Hornet's Nest (1970)
The plot in brief: after a Nazi commander (Sergio Fantoni) commands his troops to lay waste to a small Italian village and slaughter most of the townspeople in the streets, the surviving children flee to the hills for safety. Meanwhile, a group of U.S. paratroopers attempt to infiltrate the area from above and are picked off one by one by Germans with machine guns before their feet even touch the ground. One paratrooper--played by Rock Hudson--survives, and he is rescued by the children of the village and hidden in a secret location until his injuries have healed. a German nurse, played by Sylvia Koscina (1958's Hercules), is also caught in this tangled web when the kids bring her to their hiding place in hopes that she can treat the wounded American soldier. These angry and frightened children nurse Rock Hudson back to health in hopes that he will help them take back their town from the Nazi occupiers.
Lucky for us, Hornet's Nest is not just a war drama. It's also an action movie with lots of sneaking around, covert kills, and even a few scenes of all-out carnage. Sidebar: back in the nineties, Steven Spielberg revolutionized video games by bringing the acclaimed Medal of Honor series to the Playstation game console. With unprecedented attention to realism based on real World War II missions, Medal of Honor offered players the chance to carry out a variety of wartime operations, from sneak attacks and infiltration to all out melees. I bring this up to say that there are many scenes in Hornet's Nest that remind me of playing Medal of Honor some two decades ago. The feeling of realism is there, but so is a feeling of excitement at watching this one man and these kids face off against the Nazi hordes. This is not an army movie; this is one man behind enemy lines using every tool at his disposal, including vengeance-hungry children, to survive. Because the action is often used sparingly and effectively, it feels like the movie has earned the privilege of going nuts later on.