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When Trumpets Fade (1998)

A private in the latter days of WWII on the German front struggles between his will to survive and what his superiors perceive as a battlefield instinct.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Frank-Michael Köbe ...
German Sergeant (as Frank Köbe)
András Stohl ...
Wounded Soldier
Matthew Rutson Cooney ...
Driver Corporal (as Matthew Ruston Cooney)
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Storyline

In WWII Western Germany, Private David Manning reluctantly leaves behind a mortally wounded fellow soldier and searches for survivors from his platoon, only to learn from commanding officer Captain Pritchett that they have all been killed in action. Despite requesting a discharge on the grounds of mental disability, Manning is promoted to sergeant and assigned to lead a new platoon of young inductees. Written by Anonymous

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In the heat of battle not all soldiers can be heroes

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Action | Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for graphic war carnage and strong language | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

27 June 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hurtgen  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There are no female roles or lines spoken by women in the entire film. See more »

Goofs

The map used by the Lt. Col. at the company command post to show the Captain where they are to secure a river crossing on the advance to Schmidt is not standard U.S. Army issue, which were black and white, but a modern color version mounted on cardboard. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator, news footage: August 1944. The outcome of the Second World War appeared to be no longer in doubt. Paris was liberated. After four years of fighting, victory against the Germans seemed assured. Since the Normandy landings, American and Allied forces had battled their way across northern Europe, and pushed the German enemy to within its own homeland.
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Connections

Referenced in Ban the Sadist Videos! (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

White Christmas
Written by Irving Berlin
Performed by Bing Crosby
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User Reviews

 
Not a war epic, and all the better for it
3 October 2001 | by See all my reviews

Due to the fact that the two films came out close together, it is tempting to compare When Trumpets Fade to Saving Private Ryan. This would be a mistake. Unlike Private Ryan, Trumpets is not an epic set to a background of a crucial point in history, like D-Day, nor are the central characters members of an elite unit who are given a "heroic" assignment. Instead, the main character, Manning (Eldard), starts off as a private reluctant to risk his life, but who finds himself promoted and burdened with increasing responsibilities he does not want as his unit suffers horrendous attrition attempting to fight its way into Germany in late 1944. Manning's dilemma both contrasts and parallels that of his company commander, Captain Pritchett (Donovan), who has to balance achieving the objectives he has been assigned and keeping as many of his men alive as he can, and succeeding at neither. The greatest contrast with Private Ryan, however, comes in the form of the replacement troops, all green recruits with no combat experience - a far cry from Captain Miller's seasoned Rangers. Rounding it off is Dwight Yoakam as the nameless battalion commander who is unapologetic about driving his men to the slaughter, but whose face betrays the fact that, as with Captain Pritchett, their deaths weigh heavily upon him. When Trumpets Fade successfully showcases combat at its most gruesome and frustrating as Captain Pritchett's company batters itself to pieces against its target with nothing to show for the effort and bravery of the men except an ever-increasing pile of American corpses. But we get two good looks at the face of a German squad leader, portrayed by Frank-Michael Köbe, and in it we can see the despondency of a man who knows that he is fighting only to postpone the inevitable defeat of his country. A gritty, realistic, and depressing, but nonetheless excellent film.


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