The Dirty Dozen

Synopsis: A Major with an attitude problem and a history of getting things done is told to interview military prisoners with death sentences or long terms for a dangerous mission; To parachute behind enemy lines and cause havoc for the German Generals at a rest house on the eve of D-Day.
Genre: Action, Adventure, War
Director(s): Robert Aldrich
Production: MGM
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 8 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
150 min

Come on! Knock it off.

Knock it off!

Gardner, keep telling them

you're innocent.

Don't let them see you're afraid, kid!

lt'll be all right, son.

I didn't wanna do it, sir.

I didn't mean it. I'm sorry!

I didn't. . . . Sir? Sir?

It won't happen again, sir.

I didn't want. . . .

I didn't. . . .

Private Arthur James Gardner. . .

. . .you've been found guilty

as charged for the crime of murder.

Your case has been appealed

three times. . .

. . .and reviewed three times.

The verdict of each court-martial

has been the same:

Guilty as charged.

Do you have anything to say before

sentence is carried out?

I didn't mean it.

l-- I'm sorry.

I didn't mean to.

I'm sorry.

Open it up.

Enjoy the show, major?

I want to see Major Armbruster.

-Just down the corridor--

-Yeah, I know where it is. I know.

John. Good to see you.

Don't you give me that. We had

dinner last night together, remember?

Be nice. Take it easy.

This time it's serious, John.

You've gotta cooperate.

Let's go.


General is waiting, major.

Major Reisman, sir.

Sit down, gentlemen. Sit down.

-Sit down, major.

-Thank you, sir.

Well, major, what did you think

of the hanging?

Looked very efficient.

Then again, I'm not an expert.

I meant, how did you

personally feel about it?

It wasn't the nicest way

to spend an evening.

Well, it wasn't staged

for your entertainment, you know.

I hope Private Gardner

was aware of that.

-Private who?

-Private Gardner.

He was the object of the exercise.

There happens to have

been a reason, major.

I've got your service record here, major.

A lot of fireworks. A lot of transfers.

One tough scrape after another,

very short on discipline.

Very short on discipline.

I hear you did a pretty good job in Italy.

Then you loused it up by exceeding your

orders. And that's not the first time.

-I didn't write those reports, sir.

-What is that supposed to mean?

I don't necessarily agree

with what's in them.

-Maybe you'd like to write your own?

-No, thank you, sir.

I'm not very interested in embroidery,

only results.

Now, you hold it right there.

This war was not started

for your private gratification.

And you can be damn sure

that this Army. . .

. . .isn't being run for your

personal convenience, either.

You've been waiting for a transfer

for over two months now.

With a record like yours,

you could go on waiting forever.

However, I get orders too.

And right now I've got some. . .

. . .that sound as if they were made

for somebody just like you.

Personally, I don't go for this

behind-the-lines nonsense.

As far as I'm concerned, a soldier's job

is to wear his uniform and kill the enemy.

But that's another matter.

I'm gonna ask General Denton

to read these orders. . .

. . .just as they came down to us.

After, if you have any questions, ask.


-Yes, sir.


"Project Amnesty:

You will select 12 prisoners

sentenced to death. . .

. . .or long-term imprisonment for murder,

rape, robbery or other violent crimes.

Train these prisoners in as much of the

behind-the-lines operations. . .

. . .as they can absorb in a brief

but unspecified time.

You'll then deliver them secretly

to Europe and prior to the invasion. . .

. . .attack and destroy the target

Overleaf. "

-That's all?

-That's all.

What about the target specified,


Doesn't concern you now.

Well, what do you say, major?

I'd say it confirms a suspicion

I've had for some time now, sir.

Do you think we might share

that suspicion, major?

I think you should.

Since I'll have to assume we're

over here to win the war. . .

. . .it wouldn't pay to advertise. . .

. . .that one man we're working for

is a raving lunatic.

Now, that's enough, major. You're here

to be briefed on an operation.

You have permission to ask questions

about that operation.

You do not have permission

to make personal comments. . .

. . .concerning the officers

responsible for its conception.

-Now, is that clear?

-Yes, sir.

Ask relevant questions or shut up.

Is it relevant to ask why I'm being

offered this mission?

It's not, as you say, being offered.

I'm volunteering.

Exactly, major.

I'm glad you look at these things

so realistically.

I don't mean to appear unduly cautious,

but if my personal survival. . .

. . .depends on the performance

of 12 deadheads. . .

. . .it might be helpful to know exactly

what I'm training them for.

Now, that's a very good question, major.

-Armbruster, let's have the basic outline.

-Yes, sir.

"The Germans are using a large chateau

near Rennes in Brittany. . .

. . .as a rest center and a conference

place for general staff officers. "

The target has no real

military value itself. . .

. . .but with these conferences, discussion

groups and the like going on. . .

. . .there's hardly a day when

there aren't a considerable number. . .

. . .of important general officers

in residence.

Usually with the benefit

of female companionship.

"Eliminating a number of senior

officers couldn't but have the effect. . .

. . .of disrupting

their chain of command. "

The idea is simply that our men

are dropped by parachute.

They enter the chateau and kill

as many senior officers as is possible. . .

. . .in the time available.

Naturally, the place is fortified

and heavily guarded.


What's the deal with the men?

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Nunnally Johnson

Nunnally Hunter Johnson was an American filmmaker who wrote, produced, and directed motion pictures. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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