Over the years, The Dirty Dozen has taken its place alongside that other commercial classic, The Magnificent Seven. The violence which liberal critics found so offensive has survived intact. Aldrich sets up dispensable characters with no past and no future, as Marvin reprieves a bunch of death row prisoners, forges them into a tough fighting unit, and leads them on a suicide mission into Nazi France. Apart from the values of team spirit, cudgeled by Marvin into his dropout group, Aldrich appears to be against everything: anti-military, anti-Establishment, anti-women, anti-religion, anti-culture, anti-life ('We got enough here to blow up the whole world'). Overriding such nihilism is the super-crudity of Aldrich's energy and his humour, sufficiently cynical to suggest that the whole thing is a game anyway, a spectacle that demands an audience. (The Mean Machine offers the reverse: American football as total war). The then-unknown Donald Sutherland's moronic performance is a treat.
Cast and crew