Small squad must hold off German attack.
After trying to run down a colonel with his jeep, the surly Reese is busted down to Private and transferred to a ragtag platoon stationed in France near the Siegfried Line. The platoon is led by no-nonsense Sgt. Bill Pike (Parker) and his second-in-command, Sgt. Larkin (Guardino). Bobby plays wisecracking Pvt. Dave Corby, the supply chief with a knack for gelling anything that's needed (for a price, of course). Homer (Nick Adams) is a displaced Pole rescued by the platoon who only wants to help crush the hated Germans. Henshaw (James Coburn) is the platoon mechanic who can fix anything and
Cumberly (Bill Mullikin) is the good-natured day dreamer. The platoon thinks they're about to finally be sent home, but the
night Reese arrives they learn they won't be shipping out. Instead, they're ordered to hold the line and stave off a vastly superior German Army within sight distance. The platoon is divided into two groups, with Pike taking most of his men a few miles north—leaving only six weary soldiers under Larkin's command to determine their destiny.
The undermanned platoon gets a much-needed warm body with the entrance of Pfc. James Driscoll (Newhart), a bumbling supply clerk who gets lost while transporting a bunch of typewriters. Henshaw tinkers with Driscoll's jeep, making it backfire continuously to fool the Germans into thinking the Americans have an army of rumbling
tanks. This buys the platoon some time to figure out a plan of attack before they're overrun by the enemy.
Director Don Siegel wasn't known for his character development—he relied on action and violence—but the rest of Hell Is for Heroes gives the actors a chance to stretch just a bit outside of the stereotypical war dramatics.
Source: Bobby Darin: A Life
By Michael Seth Starr