Don Siegel's only war film and unfortunately his only teaming with Steve McQueen, an actor whose rebellious persona jibed well with the director's vision, it puts the star in the familiar role of antihero. His character, Reese, is an embittered G.I. who has just been sent back to join his war-weary unit holding down a position opposite a pillbox on the Siegfried Line in Belgium. Recently demoted back to private from staff sergeant for drinking, he chafes under all authority, and is a pariah to fellow grunts, despite their awareness of his extraordinary courage in battle. A natural leader, he persuades his sergeant (Harry Guardino
) to implement a plan he's formulated to keep the Germans at bay by making them believe that the small outfit is larger than it is. While this is temporarily effective, Reese knows that it's only a matter of time before the enemy discovers the truth, and takes it on his own authority to lead an attack on the well-defended pillbox, although his unit has been assigned only to hold their ground.