Pork Chop Hill (1959)

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A company of American soldiers stationed in Korea suffer terrible losses when ordered to take a strategically unimportant hill from Chinese forces.

Pork Chop Hill was directed by Lewis Milestone who was no stranger to the genre having directed the classic All Quiet On The Western Front and here he pretty much invented the modern war movie. Influencing everything from Zulu to Black Hawk Down, its power is in its gritty realism and unrelenting depiction of terrifying and seemingly meaningless violence. It was based upon real accounts and written by a veteran soldier which gives it a real authenticity and is very unsentimental in its representation of the soldier on the ground, avoiding the usual soap opera back stories of the central characters. Instead it jumps straight into the action and virtually the entire film is set in the blood-soaked trenches. Woody Strode’s sole dissenter adds a mild sociopolitical element which was expanded on to great effect in the Vietnam-based remake Hamburger Hill and solid performances all round make for a quality war film.

Pork Chop Hill won’t change the mind of anyone who dislikes the genre but it may be a potential favourite of those who do.

7/10

 

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