The Dirty Dozen (1967) (NTSC)

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Released 29-Jul-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Operation Dirty Dozen
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1967
Running Time 149:35
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (73:42) Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 1,4 Directed By Robert Aldrich

Warner Home Video
Starring Lee Marvin
Ernest Borgnine
Charles Bronson
Jim Brown
John Cassavetes
Richard Jaeckel
George Kennedy
Trini Lopez
Ralph Meeker
Robert Ryan
Telly Savalas
Clint Walker
Robert Webber
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music None Given

Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.00:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The Dirty Dozen is a classic man's movie! A very blokey, testosterone soaked salute to courage, determination, and true grit. It's a shame that after this interminably long wait for its arrival on DVD that what we get is sub-par in regards to the DVD's quality.

    Along with The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape, The Dirty Dozen remains one of my favourite movies growing up. Whenever any of these three movies were on television, I would sit transfixed, soaking up the attitude and swagger of the central, tough-as-nails characters. Of all of them, The Dirty Dozen stands out as an uncompromising, right-wing hymn to rugged individualism and strength.

    The Dirty Dozen is based on the novel by E.M. Nathanson. Set in 1944, during World War II, the US Army has launched (a fictional) Project Amnesty. Major Reisman (Lee Marvin), the "most ill-mannered, and ill-disciplined officer" in the US Army is a tough straight-talker, and only interested in results. He is reluctantly recruited to train and lead twelve US soldiers on a daring mission behind enemy lines.

    The twelve men are imprisoned US soldiers, five of whom find themselves on death row. The twelve are described as being "the most twisted, anti-social bunch of psychopathic deformities". They all harbour a grudge against the US Army and against authority generally. Reisman must lead this Dirty Dozen on a suicidal attack on a large chateau in Rennes in Brittany, a relaxation and conference centre for senior German Army Officers. The Dirty Dozen's objective is to kill as many German Officers as possible, the day before D-Day, in order to help disrupt the German chain of command prior to the Allied invasion.

    This quintessential ensemble action flick boasts an all star line-up, which includes the legendary Lee Marvin (the gravel-voiced, genuine WWII veteran), plus Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, John Cassavettes, Richard Jaeckel, George Kennedy, Trini Lopez, Ralph Meeker, Robert Ryan, Telly Savalas, and Donald Sutherland.

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Transfer Quality


    The grainy image is disappointing, and limited by both the aged source material, and the poor NTSC non-16x9 enhanced transfer.

    The NTSC transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and it is NOT 16x9 enhanced. While it is great to finally see this movie in widescreen, the non 16x9 enhanced image is disappointing.

    The image is often soft, and the shadow detail is lacking. For example, consider the complete lack of detail in the scene in the gaol cell at 20:27. There are also problems with the colour. While being NTSC doesn't help, the aged print now appears quite harsh, and swimming in film grain. The skin tones have a burnt orange appearance, and whites appear yellowish.

    There are no overwhelming problem with MPEG artefacts, but some background walls did appear a little 'blocky'. Film-to-video artefacts appear as a slight shimmer on some objects. Film artefacts appear throughout, and include just about every artefact known to man, ranging from small and large flecks to dust, hairs, scratches, and even the original reel change markings. There is also some edge enhancement present.

    There are English, French, and Spanish subtitles present, and the English ones are accurate. This is a dual layered disc, with the layer change placed at 73:42.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are two audio options on this DVD: English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), and French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

    The dialogue quality and audio sync are acceptable.

    The musical score contains a lot of percussive, marshal music, and there are a few songs which are credited to De Vol.

    The surround flag is set in the English Dolby Digital Stereo audio track, but there is almost nothing of value which emanates from the rears or the subwoofer. Relying heavily on just the centre speaker, the sound stage is flat and compressed. As an action flick, with plenty of battle scenes and explosions (and as the winner of the Academy Award for Best Sound Effects Editing), this movie really would have benefited from being remixed into 5.1, and this DVD release represents a lost opportunity.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are a couple of extras.


    Very simple menu.


    Entitled "Behind The Scenes-Operation Dirty Dozen", and running for just over nine minutes, this is an original piece of marketing fluff designed to be played in cinemas in 1967. It promotes the movie with a few behind-the-scenes clips, and is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.


    The original movie trailer presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, non 16x9 enhanced, with the original mono audio.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The R1 and R4 releases are identical, right down to the FBI copyright warning.


   Well written, well acted, well directed, and well made, there are many reasons to love The Dirty Dozen. I sincerely hope that like the Special Edition of The Great Escape, which is reviewed here, this movie will one day get the digitally remastered Special Edition treatment, with 5.1 audio and a clean, 16x9 enhanced widescreen image, that it so richly deserves.

    The video quality is disappointing.

    The audio quality is very limited.

    There are a couple of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Saturday, January 03, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

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