Have you ever wondered what strategy you can employ to build a team and keep it united?
How to convince a group of people, even quite different from each other, to work as one?
In 1944, on the eve of the Normandy invasion by Allied troops, the U.S. Army high command assigned Major John Reisman to blow up a chateau, located in Nazi-occupied France, in which high-ranking German officers used to gather.
The French site represents a strategic target, and the mission involves a huge risk of failure. Therefore, Major Reisman will rely on a dozen people who have nothing to lose because they have already been sentenced to death or life imprisonment; people who are left with no choice but to complete their sentences or face death in the assault on the castle: yet those who manage to survive will have their sentences overturned and will be able to return to life as free men.
Supported by Sergeant Bowren, the major approaches with toughness and energy the task of turning a handful of criminals into a group that is cohesive and determined to achieve their goal.
In the meantime, I can tell you that the director approaches the story without any indulgence in easy sentimentality and by skilfully dosing action, dialogue, irony, humour; and above all, without suggesting sympathy for the higher cause that justifies the sacrifice of human lives that no longer have, for society, any value.
Is that all there is to it?
No, there is more: but first the trailer, then read on.
The film is indeed insightful when looked at from a team-building perspective: here we witness the work of the major, assisted by the sergeant, who adapts the communication with each member of the “dirty dozen,” and with the whole group, to find the drivers to bring out the motivation for acting as one.
What emerges, throughout the film, is that what drives them is no longer just the prize of freedom, or the desire to rid the world of Nazi criminals; what drives them to act is working together, as a group, for a common goal.
In short, if you want to see a splendid example of group-building, all you have to do is sit back comfortably and enjoy the film!
Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, John Cassavetes, Tom Busby, Ben Carruthers, Stuart Cooper, Richard Jaeckel, George Kennedy