The Dirty Dozen

The Dirty Dozen is a 1967 American war film directed by Robert Aldrich and starring Lee Marvin with an ensemble supporting cast including Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, John Cassavetes, Richard Jaeckel, George Kennedy, Ralph Meeker, Robert Ryan, Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland, Clint Walker and Robert Webber. Set in 1944 during the Second World War, it was filmed in England at MGM-British Studios and released by MGM. The film was a box office success and won the Academy Award for Best Sound Editing at the 40th Academy Awards in 1968. In 2001, the American Film Institute placed it at number 65 on their 100 Years... 100 Thrills list. The screenplay is based on the 1965 bestseller by E. M. Nathanson which was inspired by a real-life WWII unit of behind-the-lines demolition specialists from the 101st Airborne Division named the "Filthy Thirteen". Another possible inspiration was the public offer to President Franklin D. Roosevelt by 44 prisoners serving life sentences at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary to serve in the Pacific on suicide missions against the Japanese.


In March 1944, OSS officer Major John Reisman is ordered by the commander of ADSEC in Britain, Major General Sam Worden, to undertake Project Amnesty, a top-secret mission to train some of the Army's worst prisoners and turn them into commandos to be sent on a virtual suicide mission just before D-Day. The target is a château near Rennes where dozens of high-ranking German officers will be eliminated in order to disrupt the chain of command of the Wehrmacht in Northern France before the Allied invasion. The prisoners who survive the mission will receive pardons for their crimes.