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Film / A Walk in the Sun

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A Walk in the Sun (1945) is a World War II drama, following a platoon landing in Italy with their commanding lieutenant dead on arrival. Their one objective is to reach a farm house located seven miles away. During the walk, the men are faced with the realities of war: death, fighting, and the long, long periods of waiting for something to happen.

The film was directed by Lewis Milestone, famous for his other war film, All Quiet on the Western Front. This film stars Dana Andrews, Richard Conte, George Tyne, John Ireland, and Sterling Holloway.

This film was chosen by the National Film Registry in 2016, which seeks films that are "culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant."


  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: The whole film is built on this. There’s a lot of talking and waiting, and then surprising moments of action, being rather realistic in its portrayal of war.
  • Arc Words: "Nobody dies."
  • Anyone Can Die: Several characters that we grow fond of are either killed off or injured severely.
  • Bitter Sweet Ending: The men reach their objective but with heavy casualties.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Most in the platoon are saddened by the death of their fellow soldiers, but generally show indifference, showing how broken they've become.
  • Crapsack World: It’s World War II, what did you expect? Specifically, losing your friends and waiting around for action are the worst of all.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Everyone has their moments, but Private Rivera is the snarkiest of them all.
  • During the War: The film takes place during the Italian campaign.
  • The Eeyore: Private Archimbeau gripes constantly (right up to his Last Words) that they're stuck in a Forever War and will be fighting all the way to Tibet.
  • Forever War: The Eeyore keeps repeating that they’ll continue fighting into…1956 in Tibet.
  • Idiot Ball: In one instance McWilliams (Holloway) decides to watch shells going off instead of staying in his foxhole, and Sgt. Bill Tyne (Andrews) lets him. He's then killed by a German plane.
  • Pin-Pulling Teeth: Done during the climax.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: When the men meet two Italians soldiers, they need one of the Americans with Italian heritage to translate for them.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: The film is made up mostly these types of conversations to make seem as naturalistic as possible. Here's a sample of the type of dialogue:
    Sgt. Ward: Apples.
    Windy: What'd you say, Sergeant?
    Sgt. Ward: Guess I said 'apples.'
    Windy: Why?
    Sgt. Ward: Just thinkin' of 'em.
    Windy: Oh.
    Riddle: What kind of apples, sergeant?
    Sgt. Ward: All kinds. Baldwnis, McIntosh, Reds, Pippins, Russets... I was thinkin' I'd like to be cuttin' one open, right now. And lickin' that juice off the knife.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Although not a veteran quite yet, the commanding Sgt. Porter goes into PTSD mode when he’s seen one too many battles. He just completely breaks down into uncontrollable sobs. That's when Sgt. Tyne has to command the troops.
    • It's a very touching moment as well since the men don't get angry at Porter; they understand he's gone through a lot.
    Windy: [looking at Sergeant Porter, sobbing face down on the ground] Keep crying, Porter. You're crying because you're wounded. You don't have to be bleeding to be wounded; you just had one battle too many. Yeah, you're out of it now. No more guesswork, waiting and wondering, for you. You've built yourself a foxhole [tabs his helmet]] up there. Nothing in the world that can make you come out of it. Go ahead, Porter; keep crying - we understand.
  • Storming the Beaches: How the troops reach Italy.
  • Unusual Euphemism: The characters often used the word “loving” to replace a four-letter word that wouldn’t fly during The Hays Code.
  • War Is Hell: And it’s boring, exhilarating, frightening, and everything in between.
  • What Happened to the Mouse??: The mounted patrol halfway through the movie. A motorcycle and a jeep pull up and offer to do some recon on the farmhouse but never come back. Sergeant Porter insists something happened to them, and blaming himself for their deaths likely contributed to his mental breakdown, but it is never expanded upon. Considering the armored vehicles on the road, and the Weapons at the farmhouse, it is likely he was right and they were killed.
  • You Are in Command Now: Deconstructed and then reconstructed. The platoon keeps losing commanders which puts in serious doubt whether the soldiers can fulfill their mission. The lieutenant and platoon sergeant are killed early on and the next senior sergeant is wounded soon after which leaves the shaky Sgt. Porter in command. His inexperience gets some of the men killed and he gets progressively worse with Sgt. Tyne having to step in to compensate for Porter's poor decisions. The pressure finally gets too much and Porter has a nervous breakdown that leaves Thyne in command. By the end it looks like Thyne will also break but he has the good sense to consult with the other NCOs and together they come up with a plan that will hopefully let them complete their mission without getting everyone killed.