The Story of G.I. Joe
Leonard Hancock, Jr. | Mountain View, CA | 04/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been watching "War Films" for nearly fifty years. This has been my favorite war film of all-time. It was filmed in black and white. It does not have the special effects of "Saving Private Ryan",but being made in 1945, it has the look and timeliness of the "real thing" without the Spielberg touch. 150 men in this movie were actual combat veterans which lends a lot of credence the movements and actions of these soldiers. This was the first and only time, that Robert Mitchum was nominated for an Academy Award. He was OUTSTANDING as Capt. Walker. Burgess Meredith is so great as Ernie Pyle, that Ernie Pyle could not have played himself any better! This movie will let you know about the comraderie of combat citizen soldiers. Their personal anguish. Their sacrifice and courage. A VERY REAL LOOK AT WAR!"
One of Three Best WWII Films.
Michael N. Cantwell | 11/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I grew up during World War II. My dad, a combat engineer, was overseas for three years, so the war made an indelible impact on me that lasts to this day. I remember sitting in the local movie house watching the news reels and wondering whether my father was there,was all right or would even come home again. I had friends whose fathers were not. He did, thank God, but the experience made me very critical of the typical John Wayne type Technicolor epics that glorified war and had almost supernatural heros and heroics. Those old black and white news reels, shot by combat photographers, showed the real face of war, its mindless viciousness, the numbing stress it placed upon its young combatants and the pathos of death and dismemberment at its most violent. I believe only three films about WWII caught this realism. 1. Battleground, 2. Twelve O'Clock High. and 3. The Story of G.I. Joe. If there were equally good films made about the Pacific theatre, I don't remember them, but the three above films I think will stand the test of time because of their powerful realism. The Story of G.I. Joe is about the 'forgotten war', the Italian campaign where the American and British forces had to slug their way inch by inch up the peninsula against well-prepared and led German forces who often fought to the last man. But the attention of America was focused on the Pacific and later, after D-Day, the northern European campaigns. Ernie Pyle, who is brilliantly portrayed by Burgess Meredith in this film, was the only reason that folks back home, who had fathers and sons in Italy, could find out a little, anything, about this forgotten war. He understood the American G.I. better than any writer that ever lived. My father said it was because he was up front, both physically and spiritually, with the grunts. Robert Mitchum, who I always believed was a vastly underrated actor, stuns the viewer in his sensitive role as a young officer who grows weary and finally fatalistic regarding the death of the men he leads. He knows it is only a matter of time for them all. His deeply moving performance alone makes this a movie to see. Tragedy at its best. I watched my father twice try to make it through this movie. He couldn't. He said it was just too real for him. That's a review better than anything I can write."
A Classic WWII Flick
Thomas Dattoli | Montvale, NJ USA | 06/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Unlike modern films about WWII (i.e. Saving Private Ryan), the Story of G.I. Joe doesn't jump out and grab you. There are no explicit scenes of human body parts flying through the air, blood filled waters and no multi-million dollar special effects. This film though, conveys the horrors of war with more brutal emotion than any other film I have ever seen. The black and white celluloid projects soul were today's special effects only provide flash. The result is that the film takes a little time to engage you, but once you get caught up in the lives of the infantry soldiers, you really begin to care about and respect them. The acting in this film is brilliant and with great respect to Tom Hanks and the cast of Saving Private Ryan, who also did an excellent job, could never be duplicated today. Even though the characters in the Story of G.I. Joe become battle hardened soldiers, there is an innocence of time that half a century later is lost on modern actors. This same innocence is communicated through the script. The story walks a fine line between its message of the evil of war and the goodness of the men involved. Men who are blinded by their duty. This movie is a keeper, one to be watched over and over again so that the subtle meanings and stark images can be more deeply appreciated."
Ernie Pyle's coverage of the common soldier
Dave | Tennessee United States | 02/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This unforgettable classic, based on Ernie Pyle's "Here is Your War" and "Brave Men", is considered by many to be one of the best war films ever made. Even General Dwight Eisenhower considered it the best movie to come out of World War 2. William Wellman, the director, initially didn't want to make the movie, but after a telephone conversation with Ernie Pyle himself, Wellman relented. Wellman later admitted that Pyle's pleas for the common soldier were so touching that Wellman was nearly brought to tears.
"The Story of G.I. Joe" follows the beloved correspondant Pyle (played to perfection by Burgess Meredith) as he meets and becomes close friends with C Company of the 18th Infantry as they fight their way from Sicily to Rome in 1942 and 1943. Pyle becomes especially close to Captain Bill Walker (played by Robert Mitchum, in his oscar nominated breakthrough role). The combat scenes are brief but very realistic, and no one is safe from death on the battlefield (including the Captain).
This movie is an unflinching look at the daily struggles of the infantrymen, who struggle with the enemy troops and the mud. Wellman wisely used 150 veterans of the army's Italian campaign as extras, and gave some of them speaking parts. Unfortunately, many of these extras would later be killed fighting in the Pacific after the film was completed. And Ernie Pyle would also meet his death in the Pacific, killed by a sniper's bullet. "The Story of G.I. Joe" would be the one and only film he made that Wellman refused to watch.
Undoubtably one of the finest-crafted war films ever made, "The Story of G.I. Joe" is a lasting monument to not only Ernie Pyle's great coverage of the brave American foot soldiers, but also to the soldiers themselves, who loved Pyle more than all the other correspondants of World War 2. Perhaps the best line of the whole film is at the very end when Burgess Meredith (as the film's narrator) says, "And for those beneath the wooden crosses, there is nothing more we can do, except perhaps to pause and murmur, "Thanks, pal.""