Combat! (TV Series 1962–1967) Poster


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Televisions Most Un-Appreciated Show
modrock6221 May 2000
"Combat!" was the most realistic, exciting and emotional show in television history. This gem about a squad of soldiers battling it out in WWII after D-Day did not glorify war, though there were lots and lots of actions scenes and firefights, but instead focused on the individual soldier and how he dealt with the war personally and as part of a brotherhood. Terrific writing, superb direction, believable characters and slam band action were the trademarks of this true TV classic. Big name directors and actors lined up to become part of the show which ran for 5 seasons and 152 episodes on ABC and has developed a huge following to this day. The series regulars were superb and believeable. Vic Morrow, Rick Jason, Jack Hogan, Piere Jalbert, Dick Peabody and Conlan Carter all shone on thier own unique ways. The characters of Saunders, Hanley, Kirby, Caje, Littlejohn and Doc have become etched in our minds forever. "Caje, take the point" was a phrase uttered quite often as myself and my childhood friends would act out the episode of Combat! we just watched and now as adults we see the show in all it's glory we may have overlooked as children. My only "complaint" about the show as in any show with recurring characters, we knew our heroes would not perish. We knew they would get the job done because there was another to do next week. As an adult, it lessens the tension a wee bit but who really cares? These are our heroes and we want them to succeed, not die and the characters and actors pull it off so well, it really becomes a mute point. I loved that the Germans actually spoke German. so what if we didn't know what they were saying? Whatever it was, it had to be bad and something that could hurt our beloved squad. My biggest disappointment through all this praise, and I feel it is important, is the lack of respect Combat! gets in the mainstream. Fine, it can stay our "little secret" but please, let's give credit where credit is due! this was the finest example of dramatic television in the mediums history! Let's recognize that! Let's not forget about it! When classic TV is discussed, let's not forget Combat! Please don't push it aside and bury it like the mainstream has! It is an important show and one that should be seen again and never forgotten. And how about giving Vic Morrow a star on the hollywood walk of fame!
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A Strong Show, Especially for the Early 60's!
FADrury26 January 2005
Recently I began viewing the episodes of "Combat!" in sequence. I had loved this series as a kid, but was concerned that my return would result in serious disappointment. However, I've been really surprised at how strong the show really is, even after all these years!

The early episodes are a bit shaky because the show is still trying to find its feet. The use of Shecky Greene for comedy relief was an interesting idea, but those situations don't really seem to fit the rest of the show. But as I progress, the shows keep getting stronger, more confident. Yes, more happens to this platoon than would happen to any other unit that size. But, it's TV after all and they keep trying to mix up the scenario to add different plot lines.

Some of the themes considered in what I've seen so far: -The struggle of a new man replacing an old vet. -Challenging a collaborationist to help the resistance (with a good ending!) -How the constant stress of war can break men (a popular theme). -A child trying to join the war, then finding out what that really means.

I also beg to differ with one of the comments made by another reviewer. The platoon doesn't always have what they need. On the contrary, many of the episodes have, at the their heart, the platoon struggling with what they don't have or can't do. I applaud the folks who put this show together. I especially applaud the fact that Germans regularly speak German and French characters regularly speak French and there are no subtitles. Yes, these characters speak English when needed. However, the show often has the men struggling with basic communication and "Caje" is always being asked to translate. A nice touch.

So, if you rent this show, you'll get a pretty decent experience. These episodes will not have the graphic violence of today's military pictures. But the show was perfectly ready to grapple with some pretty complex and tough questions. An admirable effort for its time!
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The Replacements Always Got Killed
Piafredux20 August 2002
From its pixellated artillery airbursts above fixed bayonets title sequence, that seguéd into its rousing march theme, to the end of each show I was one fascinated child. Of course the core of Sgt. Saunders's squad lived through more combat than most WWII infantrymen (casualty figures for the period tell that it was extremely unusual for a unit to have made from Normandy to the Siegfied Line with all its members in combat-ready mental & physical health). And you knew that nearly every guest actor (fresh from the repo depot) would be the casualty in nearly every episode.

I used to think that Rick Jason as Lt. Hanley was soooo handsome! But I best loved Pierre Jalbert as Caje - ruggedly handsome, stoical, lethal to Germans in a firefight. "Caje, take the point," said it all: when Chip Saunders's chips were down he put Caje out front. (Jalbert is a Québecois, not a Louisiana Cajun, which explains his squad-saving fluency in French.)

There was another WWII TV series, 'The Gallant Men', that debuted the same season as 'Combat!' Even as a child I picked up on the rifle fire sound effects paradox between the two shows: in 'Combat!' the M-1 Garands made the the sound of the German Mausers in 'The Gallant Men', but in 'The Gallant Men' the sound effects swapped weapons & armies! I always liked 'Combat!' better than 'The Gallant Men' so that when 'The Gallant Men' was cancelled after one season I thought the better show had survived.

'Combat!'s' writers & directors did well for their time. This was long before gore was shown graphically on TV or in cinema, but the scripts tried hard, and often succeeded, in conveying the privation, filth, & stress of infantry fighting. My uncle is a veteran of Omaha Beach & he didn't think 'Combat!' was realistic, though he never said a word about his own wartime experiences: I suspect they were more like those of the first thirty minutes of 'Saving Private Ryan' & that he wasn't eager to revisit those times even though it's certain they never left him.

'Combat!' often made the German soldiers look like robotic dolts - which they most certainly were not (stats tell grimly that German soldiers inflicted more casulaties per man than any other WWII army). But it's important to be mindful that 'Combat! is Hollywood, not the European Theater of Operations.

For now, gang: "Checkmate King Two to White Rook: Out." (Not bad for a girl, huh?!)
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Combat was one of the best dramas of the 60s
johnfuen21 June 2005
I was all of 4 years old when Combat first aired and 9 when it went off the air. But to this day, I still fondly remember that show. The Combat theme and most of the music for the show is hard to forget. I remember wanting to be like Sergent Saunders---tough but compassionate. And even though, I later started to realize that the squad probably went through a division (ok....maybe not a division.....but at least a regiment) all by itself in the 150 plus episodes, that never detracted from the tension, thrills, and emotion the shows provided. All the regulars did such a great job portraying their characters, I sometimes had a hard time remembering it was only a show and that they were actors. When an ensemble cast can do that, you know they have to be good. And all the great guest stars...too many to mention. This was what TV was meant to be. I just bought the first seasons' dvds and I will definitely continue to purchase the rest of the seasons.
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most accurate war scenes in tv history
markc-422 March 2000
I was a grade schooler during the years that Combat showed on Tuesday nights. My father was wounded and captured in the Battle of the Bulge and served four months as a POW, before being liberated on April 14, 1945. He always said the show was very realistic and now that I am in my mid-forties and a WWII buff virtually my entire life, I fully agree with him. The men in the squad are very similar to those in Saving Private Ryan. They are scared, weary, and somewhat disillusioned, but nevertheless determined to carry out their roles in the great World War II. Uniforms, equipment, and the sets all look authentic. I have a question for those who enjoyed this series. Where does it show on television these days? I have access to many tv channels but cannot find Combat anywhere. Please advise.
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An amazing show even today
rook0110 January 2004
Combat was realistic because the producers worked extensively with the Army to duplicate details of how soldiers fought. There is a Combat web site on the net that lists episodes and has interviews from the cast including Jason and Morrow who are dead.

Jason has the most revealing comments. He was suppose to carry the machine gun that Saunders carried. Apparently it was common for the junior officers to have the machine gun. However as an avid hunter and gun user he knew how heavy it would be carry the gun around during the long shoots. Eventually they made a lighter wooden replica for Saunders to carry.

Morrow hated guns according to Jason and would not even shoot skeet with him. Jason said Morrow was one of the most talented directors on the show. Jason's best episodes he said are the ones that Morrow directed such as The Pillbox. My favorite story was Jason's retelling of Morrow's direction for the two parter Hills are for Heroes.

The two part episode took 21 extra days to shoot and cost ABC an extra $300,000. They sent memos complaining to Morrow about the extra time and money that the two part episode cost them. According to Jason, Morrow used the ABC memos to light his cigarettes!
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Combat! is great television
samfinkie13 June 2005
Cineastes, just listen to Robert Altman's commentary on "Survival," one of the several early episodes of 'Combat!' that he directed. "If this is not one of the best things I've ever done, I don't know what is," he says (I'm paraphrasing). And he's right. This sixties WW II series is remarkable for its consistently good writing, direction, and acting -- especially acting. Vic Morrow is, in my book, one of the great, underrated, Method-trained actors of his generation. If his career had been on the large screen, he'd be celebrated in the company of Brando, Dean, Clift. With one look Morrow was able to convey exhaustion, disgust, concern, love for his men, and the burdens of duty. There's no one on television today with his subtlety and range. Somebody get that man his star on the Walk of Fame! Or how about a posthumous Emmy award (do they exist?).
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Hard Hitting WWII Action Series
Troll-195 July 1999
Combat!--A hard hitting WWII adventure series that featured top flight writing and character development. Frequently "guest stars" appeared in single episodes, for example Tab Hunter appears as a major league baseball player who eventually proves himself as a combat infantryman. Another guest star was James Coburn as an English speaking German soldier, disguised as an American corporal, whose mission is to infiltrate the American lines. The two lead roles of Lieutenant Hanley and Sergeant Saunders portray realistic combat leaders of World War II. This series represents the zenith in the careers of Rick Jason and Vic Morrow.
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Great show for the times!
prtt200111 May 2005
When I was growing up I never missed this show. For the time it was a very realistic show with many of the themes. A french boy who is befriended by a German Soldier, only later in the episode to shoot him. Or when Saunders suffers from shell shock and carries a dead German soldier thinking it is his brother. The show was on longer than the actual war itself, but it never seemed to be boring because it was well written. The cast was excellent and portrayed many of the horrible aspects of war to kids of my age, who were also reading Sgt Rock comic books at he time. I enjoyed this show much more than the Gallant Men, which even at the time, I could tell was not written or produced as well as Combat.
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well written and plenty of action
jeffy-631 January 2000
"Combat" was my favorite TV series of the sixties, depicting life in World War II Europe. The stories were extremely well written and the action never stopped. Vic Morrow and Rick Jason did a terrific job in the lead roles and the supporting cast added plenty of spice, especially Jack Hogan as Kirby. My favorite episode was a guest starring performance by Roddy McDowell. Although the series ran five years, by the final season the ratings began to plummet as real-life war scenes from Vietnam made their way to television on the evening news. However, this series now seems timeless as we experience renewed interest in World War II.
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Probably the best drama ever filmed for television
Troydawg31 March 2000
I grew up watching Combat!. So much had it been a part of my youth that I knew the names Sgt. Saunders, Lt. Hanley, Kirby, Littlejohn and Caje, and could picture them in my mind, long after I had forgotten most of the stories I had seen. They had made nearly as much impression on me as my own family; their teamwork, leadership and unshakable sense of honor and fair play became priceless examples to follow.

Around Christmastime last year I rediscovered the series on the Encore Action Channel, just after becoming a DirecTV subscriber.

What incredible serendipity! Only weeks before I had been thinking about Combat! and the characters that were so familiar to me as a boy. When I saw the series on the listings I thought, "Maybe I'll tape it and see if it was really as good as I remember it. Can my cloudy kid's memory have inflated its quality, the way our reminiscences often do to the pleasant times of our youth?" I would find out.

I played back an episode "Any Second Now," where Lt. Hanley was trapped in a bomb-damaged church, next to the very unexploded bomb that cratered the interior of the sanctuary. His only hope for release lay in the unsteady hand of a British bomb defuser who had lost his nerve. While this episode turned out to be far from the best Combat! episode filmed, it was good enough to eclipse most of the finest episodes of television dramas of the last 30+ years. I was so impressed with my re-introduction to this WWII drama that I had to share it with my wife. She, as I, had become hooked.

Over the last three months we have seen nearly every episode of this classic series. We are left with many impressions, among them the sad thought of what an immense artistic talent was lost when Vic Morrow met his untimely death. His direction of several Combat! episodes shows as much cinematic vision as three Spielbergs put together. The two-part Combat story "Hills are for Heroes," which Morrow directed, is more solid and inspired than even most theatrical movies of the last three decades.

That said, "Hills are for Heroes" has to be the finest two hours ever written (by Gene L. Coon) and filmed for television. This is not hyperbole. I challenge anyone who has seen it to confess to me that they were NOT totally emotionally drained after sitting through it. The performances of both the regulars and the guest stars are far more gripping and immediate than conventional TV performances of the day, or even today. Even better than most performances in theatrical movies, as well.

(A special note must go to the performance of Jack Hogan as the emotionally harried Private William G. Kirby, who truly let us, the audience, feel what it was like to be ordered to take a hill that you knew only God and His angels could take.)

There are dozens of Combat! episodes that deserve status nearly as high on my list as "Hills are for Heroes," but I could ramble even further if I try to name them here. Better to see the show for yourself. No show captured the human side of World War II the way Combat! did.

I encourage anyone who has not yet seen this superb classic war drama to give it a try. You WILL be hooked. And you will feel that, for a brief time, you really were a member of King Company's heroic Second Platoon, serving under Lt. Hanley and Sgt. Saunders, driving the Germans from occupied France in the summer and fall of 1944.

As of this writing, you can see two episodes back-to-back per weekday on the Encore Action Channel, noon Eastern (USA), 9:00 a.m. Pacific (USA).
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50 Years Ago...One of the most realistic dramas ever produced premiered on ABC
raysond28 December 2012
On October 2,1962,one of the most realistic,exciting,and one of the most realistic dramas in television history premiered on the ABC Network. "Combat!" was that show and under it's creator and producer Robert Pirosh under executive producer Selig J. Seligman under his production company,Selmar Productions produced a show about the grim lives of a squad of American soldiers fighting the Germans in France during World War II. The squad lead by Platoon leader Second Lieutenant Gil Hanley(Rick Jason),and Sergeant Richard "Chip" Saunders(Vic Morrow). "Combat!" was more that just a combination of drama,it was a show loaded with action. Each week,these soldiers and their Platoon Leaders take on the Germans with lots and lots of spectacular action sequences and astounding firefights and sometimes daring rescue missions where not only the squad fights to stay alive against impossible odds,but the replacements that were assigned to the squad always ended up being captured by the enemy or killed. The squad in some cases find themselves in a tough situation only to find a way to get out of the predicament they're in and destroy the enemy against the perils they faced,only to come out of them victorious. But instead "Combat!" focused on the individual soldier and how he dealt with the war on a personal level not to mention the mental and physical fatigue these men faced each week. There was a brotherhood of sorts between the characters whether the situation they were in.One had the others back in case of trouble and to help each other out whenever the squad was in a tight situation. This was a show that had some of the best writing,spectacular direction,believable characters and some of the best hardcore action sequences ever produced for television were the hallmarks of this television classic which today had the same impact as when television audiences first saw this show and eventually blew them away back in 1962. "Combat!" became the longest-running World War II drama in the history of television that became a staple on ABC's schedule,lasting five seasons. Out of the 152 episodes that were produced,the first four seasons of the show(which were in classic black-and-white)spanning 126 episodes aired from October 2,1962 until April 12,1966. It's final season(the color episodes)produced 26 episodes that aired from September 13,1966 until the show's final episode on March 14,1967. The repeats from Season Five aired from March 21,1967 until August 29,1967.

"Combat!" was one of ABC's most successful show and went on to develop a huge following of loyal fans which remains to this day. The series regulars were superb and believable especially with the main characters of Vic Morrow,Rick Jason,along with Jack Hogan(Kirby),Conlan Carter(Doc),Dick Peabody(Littlejohn),Pierre Jalbert(Caje)were in some aspects lifelong brothers in the fight,depending on each other each week to get through some of the tightest situations even when they were assigned to dangerous missions. Not to mention a line-up of guest stars that came on board each week ranging from additional squad members or playing evil Nazi villains. The guest stars ranged from Frank Gorshin,to Lee Marvin,Charles Bronson,Sal Mineo,Roddy McDowell,Terry Carter,Frankie Avalon,Dennis Weaver,to Claude Akins,James Whitmore to Robert Duvall and Richard Basehart among others. Even after 50 years,this was the show that had non stop action and incredible drama,and it shows in the number of Emmy nominations and wins this show received. Don't miss the best episodes of "Combat!" from the premiere episode "A Day In June" to "The Long Walk Home"(Season 2), "The Hostages"(Season 2),"The Hard Way Back"(Season 3), "Hills Are For Heroes"(Season 4),to "Ollie Joe"(Season 5),and the final episode of the series "The Partisian"(Season 5).

Happy Anniversary....for now "Checkmate King Two To White Rook:Out"
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Everything I learned about leadership, I learned from Sgt. Saunders.
arjaycee20033 January 2000
I am a Lt Col in the US Military reserves. I was an operational combat arms leader for many years. I am now a senior manager in industry. I did not realize until I began recording and viewing reruns of Combat! that Sergeant Chip Saunders was a Samurai warrior (in the finest tradition of Akira Kurisawa) placed into the role of a Squad leader in a U.S. Army Infantry Platoon in France in WWII. His portrayal is pure Zen! I have been unknowingly imitating him my entire life. I am thankful for it. People who work for me seem to be too.
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Great WWII action series
Raynedog23 July 1999
If you are lucky enough to get the reruns in your area, see this show. It's a great one hour escape. After a few episodes you will almost feel like one of the squad.

It has plenty of action as well as personal interrest. I HIGHLY recommend this show.

Also, if you are into this sort of thing, the uniforms, equipment, and vehicles are extremely accurate in detail

If you are a WWII buff or a fan of action, this definately will hit the mark. It's a shame they don't make T.V. shows like this anymore.
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Grew up watching COMBAT!
hegan195612 February 2006
I was a small kid when the series was on in the sixties and only remember the last season or so, but have seen all the episodes since the Action Channel took it as a regular series during the nineties. I love the action and can mostly forgive the blatant misuse of modern and older U.S. equipment for German equipment. That has always been one of my biggest problems with the sixties war movies and series depicting WW II. Why the German armor was our M46, M47, or M48 tanks and their half-tracks was always ours with a top put on and a machine gun ring in the center. This series had the same fault. Another thing that always amazed me was where the show was filmed. It was of course in the hills near LA and every time I see a show I almost expect to see Opie or Goober from "The Andy Griffith Show" to walk into the scene. It was always obvious they were both filmed at the same back lot location. COMBAT main claim to fame was the way it tried to show some of the personal conflicts that many of the GI's actually went through. I studied military history in college and during a few personal interviews with veterans while writing thesis papers the series would come up. Most WW II combat veterans will state that the war after the breakout from Normandy was a squad war as depicted in the series. Most of the writers, directors, and producers were actual European theater combat veterans, a fact not known to many viewers of the show. Their actual experiences and the tales told to them by others on the line became the basis for the show's story lines. In interviews I've watched on the Action Channel they talked at length about the attempt to keep the realism in each show, but the creative license and need for extra action of course added an extra level of unbelievability. The series is a must for any student of WW II and anyone that needs to understand just some of the anguish a GI went through during the war. Just remember it is a TV show and not real. No one GI went through that many actual engagements and received that many wounds. The show is a just that, a show, entertainment.
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A bite-sized, computer-game version of war
jeffhill122 March 2002
I enjoyed watching first runs of "Combat!" when I was a high school

student. "Combat!" seemed to constantly be putting Sergeant Saunders'

squad in neat little situations wherein they would flank a German

foxhole and finish off the bumbling Germans with tossed grenades.

Private Kirby was forever looking over the dead Germans and reporting,

"They've had it." So I suppose the series gave me the urge to

participate in the bite size, video game-like challenges of war. But

when I was a sergeant in Vietnam during that war, "Combat!" was

actually shown on the military television network along with re-runs of

"Star Trek" and other shows which would offer homey nostalgia value and

escapism from the harsh realities of the war zone. Sergeant Saunders and his squad never seemed to be lugging any

equipment around while on patrol. But whenever they were in a combat

situation, Sergeant Saunders always had exactly the ordinance that was

needed. Like Mandrake the Magician, he was forever pulling out of his

open field jacket extra clips for his Thompson submachine gun, hand

grenades, and other varieties of primed explosives for the job at hand. The only time I can remember Sergeant Saunders as not having

precisely the equipment needed for the given situation was the episode

in which he participates in a cat and mouse game in an abandoned

village with a German sniper. The German is fluent in English and

attempts to persuade Saunders to surrender by calling out to him to

watch "that sign over there hanging by one hook." Then he whips out

from his position and shoots the thin piece of metal so that the sign

drops. The episode explains why Saunders does not have his Thompson

but not why he is also without his sidearm for the only time ever

during the entire five year run of the series.
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Combat and The Gallant Men
schappe113 April 2002
The Gallant Men was Warner Brother's contribution to the War genre of the early 60's, featuring many of the same contract players who had appeared in their western and detective series. It was a sort of rival of Combat, which premiered on the same network in the same year but which was produced by a different company. I was a kid then and my family started out watching The Gallant Men but began watching Combat when the former was canceled. I liked The Gallant Men very much but spent much of my childhood humming the "Combat March" with my friends, who always instantly recognized it.

I'd have to pick Combat as the better show because it's more consistently good but they shows are by their nature very similar and a good "Gallant Men" is as good as a good Combat. It's just that there are fewer of them. The writing, directing and acting on Combat is more consistently good. The characters are a little stronger overall, as well. Vic Morrow's Sgt. Chip Saunders is one of the classic TV characters of all time. Rick Jason's Lt. Gil Hanley is almost as good, (but forgotten by many, for some reason). Jack Hogan's Kirby is also memorable. Pierre Jalbert as Caje and Dick Peabody as Littlejohn, (and he's the right size for it), offer strong support.

The one thing The Gallant Men has is a sardonic narrator, Robert McQueeney's war correspondent, Conley Wright. William Reynolds is a forceful Captain Benedict. Robert Ridgely is OK as Lt. Kimbro. Eddie Fontaine is good as the wheeler's dealer of the unit, Pvt. DeAngelo, but not as good as Hogan's similar Pvt. Kirby on Combat. Roland LaStarza, a former boxer who once got KO'ed by Rocky Marciano, has some good comic moments as Lucavich, but isn't much of an actor. (In one show, the soldiers talk about what they expected war to be like. Lucavich said he thought they might name a country after him. "A country named Lucavich?!?", says DeAngelo.)

Both shows were popular at the time but ABC decided they needed only one war show on it's schedule and Combat was getting the better ratings at the time so The Gallant Men was canceled after only one year. It was very disappointing to me. I had hopes that the two shows would work their way to the end of the war and meet up with each other in Germany. As it was The Gallant Men never made it to the end of the war and the Combat crew fought on for 5 years, which hardly seems fair, considering that the actually length of time from the Normandy invasion to V-E Day was only ten months. No wonder they complained about the war dragging on.

One thing the two shows had in common was the dilemma they faced in each battle. Obviously, a fire fight between a squad of American soldiers who are regulars in a TV show and a squad of German troops who are not is going to be rather one sided. The war could not have been that easy. So, if you see a guy in an American uniform who isn't one of the regulars, kiss him goodbye...
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Combat Series, 1962- 1967
jdeme16 February 2006
I was born during a war and grew up with war in the headlines of newspapers thru-out the USA. In grade school thru high school we were at war in Vietnam and little did I know I would be in a war that lasted long enough to be drafted. In reality war is very, very terribly, horrible. I don't see any wrong in showing and telling about war and learning from it. Combat did not glorify war but told about emotions and how men deal with them in any circumstance. Combat should have gotten the Oscar for a televised series. It was the equivalent to what SAVING PRIVATE RYAN was on the movie theater. All hands down, there could not have been a most perfectly chosen cast for a squad of men and the German counterparts of which some of them were regularly casted as German Soldiers. Most people don't like too much foreign dialect in a movie, but COMBAT was an exception with both French & German spoken. It made it more real. A viewer could almost understand what they were basically saying in German if you watched every episode such as I. It is great to see it back on cable television 5 times a week and now on DVD. It brings back memories of growing up in the black and white days of television. Combat made it into the new color-cast TV era. Each & everyone of the squad deserved to have their handprints in cement. In 1999 the cast held a reunion of COMBAT and another one a couple of yrs. later. A 3rd one was in the planning stages til Ric Jason died. The public was invited to these reunions, one in Las Vegas and the 2nd one in Florida on a cruise ship. Since then Little John and Lt.Hanson passed away. I guess there will be no more since the main characters, Sgt Saunders,Pvt.Little John and Lt.Hanson have gone. It's a shame the recognition of such professional acting when television was still in early stages that these actors weren't given their due. When I hear the death of one pass on a little bit of me goes with them. There won't be another series of any war on TV that could touch the "COMBAT" series. I liked Sheckey Green as the jokester in "COMBAT,S" 1st year,but he quit because of doing Las Vegas Shows at the same time they were shooting "COMBAT". After he left the show it got more serious and very dramatic in the episodes that followed. I don't think his comedy would have fit in the show as the producers were feeling around on the scripts that were written for each and every show. It seemed everyone in the squad had a special script written for them. I have watched every episode,each & every year and found it to be that they all had their moments thru-out the series. One could see the individuality of their acting abilities. They all deserve an Oscar. This show was about a squad of men and a special guest star of "TOP Hollywood ACTORS",some in the prime of their movie career. This was unique at the time when a big "MOVIE ACTOR" would take the time to do a special appearance on a Television Series and the names were "BIG"- Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson,Sal Mineo,James Coburn,Richard Basehart,James Caan,Robert Duvall and the list goes on. You couldn't imagine the series "COMBAT" without a lowly Private named Kirby who was the squad's BAR MAN and could find a way to get into trouble accidentally but you could count on him and his BAR to cover your back; French speaking PFC Caje,whose character fit to a tee from D-DAY,Normandy thru their push into France; Little John,a giant of a man and Billy who buddied up to each other just as in real war; Mother Goose,Sgt Saunters who kept the squad in line and also had a lot of input in most episodes; LT. Hanley who led the charge in a lot of episodes and sometimes stayed in the background giving orders to Sgt Saunders to carry out; and two different Medics in the series,Actor Conley being the most recognized of the two. The series would not be what it became in the 5 years it ran on TV. The ingredient's was a perfect mix of cast members,writers,producers and directors. It surely was one of a kind and I don't think there ever will be another mix of so many characters that blended so well together in one series and each and every episode so different and not just about war. I think "COMBAT" is at least just as popular now in syndication on Cable Television and DVD then when it was being produced in 1962-1967. Since WWll there is Korean, Vietnam,Grenada,Gulf Warl and Gulf Warll veterans and great grand children to sons and daughters of veterans have more interest in our history of wars especially WWll movies,documentaries and books.
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Best war series ever produced on TV
quicreva10 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Combat! was, quite simply, the best war series ever produced on television. There was no heavy-handed moralizing, no super-heroics, only a bunch of everyday kind of guys slogging through a hellish situation as best they could. Like the actual dogfaces of WWII, the men depicted in Combat! were neither cold-blooded killers nor war hawks. They were civilian soldiers. You got the distinct impression they'd far rather be at home, but since fate had brought them to the front, they would do their best - not for glory or some noble cause, but because it was expected of them and their fellow soldiers' lives depended on it. Here is the most realistic depiction of war you're likely to see on the small screen. Good beyond hope.
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Men At War
cutterccbaxter9 February 2005
In the 1960s WW II broke out all over again on American television sets. As the title suggests "Combat!" is a gritty look at the men who fought their way across France (unfortunately they never seemed to reach Germany) after D-Day. Rick Jason and Vic Morrow lead the way with their portrayals of Lt. Hanely and Sgt. Saunders. Jason's acting is straight ahead no nonsense classic Hollywood, while Morrow steals the show with his method acting. Have you ever noticed how often method actors scratch or rub their noses? Well Morrow does a lot of nose scrathin' in "Combat!" He also gets mad a lot. I really like the way he bursts out in anger in pretty much every episode, "Now you listen to me Kirby! You're going to take out that machine gun nest if it's the last thing you do. You got it?!?" Speaking of Kirby I think Jack Hogan ends up being my favorite actor on the series.
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I was honored to watch "Hills are for Heroes"
TiminPhoenix5 January 2005
I just watched this two part episode this morning and felt honored to have been able to see something this excellent.

It was better than 95% of anything Hollywood has put out in the decades since.

Incredible acting, direction, the whole deal was so advanced for the time and frankly more advanced than most things out today.

This has to rank in any honest top ten list of the best episodes of any series ever filmed.

From what I read, ABC spent over $300,000 on this one episode, a great deal of money in the mid 60s for a TV series.

It was an investment that should be remembered. ABC should consider running this again, in prime time as a movie.
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dinme9520 October 2011
I loved this show as a kid. I thought Vic Morrow was one tough dude. I now watch it on RTN. It still holds up well. It is a great link to my childhood. When the theme song begins and ends with the explosions and the gravely voiced announcer saying: "COMBAT!" I am transported back in time. The only thing that makes me smile at how it is very unreal are the sounds of the M1 carbines. The double percussion sound of the rifles: Ka-boom, ka-boom is just not correct. No rifle reports a double report such as that. Nevertheless, just like the distinctive sound of the ricochets, it wouldn't be Combat without them. Thanks to all who acted in the series. I watched an episode with Robert Duvall the other night playing a Nazi demolitions expert. Little did we know then that so many of these beginning actors would go on to stardom.
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The Best War Series Ever Made
k-thomas23 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I have this year bought the entire five seasons of this terrific series on DVD and am now just finishing series three. I was living in Cyprus when i first Combat on T.V as my father was stationed there with the British army and we used to watch it every week without fail. As stated in some of the other reviews, the characters were people who we would look up to as kids, but were also role models unlike today.In the sixties there were a lot of good T.V series with characters for kids to look up to such as Bonanza, Laredo, Star Trek and these programs were suitable for children. So i find it disturbing to find that kids of seven, which i was when i first watched Combat in 1964, looking up to people like Sylvester Stallone in Rambo or Arnold Swartzenegger in Total Recall. These films were certainly not fit for kids of that age to watch. It's nice to see some of the old Hollywood greats in supporting roles, for example Charles Bronson in a passive role James Coburn, Roddy McDowell. Also watching Richard Baseheart, James Caan and William Smith from Rich Man Poor Man and Richard Jaekel playing Germans and speaking German. In the case of James Caan in the entire episode. Also i liked it that not all the time the Germans were portrayed as the brutal Hun for example the episode A Cry In The Ruins from season three where after an American barrage on a village, German soldiers are seen trying to rescue a baby trapped under the rubble. The one thing i could never understand was after Combat the main actors with the exception of Vick Morrow, namely Rick Jason, Piere Jalbert, Jack Hogan, Dick Peabody etc etc were hardly seen again and regarding Vic Morrow, why such a terrific actor kept being given these cheap rubbishy bad guy roles in movies like Bronx Warriors and Monster with another good actor The Virginians Doug Maclure. Also it was a big tragedy the way Vic Morrow died in that terrible accident while making his last movie The Twilight Zone. So you now know that the complete series of Combat is out on DVD and therefore to all the fans please by it. Kevin Thomas.
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Well written / good actors
eflapinskas11 January 2007
The very successful and highly acclaimed series which first aired on TV in 1962. It's main star, Vic Morrow, plays the part of Sgt. Chip Saunders. The other main character, Lt. Hanley, is played by Rick Jason. The Saunders character is somewhat unbelievable in his constant devotion to duty under ALL conditions. The Hanley character is cast a little more believable in that although he is more a "rules" type, like all officers are, he shows a more HUMAN side than Saunders. What really was the success of this series was the involvement of the human kind in various combat conditions and situations. Watching the tactics apllied by both the allies and the Germans is rather ridiculous. It seemed that the Americans were out manuvering the Germans for some reason and Saunders was always sticking out his squads "NECK" by taking unnecessary risks. As a combat veteran myself I would have questioned these leaders tactics as borderline suicide or just plain idiocy although one really sleeps with the other.

The show was really about humanity and drama which was aptly displayed. They must have been doing things right or people would not have tuned in every season from 1962 to 1967. My own observation is that when they changed over to color filming 2 things happened. The tactics became more unbelievable and the missions as well.

Strangely enough both the lead characters died untimely deaths.
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Season four DVD stands at attention!
jexlin017 October 2006
Season four of this WWII drama stands out with several intense episodes such as "The Steeple," on which a paratrooper is stuck on a church. A Nazi officer leaves his body hanging to gloat to the French villagers. Vic Morrow makes many attempts to save the very alive airborne officer. In "The Odyssey" Morrow feigns to be in shellshock and wears a German uniform to fool the Nazis in to believing he is one of their own. In "Hellbeast" he and Frank Groshin (the Riddler from Batman) command a disabled German tank in a desperate attempt to get to friendly lines. All are nail biting episodes today as well as 45 years ago. I never heard of this show until recent years. Well worth the wait.
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