The Dirty Dozen

1967 film / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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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 World War II, the film follows the titular penal military unit of twelve convicts as they are trained as commandos by the Allies for a suicide mission ahead of the Normandy landings.

Quick facts: The Dirty Dozen, Directed by, Screenplay by, ...
The Dirty Dozen
Theatrical release poster by Frank McCarthy
Directed byRobert Aldrich
Screenplay byNunnally Johnson
Lukas Heller
Based onThe Dirty Dozen
1965 novel
by E. M. Nathanson
Produced byKenneth Hyman
CinematographyEdward Scaife
Edited byMichael Luciano
Music byFrank De Vol
Kenneth Hyman Production
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • June 15, 1967 (1967-06-15)
Running time
150 minutes
CountriesUnited States
United Kingdom
Budget$5.4 million[1]
Box office$45.3 million[2]

The Dirty Dozen was filmed in England at MGM-British Studios and released by MGM. The screenplay is based on the 1965 bestseller of the same name by E. M. Nathanson, which itself 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 War on suicide missions against the Japanese.[3]

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 film spawned several television film sequels in the 1980s: The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission in 1985, The Dirty Dozen: The Deadly Mission in 1987, and The Dirty Dozen: The Fatal Mission in 1988. A remake was announced in 2019 by Warner Bros..