When Trumpets Fade - war movie

Rambo John J

Distinguished Member
Picked this up from the bargain bin at www.choicesdirect.co.uk for £6 inc free shipping. Turned out to be a really good impulse buy.
Made by HBO, filmed in Hungary and directed by John Hamburger Hill Irvin at the same time as Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line were playing in cinemas, it unfairly ended up straight to video. It's in the same vein as Band of Brothers and contains plenty of scenes of gory action and hammers home the futility of war and the waste of life it adds up to. Stars the guy that played the Black Hawk pilot that got captured in BHD and he puts in a decent performance as a man who just wants to stay alive long enough to go back home in the days leading up to the Battle of the Bulge.

Both the R1 and the R2 discs are full screen (4:3) with quite an aggressive 2.0 surround audio track, but then it appears to be made for TV, although like most HBO productions, they don't scrimp on the bloody violence and use of bad language.
The R2 goes for £10.99 at play and they do the R1 for around £16-17 (I think) although you can import it for far less than that.

For £6 it's definitely worth the money


Standard Member
Might have a look at this. I remember at the time it was favourably compared to Saving Private Ryan. I bought Thin Red Line the other week and wish I hadn't to be honest great battle scenes but Terrance Malick makes up the 3 hours plus running time with tons of arty stuff.

Rambo John J

Distinguished Member
It's definitely got more in common with Hamburger Hill and Band of Brothers than it has with SPR, although the combat sequences get close to that same sort of bloodiness. It doesn't have the treacle that Spieberg poured over SPR though, and the protagonist is a man some might call a coward, so it's not running along conventional story/hero lines. I thought it was far more grounded in reality than SPR although the battle scenes don't have the same kind of scale. It's kind of like the episode from Band of Brothers that centred on the medic (Eugene?) - same kind of environment and situations. Given that it costs less than the price of a 4 pack of decent lager, you can't go wrong if you like war movies.

I like The Thin Red Line myself, but I can see exactly why loads of folks don't. To be honest, if I'd seen it a few years ago I probably wouldn't have sat through to the end, it's just that it turned out to be something I didn't expect but in a good way, rather than the experience you had.


Well-known Member
I bought this after seeing it on Sky Movies last year.

Good story, good performances, and some authentic hardware (or at least cuningly replicated, such as the German 88mm guns).

One of Irvins better movies.

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