Halls of Montezuma (1950)

Genres - War  |   Sub-Genres - War Drama  |   Release Date - Jan 4, 1951 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 113 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Halls of Montezuma is a cracking good war film. A tribute to the bravery of those who fight the battles on the ground and in the most dangerous of circumstances, Halls is also notable for not being as gung-ho about war as some other similar films from the period are. While there's never any doubt as to the rightness of the cause for which these men are fighting, it isn't all about glory; there's doubt, fear, despair and melancholy to be found among these men. And while the film abounds in period racial epithets, there's even some willingness to admit that the enemy is human as well. Halls has its flaws, including some clich├ęs among its cast of characters and some dialogue that tries far too hard. But Lewis Milestone's muscular yet affecting direction helps pave over the smooth spots, and the battle sequences he and cinematographers Winton Hoch and Harry Jackson concoct are enormously effective. Richard Widmark is aces as the leader with a secret, and everyone else from Jack Palance and Karl Malden to Robert Wagner and Richard Boone turn in solid performances; even Jack Webb is livelier and less wooden than usual. All in all, an exciting film for fans of war movies.