Halls Of Montezuma, The Marines attack a strongly held enemy island in the Pacific. We follow them from the beach to a Japanese rocket site through enemy infested jungle as their ex-school teacher leader is transformed into a battle veteran and his squad becomes a tight fighting unit.
Halls Of Montezuma, I first saw “Halls of Montezuma” on television when I was a kid, and even now, I think it is one of the best war films ever made. All of the actors were perfectly cast and each man gives an outstanding performance. Richard Widmark is particularly good in his role as Lt. Anderson, a tough Marine who is respected by his men, but who also has to suppress his own fear with pills. My favorite scene in the film is where the men are in their foxholes at night, listening to the taunts of the Japanese soldiers. Their faces are briefly illuminated by parachute flares floating in the sky as they talk to each other, waiting for the enemy to do something. It’s one of the most realistic scenes I have ever seen in a war film. I think this was one of the first post-WWII films that actually portrayed Japanese soldiers as real human beings, not just simple-minded brutes. You can see some similarities with the combat scenes of “All Quiet on the Western Front”, which Lewis Milestone directed 20 years earlier. Anyone who is interested in WWII films should also check out “A Walk in the Sun”, another excellent war film directed by Milestone. Simply put, “Halls of Montezuma” is an excellent war film that is underrated by most critics. It should not be missed.