Concept

Battle of the Bulge (1965 film)

Summary
Battle of the Bulge is a 1965 American widescreen epic war film produced in Spain, directed by Ken Annakin and starring Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw, Telly Savalas, Robert Ryan, Dana Andrews and Charles Bronson. The feature was filmed in Ultra Panavision 70 and exhibited in 70 mm Cinerama. Battle of the Bulge had its world premiere on December 16, 1965, the 21st anniversary of the titular battle, at the Pacific Cinerama Dome Theatre in Hollywood, California. The film is a highly fictionalized account of the battle. The filmmakers attempted to condense the Ardennes Counteroffensive, a World War II battle that stretched across parts of Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg and lasted nearly a month, into under three hours, and shot parts of the film on terrain, and in weather, that did not remotely resemble the actual battle conditions. That left them open to criticism for lack of historical accuracy, but they claimed in the end credits that they had "re-organized" the chronological order of events to maximize the dramatic story. Unlike most other World War II epics, Battle of the Bulge contains virtually no portrayals of actual senior Allied leaders, civilian or military. That is presumably because of controversies surrounding the battle, both during the war and afterward. Allied forces ultimately won the battle, but the initial German counteroffensive caught them by surprise and caused many casualties. In December 1944, Military Intelligence officer Lt. Col. Daniel Kiley and his pilot, Joe, are flying a reconnaissance mission over the Ardennes forest that spans easternmost Belgium, northern Luxembourg, and parts of bordering France and Germany. They locate a German staff car and photograph its occupants, buzzing low enough for a close-up to cause its shell-shocked driver to flee the car without stopping its engine. His commanding officer scolds him for wasting petrol, extremely precious to the German war effort. The officer, Col. Hessler, continues on to his new underground base, where General Kohler briefs him on the top secret plan to pierce American lines and recapture Antwerp.
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