Film / The Last Valley

The Last Valley is a 1971 film directed by James Clavell, starring Michael Caine, Omar Sharif, and a young BRIAN BLESSED, featuring a score by John Barry.

The story is set during the Thirty Years' War, where Omar Sharif plays a teacher trying to survive in war-torn Germany. He witnesses a mercenary company led by Captain Michael Caine sack a village and flees blindly into the wilderness, where he stumbles upon a remote and hidden village. The mercenaries follow him, but as they are about to sack the village, Sharif makes a proposition to the Captain: why not spare the village and wait out the winter? Everybody wins.

The Last Valley contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Divided We Fall: The mercenaries gradually fall to pieces over religious conflict and who gets which village girl.
  • Enemy Mine: The villagers hate the soldiers, and the soldiers basically want to Rape, Pillage, and Burn the whole place, but they both need the site to survive the winter. so they defend it together.
  • Forever War: The Thirty Years' War forms the backdrop to the story.
  • Hired Guns: The merecenaries.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The village priest during the witch-burning.
  • The Fundamentalist: The Catholic village priest, played by Swedish actor Per Oscarsson, comes across as this.
  • The Plague: Omar Sharif stumbles, literally, over a field dead of plague victims. He touches one with his left hand and immediately shoves it into a fire to purge potential infection.
  • Worthy Opponent: The mercenary captain considers the village mayor Gruber to be this.