The Big Red One

1980 film by Samuel Fuller

The Big Red One is a 1980 film about a hardened sergeant and the four core members of his infantry unit who try to survive World War II as they move from battle to battle throughout Europe.

Directed and written by Samuel Fuller.
The real glory of war is surviving.  taglines

The Sergeant

  • You're going to live, even if I have to blow your brains out.
  • [choking the German male nurse who kissed him on the mouth] I can understand you being horny and all, Fritz... but you have bad breath.

Private Zab

  • [narrating] The Bangalore Torpedo was 50' long and packed with 85 pounds of TNT and you assembled it along the way. By hand. I'd love to meet the asshole who invented it.
  • [narrating] Saving that Kraut was the final joke of the whole goddamned war. I mean we had more in common with him than all our replacements who got killed whose names we never even knew. We'd all made it through we were alive. I'm gonna dedicate my book to those who shot but didn't get shot, because it's about survivors. And surviving is the only glory in war, if you know what I mean.
  • [narrating] You know how you smoke out a sniper? You send a guy out in the open and you see if he gets shot. They thought that one up at West Point.
  • [narrating] By now we'd come to look at all replacements as dead men who temporarily had the use of the arms and legs. The came and went so fast and so regularly that sometimes we didn't even learn their names. Truth is, after a while, we sort of avoided gettin' to know them.
  • [narrating] Those Sicilian women cooked us a terrific meal. I'ts too bad they were all over fifty. We were more horny than we were hungry.


[the troop stops before a memorial]
Johnson: Would you look at how fast they put the names of all our guys who got killed?
The Sergeant: That's a World War One memorial.
Johnson: But the name's are the same.
The Sergeant: They always are.

Kaiser: Did I kill the guy that killed me?
The Sergeant: Yes.

Griff: I can't murder anybody.
The Sergeant: We don't murder; we kill.
Griff: It's the same thing.
The Sergeant: The hell it is, Griff. You don't murder animals; you kill 'em.

The Sergeant: Killing insane people is not good for public relations.
Griff: Killing sane people is okay?
The Sergeant: That's right.

Johnson: [concerning a woman in labor] How do you say "push" in French?
The Sergeant: Poussez.
Johnson: [to woman] Pussy! Pussy! Pussy!

[the Sergeant affixes a cloth red '1' to his uniform. The Captain is drinking from a bottle]
The Sergeant: What do you think?
The Captain: What the hell is it?
The Sergeant: It's a "one". First Infantry Division. The Red One; think General Pershing will like it?
The Captain: Oh, sure.
The Sergeant: I got the idea from the cap of a Hun I killed.
The Captain: When?
The Sergeant: About an hour ago
The Captain: Did he yell out anything?
The Sergeant: Oh, the same old Kaiser stuff, you know, "the war's over," all that junk.
[the Captain hands him the bottle]
The Captain: Finish it.
The Sergeant: Sir?
The Captain: Finish it. The Armistice was signed, at eleven o'clock this morning. The war's been over for four hours. You didn't know it was over.
The Sergeant: ...He did.
Zab: [narrating] A quarter of a century later that piece of cloth from a dead Hun's hat had become famous all over the world. It was the insignia of the First Infantry Division. The Fightin' First. The Big Red One.


  • The real glory of war is surviving.
  • Only chance could have thrown them together. Now, nothing can pull them apart.


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