• Directors: William Wellman
  • Producers: Dore Schary, Robert Pirosh
  • Writers: Robert Pirosh
  • Genres: Action, War, Drama
  • Actors: Van Johnson, John Hodiak, Ricardo Montalban, George Murphy

In mid-December 1944, at a rear area camp in France, Jim Layton (Marshall Thompson) and his buddy Hooper (Scotty Beckett), replacement soldiers fresh from the United States, are assigned to separate companies in a battalion of glider infantry in the 101st Airborne Infantry Division. Watching his new platoon drill, and star-struck to be a part of the famous elite outfit, he brushes off his friend’s suggestion to see a movie together. Layton joins his squad just as they are anticipating going on a 3-day pass to Paris after a long campaign in Holland. Holley (Van Johnson) returns from recuperation after being wounded and Layton discovers that as the new man, he is ignored and unwanted.

Instead of going on leave, the squad is rudely awakened early the next morning and trucked back to the front, where the German army has made a surprise break-through by assaulting through the Ardennes. They stop that night in the town of Bastogne, unsure of where they are or what the situation consists of, but happy to be out of the cold. The platoon is put up for the night in the apartment of a local young woman, Denise (Denise Darcel), with whom Holley hopes to fraternize. Their comfort is brief. The next morning, led by Platoon Sgt. Kinnie (James Whitmore), they march to the outskirts and are ordered to dig in. Just as their positions are nearly prepared, they are moved abruptly to a new location and begin digging again.

The closing theme music matches the tempo and tune of the cadence.