Cast a Giant Shadow

Cast a Giant Shadow

Cast a Giant Shadow
Directed by Melville Shavelson
Produced by Melville Shavelson
Written by Ted Berkman (book)
Melville Shavelson (screenplay)
Starring Kirk Douglas
Senta Berger
Stathis Giallelis
James Donald
Yul Brynner
Frank Sinatra
John Wayne
Angie Dickinson
Chaim Topol
Michael Hordern
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Cinematography Aldo Tonti
Edited by Bert Bates
Gene Ruggiero
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
March 30, 1966
Running time
146 mins.
Country United States
Language English
Box office $3.5 million (est. US/ Canada rentals)[1]

Cast a Giant Shadow is a 1966 big-budget action film[2] based on the life of Colonel Mickey Marcus, and stars Kirk Douglas, Senta Berger, Yul Brynner, John Wayne, Frank Sinatra and Angie Dickinson.[3] Melville Shavelson adapted, produced and directed.[4]


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Trivia 3
  • Production notes 4
  • Home media 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9


The film is a fictionalized account of the experiences of a real-life Jewish-American military officer, Colonel David "Mickey" Marcus, who commanded units of the fledgling Israel Defense Forces during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

Marcus, a reserve Colonel in the Judge Advocate General Corps of the United States Army, recently released from active duty and now working as a New York lawyer, is approached by an Haganah agent, Major Safir, played by James Donald, while on his way to court. Safir requests his assistance in preparing Israeli troops to defend the newly declared state against the invasion of its Arab neighbors.

Marcus, still an Army Reserve officer, is refused permission by the Pentagon to go, unless he travels as a civilian. The Haganah gives him a false passport with the alias "Michael Stone". As "Michael Stone", he arrives in Israel to be met by a Haganah member, Magda Simon, whom he immediately starts flirting with.

Marcus, who parachuted into Nazi concentration camp liberated by American troops, is initially viewed with suspicion by some Haganah soldiers. But after he leads a commando raid on an Arab arms dump and assists in a landing of illegal refugees, he is more accepted. He prepares his training manuals and then returns to New York, where his wife has suffered a miscarriage.

Now restless, and despite his wife's pleadings, he does return to Israel and is given command of the Jerusalem front with the rank of 'Burma Road," bypassing Latrun, to enable convoys to reach besieged Jerusalem, where the population is on the verge of starvation.

Many of the soldiers under his command are newly arrived in Israel, determined and enthusiastic but untrained. Dubbing them 'the schnooks', Marcus is inspired by them to discover that he is proud to be a Jew. But just before the convoy of trucks to Jerusalem starts out, he is shot and killed by a lone sentry who does not speak English - the last casualty before the United Nations-imposed truce. The coffin containing his body is ceremonially carried by the soldiers whom he trained and inspired.

Cameo roles (listed as Special Appearances Cast) include:

  • John Wayne as 'The General', Marcus's commanding officer at Normandy and now a senior general officer at the Pentagon, who initially refused him permission to go, but later supports him.
  • Yul Brynner as Asher, a Haganah commander.
  • Frank Sinatra as Vince Talmadge, an expatriate American pilot who takes part in what becomes a suicide mission to bomb Arab positions.



Winston Churchill, Rudolf Hess, Fiorello LaGuardia, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin appear as themselves in archive footage in flashbacks

Production notes

The film includes a toast scene where John Wayne says L’chaim. Footage from this film was later used in a Coors Light commercial.

Home media

It was released on DVD in early 2000s but went out of print. It was Re-released on DVD, and the 1st time on Blu-ray August 26, 2014.

See also


  1. ^ "Big Rental Pictures of 1966", Variety, 4 January 1967 p 8
  2. ^ Crowther, Bosley (September 2008). "Cast A Giant Shadow - Trailer - Cast - Showtimes". The New York Times. Retrieved September 26. 
  3. ^ "Cast a Giant Shadow (1966) Overview". TMC: Turner Classic Movies. September 2008. Retrieved September 26. 
  4. ^ "Cast a Giant Shadow (1966) movie review". New York Times. March 31, 1966. 

Further reading

  • Shavelson, Melville. How to Make a Jewish Movie, 1971. (ISBN 0-491-00156-8).

External links