier Reece (McQueen) turns up the banter gets put slightly out of place. Sgt Larkin (Guardino) and his men Corby (Darin), Pike (Parker), Henshaw (Coburn) and Driscoll (Newhart) along with Reece are sent to a new location before getting final instruction before their next mission.
Reece is going to be trouble as he is straight away very much to himself and likes his drinking. The unit have the hopes of a return home shattered as they get sent out on their new mission. When the orders change it is down to the six men to keep the Germans back without giving away their numbers. What follows is the Americans trying to pull off as many tricks as possible to trick the Germans into thinking they have a large platoon.
Hell is for Heroes is a story that we see in plenty of war films where we see a small number of soldiers overcome the odds to beat a large number, it is tried and tested as everyone likes to cheer for an underdog. This one has plenty of generically easy ideas that all work out nicely and for the time it would have looked like a very good war film. Film has come a long way now and this would not stand next to them anymore but it could easily have been one of the best at the time of release. (6/10)
Steve McQueen: Reese the rebellious soldier who has been causing problems during the war, he has an attitude but could be the best hope for victory. Steve was the icon and main attraction for this film and he shows why in his performance. (7/10)
Bobby Darin: Corby wheeler and dealer who seems to have everything the men would want also he is very much a wise cracker. Booby gives us a good performance and is the character I wanted to see on camera more often. (7/10)
Support Cast: Hell is for Heroes has a supporting cast that fills the generic war film types, they all help the story unfold and all do a very good job in their performance.
Director Review: Don Siegel – Don keeps everything simple in this film and ends up getting a solid war film still over 50 years later. (7/10)
War: Hell is for Heroes comes off as a solid war film for the time. (7/10)
Settings: Hell is for Heroes uses pretty much one setting for the most part of the film and it shows how little area people were fighting for during the wars. (9/10)
Suggestion: Hell is for Heroes is one for the classic film fan to enjoy, I don’t see today’s audience enjoying this film. (Classic Film Fans)
Best Part: The end was good and well put together.
Worst Part: Little bit slow starting.
Action Scene Of The Film: Final attack.
Believability: Things like this would have happened in the war. (5/10)
Chances of Tears: No (0/10)
Chances of Sequel: No
Post Credits Scene: No
Oscar Chances: No
Budget: $2.5 Million
Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Tagline: ONLY 6 G.I.’s and they had to hold off the whole German army!
Trivia: According to Bob Newhart’s autobiography, “I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This”, Steve McQueen and Bobby Darin did not get along during filming. When stories of their feud appeared in the trade papers, the film’s publicist was fired. As it turned out, it was Nick Adams who leaked the story. According to Newhart, Adams felt so badly that he chased the publicist’s departing plane yelling, “I’m sorry!”
Overall: For years war films have been used to tell the stories off overcoming odds and this is no exception and would have been one of the best at the time.