Jordanna Catron

Written by Jordanna Catron

Modified & Updated: 01 Jun 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Are you a fan of action-packed war movies? If so, then chances are you’ve heard of the classic film, The Dirty Dozen. Released in 1967, this movie has captured the hearts of audiences for over five decades. Directed by Robert Aldrich and based on the novel by E.M. Nathanson, The Dirty Dozen is an epic tale of a group of convicted criminals who are given a chance at redemption by being trained for a dangerous mission during World War II.

In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of The Dirty Dozen and uncover 36 interesting facts about the film that you may not have known. From behind-the-scenes anecdotes to the impact it had on the action genre, get ready to dive deep into the history and legacy of this iconic movie.

Key Takeaways:

  • “The Dirty Dozen” is a classic war film released in 1967, featuring intense action, memorable characters, and thought-provoking themes, making it a beloved favorite among fans of the genre.
  • The movie’s success led to sequels, a TV adaptation, and a lasting impact on pop culture, solidifying its status as a groundbreaking and influential war movie.
Table of Contents

The Dirty Dozen was released in 1967.

Set during World War II, The Dirty Dozen is a war film directed by Robert Aldrich and released in 1967.

The movie is based on a novel.

The Dirty Dozen is based on the novel of the same name written by E. M. Nathanson.

It stars an ensemble cast.

The movie boasts an impressive ensemble cast, including Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, and Jim Brown, among others.

The film was a hit at the box office.

Upon its release, The Dirty Dozen was a commercial success, grossing over $45 million worldwide.

It received four Academy Award nominations.

The movie was nominated for Best Sound Mixing, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Supporting Actor (John Cassavetes).

The Dirty Dozen is known for its intense action sequences.

The film is packed with numerous action-packed scenes, particularly during the training and mission segments.

It was considered controversial at the time.

The Dirty Dozen was criticized for its portrayal of violence and its unconventional approach to war movies.

The movie features memorable one-liners.

Lines like “Killin’ generals could get to be a habit with me” and “I ain’t no officer, I’m a general” have become iconic quotes from the film.

“The Dirty Dozen” refers to a group of twelve convicted criminals.

In the movie, the Dirty Dozen is a group of twelve prisoners chosen for a dangerous mission behind enemy lines.

It combines elements of war, action, and thriller genres.

The Dirty Dozen blends various genres, making it an exciting and unique viewing experience.

The film’s soundtrack features a memorable theme.

Composed by Frank De Vol, the movie’s theme has become synonymous with its intense and dramatic moments.

The Dirty Dozen inspired other films and TV shows.

The movie’s success led to the creation of a TV series and influenced the development of similar ensemble action films.

Lee Marvin won an Academy Award for his performance.

Lee Marvin received an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of Major John Reisman in The Dirty Dozen.

The movie captures the dynamics and conflicts within the Dirty Dozen.

The film delves into the relationships and personal struggles of the twelve convicts as they prepare for their mission.

The Dirty Dozen features a thrilling climactic battle sequence.

The final battle in the film is both intense and suspenseful, showcasing the bravery and resourcefulness of the Dirty Dozen.

The movie remains popular among fans of war films.

The Dirty Dozen has stood the test of time and continues to be beloved by fans of the war film genre.

The film explores the moral ambiguity of war.

The Dirty Dozen raises ethical questions about the nature of war and the use of convicted criminals as soldiers.

The Dirty Dozen was a critical success.

The film was well-received by critics, who praised its performances, direction, and thrilling storyline.

It was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

In 2018, The Dirty Dozen was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected for preservation by the Library of Congress.

The movie explores themes of redemption and sacrifice.

The characters in The Dirty Dozen undergo personal transformations and make sacrifices for the greater good.

The Dirty Dozen was remade as a TV movie in 1988.

A television adaptation of the film aired in 1988, expanding on the story of the Dirty Dozen.

It is considered a classic war film.

The Dirty Dozen has become a timeless classic, known for its gritty portrayal of war and memorable characters.

The movie’s success led to a sequel.

A sequel titled The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission was released in 1985, with Lee Marvin reprising his role.

The film showcases the strength of teamwork and camaraderie.

The Dirty Dozen highlights the importance of unity and cooperation among the soldiers as they carry out their mission.

The movie’s cast went through intense training for their roles.

The actors underwent boot camp-style training to prepare for their roles as tough and disciplined soldiers.

The Dirty Dozen has inspired parodies and references in popular culture.

Numerous films, TV shows, and other forms of media have referenced or parodied The Dirty Dozen, paying homage to its impact on pop culture.

The movie examines the blurred lines between heroes and criminals.

The Dirty Dozen challenges traditional notions of heroism by featuring a group of criminals who are given a chance to redeem themselves.

The Dirty Dozen received positive reviews for its realistic portrayal of military tactics.

The film’s attention to detail and accurate representation of military strategies impressed both critics and military professionals.

The movie showcases the resilience and determination of the Dirty Dozen.

Despite facing numerous challenges, the Dirty Dozen never give up and demonstrate a strong will to succeed.

The Dirty Dozen features intense and suspenseful training sequences.

The training scenes in the film are nail-biting and showcase the brutal preparation the characters undergo.

The Dirty Dozen received multiple award nominations.

In addition to Academy Award nominations, the film also received recognition from other prestigious award ceremonies.

The movie’s success led to the production of a third film.

A third installment titled The Dirty Dozen: The Fatal Mission was released in 1988, further expanding on the adventures of the Dirty Dozen.

The Dirty Dozen remains a favorite among war movie enthusiasts.

The film’s gripping storyline, memorable characters, and intense action make it a perennial favorite among fans of the genre.

The movie emphasizes the importance of loyalty and trust within a team.

The Dirty Dozen highlights the significance of camaraderie and relying on teammates in challenging situations.

The Dirty Dozen has influential cinematography.

The film’s use of cinematography techniques such as close-ups and tracking shots adds to its overall impact and realism.

The Dirty Dozen continues to be recognized as a landmark war film.

The Dirty Dozen’s enduring legacy solidifies its status as a groundbreaking and influential war movie.


In conclusion, The Dirty Dozen is a classic war film that has captivated audiences for decades. With its ensemble cast, gripping storyline, and intense action sequences, it has left an indelible mark in the history of cinema. The movie showcases the bravery and camaraderie of a group of misfit soldiers who are given a second chance to redeem themselves by embarking on a dangerous mission during World War II. The Dirty Dozen is not only a thrilling war film but also a thought-provoking exploration of morality, loyalty, and the value of human life. Whether you’re a fan of war movies or just looking for an unforgettable cinematic experience, The Dirty Dozen is a must-watch.


1. Who directed The Dirty Dozen?

The Dirty Dozen was directed by Robert Aldrich.

2. When was The Dirty Dozen released?

The movie was released in 1967.

3. Who were some of the main cast members?

The main cast included Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, and Jim Brown, among others.

4. Is The Dirty Dozen based on a true story?

The movie is a work of fiction and not based on a specific true story.

5. What is the premise of The Dirty Dozen?

The film follows a group of convicts who are given the chance to participate in a dangerous mission during World War II in exchange for their freedom.

6. What is the significance of the title “The Dirty Dozen”?

The title refers to the twelve convicts who make up the group chosen for the mission. They are considered “dirty” due to their criminal backgrounds.

7. Did The Dirty Dozen receive any awards or nominations?

Yes, the movie received four Academy Award nominations and won Best Sound Effects.

8. Is The Dirty Dozen available for streaming?

Yes, the movie can be streamed on various platforms, including Amazon Prime and Netflix.

9. Are there any sequels or remakes of The Dirty Dozen?

No, there are no official sequels or remakes of The Dirty Dozen.

10. What impact did The Dirty Dozen have on the war movie genre?

The Dirty Dozen is considered a groundbreaking film in the war movie genre, introducing a more complex and morally ambiguous narrative that influenced future films in the genre.

If you enjoyed learning about "The Dirty Dozen," why not explore more fascinating facts about World War II? Discover the gripping story behind another iconic war movie, "Das Boot," or delve into the glamorous world of Elizabeth Taylor in our article on the classic film "Butterfield 8." Each piece offers a unique perspective on history, cinema, and the human experience.

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