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The Young Lions

7.22 h 47 min1958NR
The destiny of two soldiers during World War II. The German officer Christian approves less and less of the war, while the American GI Ackerman climbs the military hierarchy.
Edward Dmytryk
Marlon BrandoMontgomery CliftDean Martin
English [CC]
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20th Century Fox
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4.5 out of 5 stars

365 global ratings

  1. 65% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 19% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 13% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

MarigoldReviewed in the United States on February 9, 2019
1.0 out of 5 stars
Awful; no resemblence to the book
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One of the worst, stupidest, movies I ever saw in my life.
God awful. Brando's acting was clumsy and painful to watch; his awful German accent was annoying but, mainly, he was totally one-dimensional and stumbled along like a dunce.
Montgomery Clift's portrayal of the young Jew, Noah, was as someone on the autistic spectrum ----with no disrespect to those who actually are autistic---- but Clift's Noah did not match the Noah in the book. Clift acted like he was drugged or stoned.
Dean Martin. What a ridiculous case of miscasting plus his acting is crazy bad. At one point he is "patrolling" behind enemy lines like it is a stroll in the park. The only thing missing is a cigarette and a glass of scotch. I half expected him to break into a Brat Pack song and dance routine.
The movie does not adhere to the book.....i.e., in the book Christian is a depraved German officer who jumps into a menage a trois with his ranking officer's wife and does so with alacrity. In the movie, Christian appears somewhat taken aback by the behavior of the promiscuous wife and is seduced rather reluctantly.
None of the characters are particularly compelling in either the book or the movie.
Another reason why I prefer non-fiction to fiction. Fiction is boring in comparison to the truth.
11 people found this helpful
gobirds2Reviewed in the United States on March 3, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
Epic on a Personal Level
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THE YOUNG LIONS directed by Edward Dmytryk is an epic focusing on the personal lives of 3 men, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift and Dean Martin, affected by WWII. It is based upon the 1948 novel by Irwin Shaw. Marlon Brando as Christian Diestl is a disillusioned Nazi officer. Dean Martin as Michael Whiteacre who is famous in the American entertainment world, but decides to enlist. Montgomery Clift is Noah Ackerman a Jewish-American soldier who has to literally fight to overcome the racism in his Army unit. The three finally come together in the film's final moments and that is one of the ironies of war. Hugo Friedhofer's (THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL, NEVER SO FEW, THE YOUNG LIONS) score is once again is on target as are all of his WWII films. I thought Montgomery Clift's story was tough to watch at times and was reminiscent of his role in FROM HERE TO ETERNITY in some respects. Brando once again gives a brooding thought provoking performance of an anti-Nazi officer who hates everything his uniform represents. I thought Dean Martin gave a very good performance as he seemed like "every man" using common sense and reason and somebody who just had to get the job done.
13 people found this helpful
Paul MorelReviewed in the United States on May 27, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
One of Brando's best, Dean Martin and Montgomery Clift unbelievable!!
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The novel The Young Lions on which this film was based is not nearly as interesting as this nearly 3 hour film. The novel lacks the visceral reactions of each of the characters to his sudden draft into WWII.
Clift is brilliant as the Jewish guy willing to go and fight the Nazis, even after the anti-Semitic violence he receives at the hands of his mates in basic training. These USA actions tie in with the Nazi persecutions, making the point that Antisemitism breeds a kind of non-stop hatred in those who embrace it. Clift's homelessness, no parents etc., no address, no city, defines the 20th century wandering Jew looking for a place to sojourn. Hope Lange, in her best performance on screen after "Peyton Place," is Clift's centering point.

Martin is all show biz and cynical about war and camaraderie. He has love but distrusts it as much as Clift does the morality of non Jewish humanity.

Brando is German, brain washed but may possibly change. His encounters with Rush, Mai Britt especially are not to be missed. he and Max Schell together are mesmerizing. Brando's stares, his gazes out on the city of Paris. His anger, red hot acting all the way.

Comparisons to the novel are useless. the novel never reaches these levels of dialogue and subsequent interpretation. The film is long so it lingers over many issues. Don't miss it.
13 people found this helpful
Desert RatReviewed in the United States on November 22, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
4-stars for the story. Cast a little iffy.
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The story that was told and the way it was told was quite good. My problem was with the cast.

Brando with bleached hair was totally unbelievable as a German. Brando mumbles his lines in typical Brando style. I've lived in German and have never heard a German mumble; not when speaking german or english. It just doesn't happen.

Martin actually did better but I kept expecting him to break i n to Volaré at any moment.

I don't usually care for Clift but he was just right for this part.
R. S. KernReviewed in the United States on January 15, 2017
4.0 out of 5 stars
Absorbing WWII Film
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BlueRay review: Long and absorbing study of three soldiers and a great storyline to hook you right along. Gorgeous B&W photography snaps with crispness but is not overly processed for the BluRay version; it looks like you are watching a brilliantly lensed motion picture of importance. The detail in uniforms, weapons and of course the City of Paris in wartime is beautifully rendered. An absorbing storyline of how these men converge during various battles and dramatic incidents throughout their war time lives is told with some great performances by Brando and Dean Martin. A super purchase we had to think about before buying -- $29 is not cheap -- but I think I'll be watching this Blu-ray many times over.
4 people found this helpful
F.HoffmanReviewed in the United States on November 21, 2013
4.0 out of 5 stars
Fine Movie, Great Book
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I finished the book a month ago, and saw the movie a week ago, so these notes are only as accurate as my memory. Also, I believe I have avoided spoilers in these comments. I enjoyed the movie, but I wholeheartedly encourage you to read the book, as they differ in significant ways. The struggles within the characters are more important and engrossing than the combat which can be translated to film. Many… if not most… of the general locations and events in the book are shown onscreen, but much more happens in each of these places than the film depicts. Michael's time in England and that prior to reuniting with Noah in France was minimal in the movie, but is significant in the book as the authors wartime experience mirrors closest that of this character. In the book I was surprised to find out (and this is accurate) that from Dover you can see trucks on the french shoreline road, and that artillery in France can easily pound that part of costal England. If you see the film first, be aware that the book is much darker and morally less clean. I understand why the scriptwriters changed what they did, but it does detract from the brutal truthfulness of the book. Even the ending is changed in minimal but very, very significant ways. I was glad to see that my favorite part of the book, Cpt Green's "I will tell you what I will guarantee" speech, made it into the movie, but even that is more poignant in the book where the complainant is not the local mayor, but a representative of fellow camp inmates. In the book, when Christian is riding the motorcycle in the desert with Captain Hardenberg, it is Cpt Hardenberg who is driving and fully in charge of the developing situation, but I guess in the movie, Marlin Brando could not be seen as just being along for the ride… especially having filmed The Wild One just five years before. Anti-Semitism in the Army is only hinted at in the movie, but is absolutely central to Noah's stateside experience in the book; his barracks window is not dirty by accident. The movie was a good experience, but for a life-changing experience, read the book.
Harry BrewerReviewed in the United States on June 10, 2009
3.0 out of 5 stars
The Young Lions
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The Young Lions was based on the Irwin Shaw novel of the same name BUT the novel & the film are NOT the same. The Young Lions has an exceptional cast that stars Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift & Dean Martin. The supporting cast includes Hope Lange, May Britt & Barbara Rush as the love interests. In lesser roles the cast includes some people that were familiar: Maximilian Schell, Lee Van Cleef, Parley Baer, Arthur Franz, L.Q. Jones, John Banner & Vaughn Taylor.

Unfortunately, the film does NOT equal the star power. The film occurs mostly during WWII but it's not really a war film. It's more about personal relationships during a very trying time. There are some action sequences but not many.

It's the character of Christian Diestl (Marlon Brando) that's changed the most from the novel. The film presents as a loyal German, a nationalist, who becomes disillusioned due to the war. He's idealistic & sympathetic but by the end he realizes he has compromised his values. The casting of Brando led to the change in character of Diestl; Brando is good in the role but he's reserved in his character though there are occasional emotional outbreaks.

Noah Ackerman (Montgomery Clift) is a Jewish American who's shy & idealistic. Upon joining the Army he finds himself a victim of prejudice from his own countrymen. Clift, much like Brando, became a major star in his first film role. Brando in his first film, The Men (1950) received top billing. Clift's first film, Red River (1948), received second billing due to the fact it starred John Wayne. It was with his second film, The Search (1948), that he would receive top billing.

Michael Whiteacre (Dean Martin) is an American entertainer on the verge of stardom. He's an unwilling participant & tries to avoid the draft, he even admits to being a coward. In contrast to Brando & Clift, Martin wasn't considered a great actor though he had more experience in film. He was already a veteran of 17 films as a co-headliner or very close. I say 17 films that doesn't include cameos. I'm not sure if Some Came Running was before or after The Young Lions (I'm going with after) so this film was most likely his first role that was non-comedic. It is my impression that Martin held his own against the two giants of acting that he co-starred with in this film.

The film is 167 minutes & much too long. It's essentially two different story lines; one with Brando & the other with Clift & Martin. None of the three participants are in a scene together except for one of the final ones but there isn't any dialog between them. I know this film received major accolades in its day but as you can tell from the reviews there are a lot of differences in opinion. It was nominated for 3 Academy Awards (Best B & W Cinematography, Best Drama or Comedy Score & Best Sound) but didn't take any of them home. Edward Dmytryk was nominated for Best Director by the Directors Guild of America but didn't win it.

The audio & video are in excellent shape &, except for trailers, there aren't any real bonus features.
3 people found this helpful
Erick Michael GriffinReviewed in the United States on February 10, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
Brando is classic
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A strange role for Brando, playing the idealistic German. An interesting plot where each of the respective role players has a flaw that gets exercised during the movie. Brando, the German's is of course "love of the fatherland, honor, obedience" and the naive precept that the political movement at the time had some good in it. You can see how it torments Brando, he has glimmers of doubt before dealing with his superiors, but comes face to face with his country's atrocities later and cannot reconcile them. An ending that one can perhaps predict, but all the more poignant when placed along the haphazard way it and he were dealt with. Long, but you really get to know the characters that way...enjoy.
One person found this helpful
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