The Hill
Drama, War
IMDB rating:
Sidney Lumet
Howard Goorney as Walters
Alfred Lynch as George Stevens
Jack Watson as Jock McGrath
Ian Bannen as Harris
Ian Hendry as Staff Sergeant Williams
Neil McCarthy as Burton
Harry Andrews as R.S.M. Wilson
Norman Bird as Commandant
Roy Kinnear as Monty Bartlett
Ossie Davis as Jacko King
Michael Redgrave as The Medical Officer (as Sir Michael Redgrave)
Sean Connery as Joe Roberts
Storyline: WWII, in a British disciplinary camp located in the Libyan desert. Prisoners are persecuted by Staff Sergeant Williams, who made them climb again and again, under the heavy sun, an artificial hill built right in the middle of the camp. Harris is a more human and compassionate guard, but the chief, S.M. Wilson, refuses to disown his subordinate Williams. One day, five new prisoners arrive. Each of them will deal in a different way with the authority and Williams' ferocity.
Type DVD-rip
Resolution 640x480 px
File Size 775 Mb
Codec mpeg4
Bitrate 917 Kbps
Format avi
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DVD-rip 640x480 px 775 Mb mpeg4 917 Kbps avi Download

Connery and cast are excellent in harrowing prison drama...
Sean Connery proves what a strong actor he is when given meaty assignments, performing with intelligence and restraint as a prisoner (an ex-sergeant major) in a British military camp subject to the sadistic misuse of power by a staff sergeant (Ian Hendry). Connery and his fellow inmates are constantly harassed and forced into cruel disciplinary measures such as climbing up and down a steep hill wearing full gear until they collapse. When one of the prisoners in his cell dies, all of the inmates decide to mutiny--leading to what is a dramatic confrontation between regimental sergeant major (Harry Andrews) and the men when they learn the truth.

Harry Andrews has the juciest role as the man obsessed with running things his way and gives a ferocious performance. Equally impressive are Ian Bannen as a man who tries to bring out the truth about the sadistic guard, Ossie Davis as a black inmate stripped of his dignity, Alfred Lynch as the unfortunate inmate, and particularly Michael Redgrave as the doctor wavering between reporting the harrowing abuse or saving his own neck. Redgrave's uncertainty is beautifully conveyed by his quivering voice and manner--until he decides to stand up for Connery.

Harrowing, unpleasant at times, but with sharply defined characterizations from the all male cast with all of the men seen in equal shades of black and white. Brilliantly photographed in B&W to suggest the harsh climate and dreary settings that give some of the scenes an almost claustrophobic feeling. Not for the squeamish but the more brutal beatings are not done in the blood and gore manner they would have been if filmed today. A very intelligently made film that is somewhat marred by a very abrupt and rather ambiguous ending in which the viewer is left to ponder the ultimate fate of Connery and his cellmates.
A Forgotten Classic
This is one of the few films, of the time, in which Sean Connery doesn't get to mingle with a beach full of beautiful girls, nor does he get to save the world. But what he does is play a superb role in Sidney Lumets interpretation of Ray Rigby's screenplay. The cinematography produces some absolutely stunning black and white film it actually reminds me on 12 Angry Men. The film is about some soldiers at the end of World War 2, their hold up in military stockade. The film also includes some stand out performances from Roy Kinnear, Ossie Davis and Ian Hendry. The film has some really good quality dialogues. But whatever you say Connery takes the film for me with his performance. Just a really great movie and well worth a watch.
Enthralling Psychological Drama But Everything Collapses At The End
I remembered seeing THE HILL a couple of times since childhood and have enjoyed it immensely . It is quiet rightly regarded as Connery's best ever performance as Joe Roberts . There is a train of thought that Connery's star status begins and ends with Bond . This is slightly unfair . One can imagine Connery wanting to do everything he can to escape the Bond mantle which unfortunately led to him appearing in some bizarre film choices over the years . But if anyone thinks Connery is not worth watching in anything apart from a Bond movie this film along with THE OFFENCE also directed by Sidney Lumet and featuring Ian Bannen in a supporting role might change their minds

It's certainly a product of its time . Set in a military prison in North Africa during the war it would have struck a cord with its contemporary audience . National service was abolished in Britain in 1960 which meant any male older than their mid 20s would have recognised the strict military discipline on show . Likewise a middle aged man in his mid 40s would have been a participant in the war . This doesn't necessarily date the film but it does have a rather 1960s zeitgeist to it where social and political barriers were being broken down in Western civilisation . This was after all the decade where people became more and more questioning about every institution on Earth

Where the film does succeed is as an acting tour de force for the entire cast . Everyone is good but the two stand out performances are by Harry Andrews as RSM Wilson who spends the entire film barking out orders which is not a criticism and is to British cinema what Gunnery Sgt Hartman is to American cinema , and yes I know FULL METAL JACKET is often classed as a " British Film " but you know what I mean . The other stand out is Ian Bannen as Sgt Harris a firm but fair NCO who some people on this page would consider being a latent homosexual but this probably reading too much in to his character . It is certainly a multi layered performance

After seeing THE HILL again recently I have noticed where the film doesn't succeed - and it is a very big fault - is that the characterisation often trips itself up especially when it leads to the climax . There's very little incitement for Jock McGrath to side with Roberts especially with the consequences involved . The climax itself becomes over wrought with melodrama where Roberts may or may not be transferred to hospital but everything is written , directed and acted as if the fate of the entire universe is at stake which makes for an implausible and disappointing ending
Spoiler -- the Denouement is Tragic
Between Goldfinger and Thunderball, Sean Connery's depth of soul and need for self-respect may have asked him to take the role of a disgraced Sgt. Major in the Brit army. Not "disgraced" so much as "being true to his own humanity," of course -- with no one aware but himself. The stuff of heroism and the stuff of tragedy. Early on, you can smell the denouement of this one, unless you always need a happy ending and you believe that truth inevitably brings justice. Why it receives only three stars in U.S. ratings is beyond me. Obviously, even some film critics don't like to be set to really, really thinking beyond THE END. And we see those words on screen just at the time the going gets good. The sequel would be something like Paths of Glory where military lawyer Dix (Kirk Douglas) has to defend against really big odds. And by "odds" I suppose I could mean soldiers in charge who live by an outdated and blind code. I first saw this one on late night TV, a long time ago, and was so riveted I forgot to keep drinking beers. I've seen snatches since, and inside me was that feeling of "why put yourself through this again?" I mean, you gotta be just in the right frame of mind to watch something so stark and true. Yesterday, I was, after lunch. And I can't shake the ripples of thought. Same as after reading Bridge Over the River Kwai, but not so much as seeing Bridge On the River Kwai because the highly rated film has to glorify the U.S. brand of anti-military attitude instead of allowing the British to speak for itself. Not that William Holden didn't do great; just that his character wasn't in the book! For heaven's sake, Hollywood, be true to your art! It's a testament to Sir Alec Guiness that he never seemed to complain about that one. Just when you think you're never going to get comic relief in The Hill, Ossie Davis is okayed to let 'er go. If you've been paying attention, you're going to suspect something in the wrap-up -- make 'em laugh and then kick 'em in the guts, says director Lumet. That'll teach 'em. So, wanna think about the human condition in relation to why we have to fight hot wars instead of discuss our differences? Pull a straight backed chair up to this one and be ready.
My number 144 movie
The Hill is my number 144 movie. It deals with a group of soldiers ( including Sean Connery ) that has to go to an army training. The instructor dislikes especially Sean Connery. The movie is very original and the actors are great. I usually do not like black&white-movies, but this movie is an exception ( but it is not the only one ). All in all, I rated this movie 8/10 and I recommend it to fans of serious films. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them.
One of the less popular but brilliant films
Set in North Africa British army camp this is an intense and powerful drama where the most sadistic punishment for prisoners is to climb a hill (which was made by the prisoners) at the heat of the day. A script (Ray Rigby won the prize for best screenplay at Cannes film festival) about the lust of power (the battle between two guards), racism, loyalty, heroism towards the cowards but most of all how it works a moral man made universe based on disturbing honesty and brutal actions. Special mention to the actors for their magnificent performances, especially to Andrews for his sadistic portrait as the guard, Davis as one of the prisoners and most off all to Connery (a short break from Bond role) in his finest performance. One more masterpiece in Lumet's long career (and full of them). Connery's screw at the end "Don't Do It!" give the usual bittersweet end of Lumet's films
Lumet's Brutal Masterpiece
Just finished watching Sidney Lumet's "The Hill" and I'm finding it very hard to type. Quite honestly, I am still shaking from the stunning and sheer horrifying matter that I had just laid eyes upon. This film is a gritty war/prison film that'll take you for one hell of a ride. Some scenes will have you shaking, others will have your heart pumping. Heck! Even as Connery puts it "Even the screws are doing time."

Sidney Lumet has created one of the greatest climactic sequences between the morality of man and the amazing struggle for one's freedom against all odds. Harry Andrews and Ian Hendry are the epitome of terrifying brutality while Ian Bennan is fantastic as the sympathetic other. It is a shame as to why this film is not better known because it really should be. "The Hill" deserved and still deserves so much more recognition.

But as it stands, Sidney Lumet has surprised me with another masterpiece. "The Hill," without a doubt, belongs in the category of 'best films ever made' along with his most well known classic, "12 Angry Men." Everything down to the acting and intense claustrophobia of the setting, makes this an unforgettable experience.

Just watched it again...

The Hill is just more than a great performance from Connery. I believe the entire ensemble deserves a standing ovation. After the first time viewing this film I was utterly shocked why this diamond of diamonds wasn't nommed for any Oscars. This film is a masterpiece. Hands down.
What is an anti-war film?
In reply to another commenter, I find that all war films are either propaganda ("Sands of Iwo Jima"), or more often, anti-war even while depicting a victorious action ("The Thin Red Line", "Saving Private Ryan"). The films don't portray the conflict to depose evil empires like Nazi Germany in an "anti-war" sense, but instead focus on the usually ordinary people drawn into extraordinary circumstances for an ultimate reason that wastes lives and other resources for no productive purpose.

All war films leave me slightly depressed regardless of categorization. My comments regarding "The Hill", for example, refer to the comments of several characters (notably Ossie Davis') whose military experiences are unpleasant and inconsistent with the stated goals of the army he serves.
Taut, mesmerizing film about rebellion and authority
The acting is the strongest part of this film, with excellent performances all around. Sean Connery is amazing as a ruggedly independent , no nonsense Scotsman, who's not going to take abuse from those in authority. Ian Bannen plays a decent guard, who has to get tough with prisoners as part of his job, but whose humanity is never in doubt. Harry Andrews blusters around as the old style English soldier, an intelligent man who knows how to balance harshness with humor, and generally treats everyone fairly.Michael Redgrave as the lax medical officer and Norman Bird as the ineffectual commandant are two other good characters.

The story concerns two power struggles: a group of prisoners newly arrived, and the new Staff officer, a sadistic coward who plays up to his superiors, while secretly undermining them. This all too believable villain is well played by Ian Hendry, whose other power struggle is with Andrews. There is a really powerful moment near the end, when Ian Bannen as the good hearted guard can't stand it any longer, and yells at Andrews that he only thinks he's running things, it's really Hendry who is now effectively in charge. The shocked look on Andrews' face is incredible, as he realizes how Hendry has played him.

The other prisoners are mainly well known British character actors, who all do fine work. Roy Kinnear as the shifty, overweight con man, Jack Watson as the surly brawler ready to fight anyone at the drop of a hat, Alfred Lynch as the frail Stevens, the odd man out among all these tough guys, and Ossie Davis as a West Indian soldier, who has to deal with racial prejudice as well as the generally miserable conditions they all face.

Superb direction, believable settings, fine acting, excellent cinematography, a taut script, all add up to a gritty, absorbing drama that is hard to watch, but worth the effort. This would make an interesting double bill with Tunes of Glory, where John Mills as the tightly wound new commander, battles with old timer hard case Alec Guinness, for control of a peacetime Scottish regiment.
Telling it like it is...
I had all but forgotten just how good this movie really is..I just got the chance to see it again.. Wow... It's gritty, well written and directed and, particularly, well acted. Those tight camera angles, that put you on edge and dialog that is, at times, mind numbing. While it is sometimes hard to sympathize with the prisoners plight, it is not too difficult to despise the way the prison officers carry out their "duties". I doubt this film would have had the same impact if it had been shot in color. The stark black and white strengthens the movie no end. The Hill is by no means a family movie, but if dramatic movies like.. "12 Angry Men", "To kill a Mockingbird" or "Inherit the Wind" are your kind of movies, then this is a must see... lot's of thought provoking dialog and well developed characters. It is not a war movie,as such, but it is definitely is a battle of wills.
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