When Trumpets Fade (1998) Script

August, 1944. the outcome of the second world war appeared to be no longer in doubt.

Paris was liberated.

after four years of fighting, victory against the germans seemed assured. since the Normandy landings in June, American and Allied forces had battled their way across Northern europe and pushed the german enemy to within its own homeland.

* over there

* over there

* send the word, send the word, over there *

* that the yanks are coming

* the yanks are coming

* the drums, drums drumming everywhere *

* so beware

* say a prayer

* send the word, send the word to beware *

* we'll be over, we're coming over *

* and we won't come back till it's over, over there * the city of light rejoiced as it welcomed the troops.

marching down the champs elysees, officers and men believed that Berlin was within their reach, and the word was that they would be home in time for christmas.

but when the soldiers left Paris for the german border, their hopes began to fade.

i'm gonna make it. you're gonna make it. i'm gonna make it. you're gonna make it. my lucky day. it's your lucky day. i got the luck. you got it, Bobby. this is nothin'! it's walk in the park. oh! what's that, partner? i get to go home. you're goin' home, Bobby. i'm goin' home.

Goddamn right. i'm goin' home. you know it, Bob! hang in there, Bobby. hang in there. you can do this. i can do this. you're tough as nails. nails. not good enough, Bobby. nails! what about nails? tough! that's right. they're fuckin' tough!

Goddamn you! stick with it, Bobby! fuckin' dig in, Bobby. come on, who's tough as nails? me's tough. that's right, you tough. tough as what? nails. that's right. now say it! tough as nails! you're goddamned right, you're tough as nails. aah! come on, stay with us, Bobby. it hurts! i know. it's less than a mile. less than a mile to go. it's too far. no, it ain't. it ain't too far. not gonna make it. can that shit! gonna die! cut it, you're gonna make it! i'm gonna... you're gonna make it. make it. you're damn right!

listen, Bobby, i gotta rest for a minute, ok? ok, Bob? shit!

Bobby. stop it! stop it! stop it! stop it!

Bobby, stop it!

Bobby! Bobby!

welcome back, motherfucker.

promise me you won't pick me up no more. it hurts. don't--don't pick me up anymore. listen, Bob, if i leave you, ain't nobody gonna find you. you're gonna die out here. just sit here for a bit.

i am dying.

Bob, we can't sit here. so, i gotta pick you up, and i gotta get you out of here. no. come on. no! no! let's go. no more! no more! all right! all right! all right, all right, relax. relax. relax. no more, please. fine. i'm not-- i'm not gonna touch you. no more. ok, just relax. just relax. no more.

just relax.

no more. no more. no more.

no more.

you're not gonna leave, are you?

got no choice, Bob. ok.

David... don't leave me here like this. please don't leave me here like this. don't you leave me here!


David, don't leave me here like this!

stop it! don't leave me here.

David. all right, get out of here.

grab my hand, buddy. there you go. let's go.

1,2,3, push!

we need more bandages. hurry it up! come on, get up.

move that truck out of there! where's "C" company? you kidding?

uhh! easy there, buddy. hang in there.

Chamberlain. grab an end!

Captain Pritchett's been lookin' for anybody from your platoon. where is he? back at HQ. i'm headin' that direction if you want a lift. get down! take cover!

you're all right. you're all right. shit! you're all right. oh, my God! oh, God! oh... why do they leave them there like that? fuckin' brass. they don't wanna waste the trucks on the dead. they still got more guys to haul in for the slaughter. no more room in hell. what are you talkin' about? there's plenty of room. all they gotta do is stack 'em higher. how many do you think? hundreds. that's just in the last five days. how can they let this happen and still pretend to be human beings? i haven't seen one of those sick fucks over the rank of Captain here since i been up here. they're lookin' at points on a map. not one of them has a fuckin' clue what's goin' on up here. shit flows down. goddamned right. regiment wipes its ass with battalion, battalion wipes its ass clean with company, and we're left to lick the shit off of them. mark my words, they're gonna keep sendin' us in until the whole fuckin' division is gone.

not me, bedpan.

Captain Pritchett, sir? you have a private Manning here. all right.

you Manning? i think so. give him a straight answer, private. relax.

you can stop looking for your platoon. they didn't make it. what? looks like you're the only one who made it out. your lucky day. lucky day? you're alive. am i? if you don't put a sock in it, private-- you're gonna what? can it! both of you!

Lukas, take a walk.

fuckin' greenie. you better get used to him, he's your new platoon leader. he'll be dead in a week. tell me something. have you got your shit together? sometimes. what's that mean? it means that sometimes i've got it together. on the line? what do you want... Captain? the entire battalion took a beating last night. i've heard 70% casualties, but that's just talk. whatever it is, it must have crippled us bad. we've been pulled back without reaching a single objective. what has this got to do with me? we're getting replacements in from the channel. tonight you'll be fitted with a new squad. congratulations, private, you're a Sergeant now.

i don't want it. you'll get used to it. i don't want to get used to it. i don't give a damn what you want. i'll put up with that mouth of yours, because i figure after surviving a week up here, you've earned that right. you have not earned the right to question my orders. i am absolutely the wrong man. that may be your opinion, Sergeant, but it's not mine. you've managed to stay alive for a week. that's something the rest of your platoon couldn't do. call me crazy, but from where i'm standing, that makes you qualified for the job. you're making a mistake. your opinion is duly noted, Sergeant. dismissed.

sir...i've... in the woods, i've done things--

Sergeant. yes? dismissed.

request permission for a section eight. i'm fucked up. i can't do this. i--i'm no good. listen to me, soldier. a week ago i had a company of almost 200 men. now i've got 50. as hard as this may be for you to swallow, your efforts to stay alive hold very little value at this particular time and place. what does hold value are the objectives. the longer it takes to obtain them, the more dead we'll be stockpiling at the side of the road. now, it's my job to obtain those objectives, and i will utilize anybody at my disposal to do so. that includes you, Sergeant. now, i'm just sorry as hell about your bruised nerves, but you are out of your skull if you think i'm gonna let you bail on a section eight. is that clear? yes, sir. at 1400 hours, you will rendezvous with your new squad. you've got until then to get your shit together. is that clear? yes, sir. good. now get out of my sight.

Captain. when i fuck this up, is it your fault or mine?

mind if i tag along? suppose not. so, i heard about your promotion. yeah? where'd you hear that? pays to have friends, man. got a smoke? yeah.

you know, it's amazing really, when you stop to think about it. whole platoon fingers its way into the factory and... one guy makes it out to talk about it. you got 25 or 30 guys dead or dyin', and you walk out without a scratch on you. it's my lucky day. yeah, lucky. that's one way of lookin' at it. but not the only way, right, Talbot? there isn't anything sacred with you, is there, Manning? warm, dry feet.

how'd you manage to get out, Manning? did you get cut off from the rest of the platoon? trees get pretty thick out there? did you get lost? come on, what happened? you got somethin' in that vat of yours, just spill it. all right. look, it's like this. see, your routine isn't as seamless as you think it is. always hangin' back a little bit, never volunteering. doing just enough to keep out of trouble, but never enough to really help out. i'm kind of an emotional guy. get one thing fuckin' straight, Manning. there is no hangback now. you got a glob of greenies lookin' at you to keep 'em alive, and if i find out that one of them answers the last muster

'cause of your yellow streak, i will personally put a bullet in your brain.

hey, Sandy! hey, hey, hey! there he is! hey! all right! you made it! where the hell'd you go? i looked for you. i got lost. i thought you chickened out. you thought he chickened out. me, i know he's just a dumb fuck farmer from Wisconsin. am i in trouble? hell no. we're still waitin' for the Sergeant. how'd you get here? guy about a mile back in a jeep just told me to follow the road. still don't know why they sent us in here. i hear the war's gonna be over by christmas. who told you that shit? it's talk. i heard the krauts got nothin' but old men and children on the line. and you believe that? i'd like to. how about you, Sandy, you believe that shit about old men and kids? i will if you will. what are these? how the fuck should we know?

they're called dragon's teeth. krauts use 'em to stop our tanks. you're standing on the Siegfried line. over there is Germany. i suggest you remember that.

let's go. you're with me. we're goin' to the front.

all right, listen up. right over that hill is the front line. when you're in your foxholes, the krauts are gonna be less than 50 yards away. this is a thin line. which means we're gonna be spaced far apart. because in this fog, you might not see the guy nearest you. the krauts are gonna hear us moving into position, and they know that you're replacements. how? this company lost over a hundred men last night. they know we're hurtin' bad, and they know that we have to try to bring in replacements today. the only reason they're not making a push is because they're hurtin' too. they know you guys don't know shit. they're gonna try to use it. they'll call out to you in english, they'll try to spook you. the main thing you need to do is keep your shit together. this is the real fuckin' deal. name. huh? your name. Warren. last name.


Sanderson, you're first. you stay right behind me. ok. i'll be back for each of you, one at time. don't go wandering off now. i mean it. stay right in my back pocket. let's go.

keep your fuckin' head down!

move him out.

sure took your sweet time gettin' here. anything notable? those fucking tanks again. they've been jammin' their barrels down our throat from that fuckin' high ground for a week now. air corps can't see 'em, artillery can't hit 'em. they better find some way of knockin' those fuckers out, and i mean fast. what about the 88s? they're still out there. tanks on our right side.

88 millimeter cannons on our left side.

fuckin' army. fuckin' army.

i'll be back in the morning for patrol.

scared? huh? scared? yeah. i don't know what i'm supposed to do. want me to tell you? ok. basically, you're a lookout. when you're down in here, you're responsible for holding this section of the line, ok? you got a machine gun nest protecting you on your right flank, 25 yards away. you got another rifleman protecting you on your left flank, a little closer, maybe 15, 20 yards, ok? ok. now, in front of you, you got your krauts. they're close.

30 yards, maybe a little more. the challenge is "hershey." the password is "apple." ok? you say "hershey" and you don't hear "apple," you open fire, you understand? you don't think about it, you don't hesitate, you just do it, you understand? otherwise, you're gonna go home to your mama in a box, all right? now, them krauts make a push, you use your grenade. ok, how do i know if they're makin' a push?

you hear a whole bunch of shootin' and screamin', and a bunch of guys runnin' at you. yeah? then you know they're makin' a push. oh, yeah. oh, yeah, you wanna light up a cigarette at night, lay on your back at the bottom of the hole. i don't smoke. huh? i don't smoke. you still got your issues? yeah. you will.

what's your name?

Warren. welcome to death factory, Warren.

you got point. i've got you on a straight line course. i know this is your first patrol. you've had time to watch what i've been doin'. yeah. be alert. you've been behind kraut lines for the last 30 yards or so. you got no friends here. our job is to scout the enemy positions. ease up on the trigger finger. yeah, right. this is your first big chance to stay alive, don't fuck it up. let's go.

slow down, Sandy, slow down. slow down.


what's goin' on? i lost Sandy.

get down, get down.

what's goin' on? we lost Sanderson. what's this "we" crap? shut up. what do we do, Sarge? we wait. i hope he's got brains enough to come straight back. what if he doesn't know he's alone? he knows.

all right, we're headin' back. we're just gonna leave him out here? can't afford to risk the entire squad. yeah, but-- what is your name?

Doug Despin. well, Doug Despin, this is the second time i'm telling you to shut up. you follow me? yeah. then let's go.


afternoon, gentlemen. we're gonna make another push. the objective is to retake the town of Schmidt, four miles east of our present position. not that that's a surprise. to get there, we have got to secure the river crossing on the Kall trail. now, we'll approach the river through this part of the forest.

Roy, your boys are gonna take the Kall trail again. you have got to take and hold arbaley bridge. yes, sir. now, g-2 said it'll be clear sailing up to the bridge, but once you get there, it's gonna get pretty hot. with all due respect, sir, did g-2 forget about the tanks the jerries have been clobbering us with? no. the artillery's gonna take care of the tanks. they've been saying that for a week. well, they're saying it again, and this time they're right. bunch of chickenshits... do you have a problem, Captain? what if those tanks are still firing, sir? then we'll deal with it. no problem.

Captain Pritchett, if you feel you're unable to carry out your orders, you let me know, and i'll relieve you of your command and find somebody who can. now, the jumping off point's the Siegfried line here, here, and here. there's not gonna be an opening barrage this time. i want surprise. you men will take and hold your objectives. we've been screwing around too damn long up here. any questions?

any questions, Captain? no, sir. thank you. good day, gentlemen.

hey, Sandy, you gonna eat that? leave it alone. you want more, you go wait in line.

Sanderson, eat your food. i'm not hungry. that's not the point. i'm not hungry.

last time i had a hot meal was five days ago. since then, my entire platoon has been wiped out. that's why you're here. you're just a bunch of guys in line to get shot, so they can bring in a bunch of other guys. see how that works? now, once you get that through your fuckin' head, maybe you'll realize how important a hot meal could be.

don't go anywhere.

stay where i can find you, we're makin' a push. we get orders, Sarge? we will. well, if we didn't get orders, how do you know we're makin' a push? hot food, coffee, cigarettes. we're making a push, sure as shit.

he's full of it. do you think he's full of it?

he's full of it. when'd you start smokin'? what's it to you? sorry i blew up. shut up. come on, Baxter, relax. last night for me. i bet you lit up, Warren. my first day. me, too. i was freezing. hey, check this out. what the fuck you doin', Lonnie? you fart, i'm gonna blow your ass off.

only assholes smoke.


problem with these issues, they taste like shit.

hey, Sanderson. out there in the woods with the krauts, what was it like?

it was like... drowning.

you wanted to speak to me?


i wanna know what happened out on that patrol yesterday.

i heard your point man got separated from the squad. they're still learning. no shit. what the fuck are you thinkin' putting a replacement at point on his first patrol? i've got nothing but replacements. you should have stayed at point, Sergeant.

Sergeant! i thought it would be a perfect chance for at least one of them to get some experience. bullshit! you're still trying to save your own ass. these kids don't know anything. and you do? no, i don't. for four days, i've been watching these mangled bodies being carried out of the woods, knowing real soon i'm gonna be expected to lead a platoon in there. nobody's telling me a goddamned thing. i just walk around, trying to look like a lieutenant, so you're right, i don't know anything. in fact, the only one in this platoon who does is you. do you get it now? is it starting to sink in? what do you want? i want your help.

look, if i can help you in any way without endangering my own life, i won't hesitate. if you want my opinion, i'll give it to you. but i'm not takin' a bullet for anybody. that's not good enough. that's as good as it gets.

i'll tell you what, Dave. you find yourself out there in the middle of a fire fight with your guts hangin' out, screamin' for a medic. if i can help you in any way without endangering my own life, i won't hesitate.

so what do you think? about what?? this push that Manning's talking about. you think we're really gonna do it? yeah. we just got here. yeah.

hey, Sandy. yesterday out in the woods, Manning was just gonna leave you there.

i think we're all gonna die out here.

Lord of my salvation that saves me, for he is my shield.

saves me from my enemies and inequities... we'll go in two minutes. sir.

two minutes.

two minutes.

two minutes, and nobody dies. two minutes. nobody dies. two minutes. nobody dies. say it, Lonnie. you gotta say it. nobody dies. nobody dies. nobody dies.




Move! Go! keep moving!

Spread out! spread out!

Don't bunch!! uhh! don't bunch!

Sergeant! move it! move it! aah! keep moving!

aah! spread out! spread out! don't bunch. don't bunch! aah!


aah! get off me! get off me! get off me! get off me!! get off me!!! get off me!!


No! No!! go back! go back! back, back! come on!

Go, go, GO! let's go. go. stay together!

back! back! back!

Fire! go back!

Medic! get back!

Medic! Medic!! aah!

aah! aah! coming through.

my leg.

what? we're making another push. you got to be shitting me. our company is to try and take the bridge on the Kall trail again and hold it. kraut 88s on the ridge are going to have us right on the chopping block. fuckers. there's a road leading up to the the ridge from the north side. i figure a single squad with a couple of flame throwers might have a shot at taking 'em out. their gun crews will be firing at us. what about their infantry support? krauts are holding their manpower back about a mile behind the ridge. apparently, they're having trouble finding replacements, so they're relying on their 88s to wipe us out. i need a squad to volunteer. good luck. you take out those guns, and i'll get you that section eight you were begging for.

it's a deal.

you smile at me again, and i'll kick your teeth out.

let's get out of here!

Medic! all right. ohh!

Medic! Medic!!

help him!




this is Pritchett, sir. we've got the bridge, but we're getting our asses reamed!






Sir, request permission to pull back.

Negative. do not pull back. my men are getting cut to pieces up here. we're pulling back! you hold that bridge, Captain. that's an order! i've already lost 30 men! this isn't a debate, Pritchett! you hold that goddamn bridge! this is suicide!

Lieutenant! we're dead meat here, Lieutenant!

God damn it, Lieutenant, fucking move!



Fire! all right, listen up. as far as i can see, they have no infantry support. the gun crew's got its back to us.

we're going to run right up that road.

Baxter, Sanderson, you're going to burn 'em out. ok?

let's move.



boxcar six, this boxcar nine, over! boxcar six, over. this is Sergeant Talbot. lieutenant Lukas has lost it!

that puts you in charge over this, Sergeant. now listen up. you got to pull your platoon back to this side of the river! you expect me to get these guys to leave cover in this shit? if you don't get that platoon to move, you're all going to be dead in 10 minutes. now haul ass!









Baxter!! no, no, no. no fucking way. no fucking way. no fucking way!

Baxter!! no! no fucking way! no fucking way! no fucking way!!

no! No!! get up there, Baxter!

stay where you are! hold your position!


God damn you.

no! no! no!

what the fuck are you doing?

Jesus Christ!

Warren! get up there now!

yeah! yeah! yeah!

he did it.

i'll be a son of a bitch.

easy now. easy.

Lieutenant. lieutenant!

tank! go! move!

take cover! get back! back to the trees, men! go, go! everybody, pull back! back up! back up! back to the trees! incoming! go! fall back! take cover! go! go!

not again!


it's not over till we're out of here. take the torch out. go! go! go!!

da, da, da!


Lonnie! Lonnie!

Lonnie! no! no! no!

hold onto me! come on! keep moving! keep moving! come on! no! no! Fuck!

Lonnie, come on! come on! come on! you got to keep moving! keep moving! keep moving! come on! come on! come on!! he's dead! he's dead! go! go! let's go!

how you doin', Roy? i'm fine, sir. i could stay. i think you need a rest. everybody here needs a rest, sir.

Captain, this conversation was over the first time we had it, and it's just as over now. you're wounded. you need a rest. fresh point of view may help break things open here, Roy. do i know you? your people inside? yes, sir.

Captain Zanuck, i suggest you take this time to go in and acquaint yourself with your team. sir. i should be involved with that briefing, sir. the Captain will need every bit of advice he can get.

Negative. i don't want the same mistakes as before. what mistakes are those?

you tell me.

driver, this man needs a doctor.


that was a rough one, huh? rough one. where's your squad?

over there.

was it worth it? what? the section eight.

i don't know what you're talking about. you really are a fucking piece of shit, aren't you, Manning? that's right, Talbot. i'm a piece of shit. so you went up that ridge with 4 other guys and came back with one, huh? you weren't fucking there. yeah, lucky for me.

i been keeping an eye on you, Manning. oh, yeah? we all know about that section eight deal you cut with Pritchett.

anything to save your own ass. that's right.

it's too bad he won't be around to hold up his end of the deal.

what are you talking about? he got wounded. they took him off the line today.

life's a bitch, ain't it?

where's lieutenant Lukas? nobody knows, sir. it's been pretty hard on him. is that him? yes, sir.

what's the status of your platoon, lieutenant? huh?

whatever your problem is, lieutenant, i suggest you get it under control!

pull it together, lieutenant, now!!

get him off! get this son of a bitch off! easy, soldier! let's go! get him out of here!

God damn it!

you wanted to know the status of his platoon?

just a minute, soldier. you're treading dangerously close to a court martial. that gets me out of here, right, sir? you're Manning, aren't you? what do you care? report to my command post immediately.

Sergeant David Manning. you have a sheet on everybody?

not right now, Sergeant, just you.

"Sergeant Manning has an excellent innate understanding

"of battlefield conditions.

"his ability to react to aggressive situations

"is unmatched by anybody in the company.

"his disrespect for authority is unable to hide

"his ability to lead.

"i strongly suggest that he be considered for the next platoon leader when and if the situation presents itself."

"Captain Roy Pritchett."

if i'm not mistaken, Sergeant, the situation has presented itself.

when was that written? the day you were made Sergeant.

sir, i'm a non-com. i know what you are, Manning. and i also know what you capabilities are. i was a private 3 days ago.

this isn't up for discussion, lieutenant.

you've got no choice in this. and as it is, neither do i.

at 0800, we're making another push. get your people together, lieutenant. i got nothing left.

dig a little deeper.

Manning? hey. we want to talk to you. i said we want to talk, asshole. look. i want to know the truth, Manning. what the hell happened out there? don't you fucking walk away from me.

come on. stop! come on! you executed Baxter! you're damn right i did. he ran. you'd have done the same thing. put the gun down, Talbot. shut up. go ahead. we're all dead anyway. regiment's making a push tomorrow. we're to take Schmidt at all costs. what? you heard me. jesus...

the way i see it, we've got 2 choices. we can settle for being slaughtered in the push tomorrow, or we can take those tanks out tonight. there's no way in hell company will approve that. this isn't about company. if we do it, it's just us. we'll slip past the lines unchecked. just another sorry-ass patrol. let me get this straight. yesterday, you were pulling for a section eight. now, you want to lead some kind of renegade force against the german tanks? the question is, "how do we stay alive?"

what you think of me doesn't really matter.

what's your plan, Manning? you're not taking this shit seriously? maybe. well, who's to say he's not going to shoot you in the back like he did Baxter? he didn't have a choice.

if he hadn't shot Baxter, we all would've run. and we'd still be taking the fire from those 88s.

i'll go with you.

i don't know. i don't know. look, if anyone can do this, i think it's him.

i'm not thrilled about the odds. but it's better than what we got coming at dawn.

Manning. what? nobody dies. nobody dies.

let's just get it done.

all right. i'll clear the mine field and cut the wire. we got to hit the tanks at dawn, before the push begins.

all right. no turning back.

come on.

let's go.

all right. i'm going for the truck. cover me.





Manning! no! aah! aah!





i'm not going to make it. i'm losing too much blood. you're going to make it! you're an idiot.

you're going to owe me big, lieutenant. i ain't going to owe you shit. less than a mile, ok? less than a mile. it's too far. it's not too far.

what's so funny? you. me, what? forget it. i'm taking you home, Dave. sure. you're going home.

* i'm dreaming

* of a white

* christmas

* ooh * just like the ones

* i used to know

* where the treetops glisten *

* and children listen

* to hear

* sleigh bells

* in the snow

* i'm dreaming

* of a white

* christmas

* ooh * with every

* christmas card

* i write

* may your days

* be merry

* and bright

* and may all

* your christmases

* be white

* i'm dreaming

* of a white

* christmas

* ooh * just like the ones

* i used to know

* where the treetops glisten *

* and children listen

* to hear

* to hear the sleigh bells *

* in the snow

* mmm

* i'm dreaming

* of a white

* christmas

* with every

* mmm * christmas card

* i write

* may your days

* be merry

* and bright

* and may all

* ooh

* your christmases

* be white

* ooh

* ooh