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Film / The Victors

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The Victors is a 1963 World War II film written and directed by Carl Foreman. Based on a collection of short stories called The Human Kind by Alexander Baron, it boasts an All-Star Cast including Albert Finney, Peter Fonda, George Hamilton, Jeanne Moreau, George Peppard, Romy Schneider, Elke Sommer, and Eli Wallach.

The film depicts a group of American soldiers led by Sgt. Joe Craig (Wallach) marching around Europe and encountering various women along the way. It follows each of the soldiers and their relationships with these women while showing a strong anti-war message.

Tropes associated with this film include:

  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Trower adopts Craig's catchphrase after he becomes sergeant.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Craig thinks this of Chase.
    Craig: I can't make you out, fella. I coulda sworn you had leadership qualities. You'd have made sergeant in another six months. But you got no sense of responsibility. You just don't give a damn. Why? Why?
    Chase: I dunno. But don't let it worry you, Joe.
  • Catchphrase: Craig likes to call his soldiers "Stupid idiots!"
  • Children Are Cruel: Three Sicilian children rob a dead soldier they find in some ruins.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Filmed in black and white to look like authentic World War II photographs.
  • Downer Ending: Trower picks a fight with a Russian soldier in the street long after the war and they kill each other.
  • Earned Stripes: Trower gets sergeant's stripes after Craig is disfigured in battle.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Sgt. Joe R. Craig gets half his face blasted away and ends up in hospital, blind and bitter.
  • Femme Fatale: The woman Chase meets who tries to get him to stay with her.
  • French Jerk: That one soldier that Joe's unit encounter during the film.
  • Growling Gut: Craig's stomach growls when looking around the French woman's house; he hadn't eaten since six that morning.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Craig has had enough experience in the war that he can sleep through sounds of heavy gunfire.
  • Hollywood Costuming: Some of the women's hair and makeup look more 1960s than 1940s.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Joe Craig may be rough around the edges, but he cares for his soldiers, though he won't admit it. He also shows a kinder, more compassionate side towards Jeanne Moreau's French local.
  • Jump Scare: See Fate Worse than Death above.
  • Nervous Wreck: The French woman whose house is scheduled to be converted into a headquarters.
  • No Name Given: The French woman Craig meets is never named.
  • Mutual Kill: Trower and a Russian soldier kill each other in a knife fight.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Elke Sommer's character is raped by a Russian soldier, causing Trower to try and get revenge.
  • Shoot the Dog: The soldiers do this to a dog that Weaver tries to bring with him on the journey.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The film plays Christmas songs while a soldier gets executed by a firing squad.
    • Earlier, a fight breaks out while a cheerful rendition of "Remember Pearl Harbor" plays on the radio.
  • Stepford Snarker: Craig is very good at hiding his sadness behind a bitter wit.
  • Taking You with Me: Trower takes a Russian soldier with him as he goes down.
  • Title Drop: "The vanquished... and the victors."
  • Two-Faced: The unfortunate fate of Joe Craig.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Craig isn't bad looking, but he's decidedly plain, and the French woman is very much out of his league. While he doesn't marry her, it's implied that they had a fling during the night he spent at her house. Furthermore, it's suggested that he's cheating on another woman.
  • War Is Hell: The whole point of the movie. Carl Foreman called the film a "personal statement" about the futility of war. Both victor and vanquished are losers.