Talk:The Dirty Dozen

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This page is wrong. Lee Marvin and one more actor survive. Watch the movie and see. (

The comment you are referring to is: Of the twelve, only Wladislaw (Number 9) (Bronson) survives.

You're correct - there were three survivors: Reisman (Lee Marvin), Wadislaw (Charles Bronson), and Reisman's assistant, Sgt Bowren (Richard Jaeckel). However, of those three, only Wadislaw was one of the twelve. The article is correct as-is. --Raul654 01:23, 20 Dec 2003 (UTC)

So much for the characters who survive the plot. Now what about the actors who are still with us? In a timeless online encyclopedia, how helpful is it to record (under Cast) a bald statement like "Six members of the Dirty Dozen are deceased" ? So I checked it out and, yes, it's actually true for today! I've included the essential "As of" component, but really—since the survivors now range in age from 74 to 89—a whole series of edits are going to be needed before the whole dozen have dropped off the twig. I say let's just delete this useless dated information. Bjenks (talk) 07:28, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

True story[edit]

The movie is also based on a true story, so it is not entirely fictional.

Based on a true story? According to this review the movie was not based on a true story. -- 06:23, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

The movie is extremely fictional, twelve unidentifiable soilders did not raid a German officer's manor before D-Day, not to mention the ridiculous props. The M3 grease gun was no the standard sub MG for the army in 1944, the Tommy was, and most units had Garands or Carbines anyway.

The M3 SMG was a standard issue in 1944, mainly to AFV crews - it would make more sense for a commando unit to jump with M3s rather than Thompsons, though one has to remember it is just a movie. What "most units" did is rather irrelevant. Besides which, Marvin trained on the M3 while in the USMC and was already familiar with its use - as the propmaster found out on the set when he tried to "instruct" Marvin in its use.Michael Dorosh 18:22, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Plot addition[edit]

This part was added by

The movie focuses on Lee Marvin's character training the "Dirty dozen" to fight like good soldiers. His unorthodox methods of training prevail, and they all become very competent combatants. their skill is demonstrated during the "war games" scene, in which the Dirty Dozen use sneakiness and cunning to prevail; proving to Marvin that they are ready to attempt the big mission, the attack on the a Nazi Party party.

And I don't know how to integrate it in, but I know it doesn't belong at the bottom of the article. Someone, please merge this in and delete my comment here. Cburnett 20:02, 18 Jan 2005 (UTC)

saw it last night on TV[edit]

Am I the only one who noticed that they violated the Geneva conventions multiple times? --Carl 07:13, 14 September 2005 (UTC)

The Geneva convention applies to prisoners of war - it does not apply to someone being held by his own military. →Raul654 07:32, 14 September 2005 (UTC)
No, I mean the Dozen themselves broke the rules of war: they had no dog tags, they misused uniforms, they targetted officers, they killed German civilians (yes, it would have been hard to let the wives escape without it backfiring, but the way they did it was still really slack), and during the war game they faked out the medical personnel. All of that is really, really sketch. If you saw a movie about Germans sneaking into England and throwing hand grenades and gasoline onto a group of Majors cowering in the basement, would you really be completely comfortable with it? Nevermind that the Nazis are bad guys; the Dozen are no saints either. --Carl 09:40, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

How about The Eagle has Landed where German troops sneak into the UK dressed as Polish troops!

Ahhh, the wonders of patriotism. The movie is obviously a pro-american movie, just like the majority of movies made about WW2. But of course "the Dozen are no saints either." That's why they are "dirty". I mean, they were pulled out of prison! Bornyesterday 12:41, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

Well, I understand that being "bad" is part of their appeal, since they're rebels who don't follow the rules. But I think the rules in question which they aren't following are kind of important ones. So important that it's obscene that they're the protagonists of the movie. Of course, the 60's also brought us Bonnie and Clyde along with everything else. It's just funny to celebrate these guys just because they're on our side. Anyhow, wikipedia isn't a forum, so I guess I'll let it go with that. I just think it might be interesting if someone who knows more about the rules of war could make a definitive list of all the ones being broken. --Carl 12:40, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

The "rules of war" specifically ALLOW the use of enemy uniforms as a legitimate ruse de guerre - see the article on Brandenburg Commandos or read Spaeter's history of same. You're not allowed to fight in enemy uniform, but you are permitted to wear them to fool the enemy up to the point of contact.Michael Dorosh 18:25, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
Isn't that the point of the film? (Interestingly, as far as I recall, no German character does anything particularly "evil" during the entire movie, although they're supposed to be the bad guys.) Remember it was made in 1967, when USA, particularly the younger generation, was growing weary of the ongoing Vietnam war. 惑乱 分からん * \)/ (\ (< \) (2 /) /)/ * (talk) 18:40, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

So,the germans broke the geneva convention all the time and if they obayed the rules they wouldnt be there in the first place. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:43, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Please, this movie is just fiction. Penal battalions weren't used in English or American Army. Red Army really had penal battalions, with great success.Agre22 (talk) 22:28, 20 September 2009 (UTC)agre22

TV Show[edit]

I seem to recall their being a short lived TV Series based on the movie back in the late 80's on Fox TV. I think it only lasted two seasons. Don't know if that's worth mentioning.

I think it should be given a separate article. Charles Essie (talk) 00:09, 27 October 2013 (UTC)

TV Show Error[edit]

There are more than 6 episodes. Episode list for "Dirty Dozen: The Series"

The True Story???[edit]

In the book EM Nathanson states that he heard of such units in existance.

While the story may be based on the "Filthy Thirteen": a small group of airborn demolision experts whose story was documented by this book (see, I did hear from a war veteran who served in the Marine Corps that there really were units of convict soldiers who were sent on dangerous missions. These missions tended to be so secret that even after the war they were not talked about. Furthermore, since most of those involved were killed few lived to talk about it.

Can someone verify this? I looked for reliable sources but came up with nothing.


Can't add anything to your question, but Nathanson put the "he heard of" statement in the novel as a prelude to the story...not to indicate that it had any truth.--Buckboard 10:32, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

And it says "I have heard a legend that there might have been men like them, but nowhere in the archives of the United States Government, or in its military history did I find it recorded." —Centrxtalk • 00:18, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
It reminds me a bit of events surrounding the formation of the Special Air Service... It's a good read if you like those old yarns; Paddy Mayne saved from a court-marshall by founder David Stirling, hand-picked men, operational deniability. But apart from those parallels it was more obviously people in whose countries the war was actually happening who fought in small groups. There were many 'Dirty Dozens' (from partisans to commandos), but unhelpfully for the task of tracing an American lineage for this film (and similar films), they were Europeans rather than Americans. It strikes me as an example of one of those unwitting cultural translations (which is my interest); making movies about what one saw, rather than what one did. Hakluyt bean (talk) 20:24, 9 July 2008 (UTC)


Today was the first I'd heard about it, but apparently the movie's being remade:

Dark Horizons

-- MyrddinEmrys 05:27, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

And the US has yet again managed to enter a never-ending war on unclear grounds. Doesn't seem coincidental. 惑乱 分からん * \)/ (\ (< \) (2 /) /)/ * (talk) 18:42, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

sinatra responsible for trini's abrupt demise?[edit]

Can anyone verify this story I heard years ago: Sammy Davis was on tour with Frank Sinatra, injured himself, and Sinatra had Lopez' charater killed off so that Lopez could replace Sammy right away on the tour? It's a great story if it's true, but I can't find a citation for it. Anyone else? 07:40, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

The latest DVD release has an interview with Lopez where he does mention being talked into leaving the film to further his singing career. (talk) 22:17, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:200755.1020.A.jpg[edit]

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BetacommandBot (talk) 19:14, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

This movie is just fiction[edit]

This movie is just fiction. Penal battalions weren't used in English or American Army. Red Army really had penal battalions, with great sucessAgre22 (talk) 22:21, 20 September 2009 (UTC)agre22


I did not know the following until I edited See Also: according to IMDB Dirty Dozen was the inspiration for an entire sub-genre/niche of prisoner cum soldier films. Ie Devil's Brigade and Kelly's Heroes along with a host of others. [[1]] This represents a lasting legacy for this film and inclusion would greatly improve the article. I've reverted the See Also for now, let's discuss how to better integrate this legacy into the article. Lionelt (talk) 23:19, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

If there are sources---other than IMDB---a subsection could be created to discuss the film's influence. But, a simple list of titles in the see also section is not illuminating. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 23:37, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Too Late the Hero[edit]

The suggestion that the 1970 film by Aldrich is a sequel to this film is based on one article in Time magazine.

It stated: "Cinema: Jungle Rot". Time. June 8, 1970.,8816,909350,00.html

"War may be getting a bad name, but it still pays at the box office. Ask Director Robert Aldrich. His 1967 movie The Dirty Dozen made millions by drafting a gang of incorrigible convicts into a mission behind enemy lines. Too Late the Hero is a kind of sequel to The Dirty Dozen, based once again on a World War II suicide mission."

The key words here are "a kind of". That clearly does not make it so, especially as this is an editorial in review and therefore pure opinion not categorical fact. The suggestion that Too Late the Hero is a sequel to The Dirty Dozen is a purely a version of WP:OR and not based on any reliable quote or source pertaining directly to the director Robert Aldrich. The allusion to the Dirty Dozen therefore should be changed to state that this is opinion and not actual fact.


I have removed the characters section as unsourced, original research, and repetition of elements of the plot and cast sections. Why would we need a "characters" section separate from the "cast"? If someone has a good explanation for that, I would like to hear it. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 22:09, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

(Here's why a "Characters" section would be good: a list showing how each character died in the movie. I've tried several times to see all 11 convict deaths but always get confused. Perhaps it could just be another column in the Cast Table.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:36, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
Not all deaths are shown on screen: Jiminez (killed in the parachute drop), Posey (presumably killed the same time as Bravos by the armoured car), Gilpin (killed on the roof when he blows up the mast).

There is a problem with the formatting of the cast section. Someone with a better grasp of html should fix it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Alexjamesrich (talkcontribs) 16:13, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

Well we hardly do see that Gilpin is killed, I don't know what happens afterwards and Gilpin however is likely MIA because his body wasn't seen killed on screen, as for Posey was never shown killed on screen so to tell you this I don't know exactly what happens to Posey even at the end claims in the credits both he and Gilpin are dead, highly unlikely, Posey maybe taken Prisoner of War or was executed afterwards or maybe saved by Resistance or if so might have asked Reisman to mistaken list him KIA in records, Gilpin well that's another story never seen on screen be killed on the roof but likely if possible taken Prisoner of War it isn't possible he died since however he wasn't nearest to the antenna because if he was closest he would be dead, but he does duck down and I am not shore what happens to Gilpin on screen sorry, as for Posey last seen fighting alongside Bravos only saw Bravos killed but Posey isn't seen on screen killed off. Trooper201 (talk) 09:18, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

Spelling of Names[edit]

• “Glenn Gilpin” versus “Gilpin, S.”? • “Jiminez” or “Jimenez”? JDAWiseman (talk) 19:06, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

Lineage of movie[edit]

"The Charge at Feather River" seems to have inspired "Major Dundee" which seems to have inspired "The Dirty Dozen". (talk) 16:47, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

True to novel?[edit]

It would be interesting to know how closely the film follows the novel. Valetude (talk) 14:54, 13 July 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Moved from article to talk page because it's not relevent[edit]

I've place this here because in some ways it is interesting but at the same time it's trivia. Scripts often condense novel plots for the sheer reason of runtime, expediency and exposition. Maybe it could be added to the novel page (if there is one?) to show how the novel was trimmed for the big screen. It really doesn't add anything more to the understanding of the film.

Differences from the novel

The attack on the French chateau, a set-piece action sequence and the climax of the film, is referenced in past tense in the form of an official army report, using the false document technique. Rather than dressing in U.S. Army fatigues, Reisman, Bowren, and the Dozen parachuted into France with Nazi fatigues and were issued German weapons.

The characters of Milo Vladek and Tassos Bravos were not in the novel. Instead, the novel featured Myron Odell, a sensitive medic who claims to be innocent of raping and mutilating a girl, and Calvin Ezra Smith, an older and religious soldier.

The character of Archer Maggot was in no way a religious fanatic as portrayed on screen, but was a Alabaman gangster who was convicted of rape. Rather than Maggot jeopardizing the mission, it was Odell. After Odell killed a woman in the chateau he loudly announces his guilt, thus exposing the team.

Sawyer had a much larger role in the novel. Sawyer was the only prisoner out of the dozen that had seen combat (these traits were given to Wladislaw in the movie). Sawyer was also the prisoner that imitated a general during the inspection of Colonel Breed's men (this sequence was given to Pinkley in the movie).

Lever was a robber who was caught in a stick-up (these traits were given to Franko in the movie). Gilpin was a drifter from the southwest who specialized in construction and demolitions. Jimenez was a nineteen year old from California who liked the cook.

The African-American prisoner in the novel was named Napoleon White, a former Lieutenant who did not want to fight on anybody's side. Throughout the novel, White and Maggot clashed. Ironically, after White was wounded during the mission, it was Maggot who was assigned to care for him and wait for the invading Allies to arrive.

Posey was an Ute Indian who insisted on letting his hair grow long during the Dozen's training. During the pre-invasion rainfall, Posey did a rain dance (this sequence was written out of the original script). During the mission, Posey applied warpaint onto his face, despite being in Nazi fatigues.

Wladislaw was a jumpy Chicago native with a thick accent. He was taken under White's wing throughout the novel and the two became friends. During the latrine beating, Wladislaw managed to escape, rather than having his fellow prisoners rescuing him.

Reisman was much younger in the novel and was a Captain by the time he was assigned to Project Amnesty. Reisman had a sexual relationship with a British tavern girl by the name of Tess Simmons. The character of Tess Simmons was in the initial script but was written out (citation needed).

In the novel, the majority of the men survived the mission but were listed as Missing in Action. Those who were missing were: Reisman (confirmed wounded), White (confirmed wounded), Pinkley, Sawyer, Posey, Jimenez (confirmed wounded), Maggot and Wladislaw. The rest of the Dirty Dozen was killed in action. Sgt. Clyde Bowren was the only individual that was recovered and confirmed alive. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:53, 3 May 2017 (UTC)