|Directed by||Armando Crispino|
|Based on||A short story|
by Menahem Golan
|Music by||Mario Nascimbene|
|Edited by||Daniele Alabiso|
This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (September 2016)
It is the middle of World War II, and in the deserts of Africa, Sgt. Sullivan (Lee Van Cleef) puts together a group of Italian-Americans into disguise as Italian soldiers in order to infiltrate a North African camp held by the Italians. Sullivan, along with Dino (Romano Puppo), was one of three that survived from the Pacific War against the Japanese, although Lieutenant Freeman was killed in his last mission. Their Captain in charge of the mission, Captain Valli (Jack Kelly), has a bunch of soldiers with special training. They have recruited Italian-Americans for the mission to host as the enemy. The team includes Corbi (Pier Paolo Capponi), Rodolfo (Ivano Staccioll) the teams radiomen, Riccio (Pier Luigi Anchisi), Aldo (Giampiero Albertini), Marco (Gianni Brezza), Bruno (Dullio Del Prete), Antonio (Emilio Marchesini) Carmeio (Blagio Peligra); however, Valli doubtfully has his issues for Sullivan, and the unit of his men. However, though Sullivan has his worries for Valli that he will put all the men at risk, the mission is to the Oasis, the drop zone, as it is two miles from the objective, the plan is to reach the objective and capture the Italian base to learn of the plans, also no prisoners, as the objective is to think Italian not American, as the German would be the close ally to Italian to learn of the truths.
After taking an airplane to North Africa, they jump out of the plane and parachute into North Africa and land in the desert during night hour and also bury the parachutes in the sand so as to leave no evidence. After receiving a distress signal from a fellow soldier they quickly head on task all the commandos join up for the capture of the Italian base. However, after fewer of the men regroup including Dino regroup, after however reaching the Italian base, many of the unit splits into two sections or teams, they take out the guards, and they capture the radio operator as well, but after an elderly watchmen spots that a man was killed he has alerted the guards, but however this results in a huge battle, however in the battle that follows, Valli sees that he will use the prisoners as bate but as Sullivan kills few of them, Valli clashes with Sullivan and tells him they would be needed as bait for the plan, while outside there is no time for waiting around as it could get close to daylight so they have to use explosives to quickly do the trick, Riccio joins them to tell Valli and Sullivan they're is another way in, but however in the battle several of the Italian-American commandos are killed as a result of too much gunfire; however, Sullivan takes a squad to take out the machine gunner, Dino clears the gunner out,
After the soldiers have killed the Italians in their beds, they find a hooker living at the camp. Sullivan's commandos are to hold this camp and its weaponry until an American battalion arrives; however, though an Italian Hooker named Adriana (Marilù Tolo) however is a stool away in the camp, Valli tells a fellow soldier all men stay clear of the room away from Adriana, among the prisoners Italian Lieutenant Tommassini (Marino Masé) however Sullivan angrily threatens Tommassini, as why they was three Germans in the camp, later Tommassini is interrogated for information by Valli about why they was few Germans in the camp as he tells Valli, the Germans where he to mine the wells, and where meant to leave that morning, however meanwhile a German Professor named Oberieutenant Heitzel Agen (Joachim Fuchsberger) however is planning an invasion that will spark the end of allied lines for good, later on at the Italian base, Italian Mortar Trucks are coming to the Italian Oasis base, they attempt to use Tommassini as a decoy which they end up doing, as it is made to look like everyone is around camp stationed and doing fun, Aldo however kicks a ball at the Italian Truck Driver but however Aldo says he is sorry which the Driver agrees to, later on Aldo however asks what one of the men is doing with the fuel truck but he tells him he needs is a wrench and wire to which Aldo agrees to, but what they don't realize is one of the men who is the Elderly Guard, is still alive and has survived, however Aldo accompanies the man to the warehouse for wire, but he tells him it is to be used for carburetor, however though later on Tommassini is told that he will however have to play the dangerous game when convoys come everyday by Valli and Sullivan's words, however while Tommassini is locked up he makes a plan with his fellow men.
Later after receiving a call from the German's a guest named Professor Agen is coming to the Italian Camp for a meal, later in the dining room where however they use Tommassini and tell how the dining tables are set up, preparations are in full swing, when the German's arrive for the meeting and the night meals, while getting to know the Germans, the Italian-American's however get to know however all of the men while in the bar, however one of the men Oberlieutnant Rudi (Götz George) starts to worry about the four men sent to the camp, but Agen tells him to not worry about it, however Rudi is off to check around the camp to see what his boys did, but while Sullivan witnessed it, he orders Dino to check it out, however when Rudi goes to see that a cable was detached it turns out it was to avoid a certain disaster, later Dino returns telling Sullivan that however everything is back in good control, meanwhile one of the German men, Offizier Hans (Heinz Reincke) goes to see Adriana but finds she is too sleepy and drunken although Hans insists to speak to Adriana, Sullivan listens from the room but as Hans exits the door, Sullivan speaks to Hans and tells him they were up late last night which Hans agrees to, meanwhile in the dining area Professor Agen asks if he should have the last wine, but Valli agrees to let Agen have it, however meanwhile outside the two Italian-Americans who are guarding do not realize that the Elderly German Soldier is about to sneak up on one of the men, although the other went for a bottle of champagne, however though Sullivan sees they might be trouble going on but hopes to stop it, meanwhile one of the Italian-American commandos is however knocked unconscious, in the dining room, Agen hopes to give Sullivan a drink of wine but he rejects the offer but it is given to him anyway, meanwhile as the men singing in the dining room occurs, Sullivan starts to suffer from past events happened in the Pacific War fighting the Japanese, meanwhile one of men sees Sullivan who wants air but while on duty the elderly German attacks Sullivan. As a result, the elderly German soldier fires his gunshots as Sullivan quickly strangles the German who attacked him to death, but this however alerts the Germans and the men around the base, Valli demands to know who fired the shot, but however one of the men says it was a jackle however, though Professor Agen tells Valli they would have been attacked by commandos but although it does seem it wasn't a commando attack at all, after Dino congratulates Sullivan, they clear the dead Elderly German soldier out of the way, but as Sullivan soon gets a flashback of Japanese soldiers attacking Sullivan, and how the death of Freeman occurred, however Dino tells the story to Corbi about the time Sullivan's attack in the Pacific occurred how the Japs attacked him and killed Lieutenant Freeman, but explains that Dino, Sullivan and a third man survived back in the Pacific, but as Corbi soon realizes the shocking truth that he has it against Valli, Corbi tells Dino who he has found, however Dino goes to see his close friend Sullivan and asks what is bothering him, but Dino tells Sullivan to try not think about his past back in the Pacific and that its past and gone, however as Sullivan tells Dino how he got the medal in hospital for his bravery,
Later on it is time for Professor Agen, Rudi, Braumann and Hans to return to the German lines, they thank the Italian's really Americans for the night event and wish them good luck, however Tommassini goes finds a way to wonder off but Valli and his men stop him, but Tommassini ensures him he wasn't and Valli agrees, Tommassini is escorted to the brig with the remaining prisoners, but meanwhile during the night the prisoners break free from the cell, however one of the men fakes being ill and cuts the power and takes out the guards which Tommassini and his men escape, Tommassini and the men however soon take out a few of Valli's men, but not before one of the guards finds few of the men dead and soon a fight ensures, but however Tommassini and the men soon hijack a truck in the process and get away, as such Sullivan realizes they are out of range so the men must pursue them in a truck, meanwhile in the desert the truck containing Tommassini and his men stalls in the sand while trying to get away from Sullivan's patrol, Valli goes to follow the trail they went as it left tracks in the sand, but while Tommassini and his men try to get the truck out of the sand, they use their jackets to get the wheels to work but while Tommassini and the men get aboard onto the truck, Sullivan, Valli, Dino, Aldo, Corbi and several others has caught up with the stolen truck, but while it drives through the desert, most of Tommassini's men are both killed in the back of the truck, but while Sullivan's men kill many of Tommassini's men in the shootout, Dino is mortally wounded, but neither does Tommassini know he is taking the truck into a minefield where disaster is to strike, Valli realizes they have won the round and return to base soon after, but neither do they know Tommassini has secretly survived the explosion of the truck accident, meanwhile at German lines, Braumann and Miller decide on what is bout to happen which the Germans plan an invasion which will spell disaster for the Americans, but Professor Agen, and Rudi, Braumann and Miller plan to return to the Italian camp to say goodbye to them,
Meanwhile, as the men return to the base, it is too late and Dino sadly dies in Sullivan's arms from his wounds, however though Sullivan makes an effort for his dead comrade and friend to bury his body in the sand, Aldo sees in his heart how sorro he feels for Sullivan's mate Dino, but meanwhile on a Tank patrol two of them on watch on a tank spot Lieutenant Tommassini who has been saved by friendly Germans, but back at the Italian base Sullivan however does the honor of burying his dead friend Dino alone, meanwhile a friendly airplane drops a supply into the Italian base, however the new orders as Valli read was to leave out of the base immediately, and Operation Torch is to be abandoned, later Valli orders Rodolfo to make radio contact, but however Sullivan stops him in time, Sullivan soon comes face to face with Valli and torments him over arrogance for the losses of the men like what happened to Dino back their, Valli soon realizes that Sullivan is bluffing and will have him court marshalled for the crime of assaulting Valli, and despite the losses of six men that died due to Valli's arrogance and the plan he did for Operation Torch, however Corbi tells Sullivan what happened but Sullivan doesn't want to hear it out of Corbi's words, realizing Valli might get everyone killed in this mission, Valli soon will see Sullivan shot for this, but before Sullivan is able to shoot Valli, one of the men reports vehicle's are approaching, it is Professor Agen and the Germans to say goodbye to the Italians before they leave, Agen however thanks Valli for the effort, however though Agen asks about the American landings that might have upset him but as a result Agen asks what happened to Tommassini but although Valli tells that he was about to get out of their alive as Tommassini has gone to headquarters, (in reality he was already still alive and will soon be telling Agen about this on radio) as Agen is to report onto the radio, Valli accompanies Agen to the radio, as Agen reports to the radio that the Italian's are actually Italian-American commandos, but Agen however sees Valli smiling and Agen although sees good in Valli as a friend, however though Sullivan suspects Tommassini has warned them and will soon be in grave anger, however the man Hazel he talks to is to bring a column of his tanks to attack, but eventually Agen realizes the men will arrive as fast as they can to stop them, however Agen asks about Tommassini he did want to see him but realizes it was too bad he wasn't their, Valli tells to Agen that he said his goodbyes for him, however Agen and his friend Valli drink to the alliance they made and friendship they made, however Agen and Valli respect the friendship, however meanwhile Sullivan asks Corbi how much time they have got, but Sullivan orders Corbi to get the guns ready before something is about to happen, however Agen sees Sullivan again and asks him for a drink but he tells it is a special moment but an order he should obey, but as a result Sullivan refuses to drink and drops it, Valli tells Agen not to do this but Sullivan however despite his arrogance starts a huge fight against the Germans,
Sullivan wounds Agen and the a huge battle however costs many lives, Agen, Rudi, Hans try to escape in the car but they are cut off, Sullivan and Corbi destroy the wells, Hans asks Agen what are the wells about but Agen tells he doesn't know what they are as they maybe machines made to pump water, as Rudi drives away two of the Italian-American's take out Rudi's car with a bazooka, but the battle becomes costly and many Italian-Americans are killed as well as Germans in the battle, however several of the Italian-American's escape to a truck but although too late it is destroyed by Germans, Valli witnesses in horror few burning men, as Sullivan and Corbi take out the German truck with the machine gun, but as Tanks arrive, many are killed and although Aldo comments 'Someone should tell them our mission is scratched that we don't need the dam war?" to Valli, however the firepower from the tanks blows up barracks and also an Italian flag, meanwhile Agen takes his troops with him to take out the remaining Italian-Americans, Aldo also warns Valli of a incoming German Tiger Panzer Tank, however as incoming tanks arrive, Valli tells Aldo they have to go around, bur as they blow up more stuff two more Italian-American's are both killed by tank machine gun firepower and fewer more are, however the truck arrives and it to their surprise is Tommassini whom has returned to get his revenge, Tommassini sees a fuel truck and attempts to destroy it but however Aldo sees him and shoots him mortally wounding him as he reaches for the TNT, as he attempts to use it, Aldo guns Tommassini down saying his final words, "Wells, the world," as he hits the TNT which blows up the wells, only few Italian-American's are left, Valli, Sullivan, Aldo and Corbi, but however Agen kills Corbi and the other Italian-American in the process, Agen soon panics in the attack but at point range, Agen is about to shoot Valli but realizing he is a good kind friend, he screams, "No, Valli I can't, VALLI!" as Valli witnesses him and understands this, Sullivan all too well kills Agen and shoots him in the back, however Sullivan sees the dead body of Corbi on the ground and takes the bazooka to avenge for his death, Valli however tells Sullivan what is going to happen now, but Sullivan tells Valli he will carry out the plan, just as Sullivan attempts to take out the Panzer he successfully takes it out, but as he goes and makes a breakthrough to the second, Valli calls out, "Sullivan look out!" but as a result the tank fires at Sullivan mortally wounding him as Sullivan attempts to use a grenade the last thing he ever does is throw it into the caterpillars and the explosion impacts Sullivan and before Sullivan dies, he gets a last look at his memories back in the Pacific before dying from his wounds.
The only survivors are Valli and Aldo, but as Valli and Aldo finish off the remaining Germans from the Panzer Tank, Sullivan has just destroyed, Valli and Aldo look at the now dead Sullivan and understand what he died for, but suddenly Valli is shot in the back and killed by a German soldier from nowhere, allowing Aldo now the sole-surviving Italian-American commando of the mission to react, Aldo sees many dead Germans and Italian-American's that where people he knew now gone, all too silent everything seems quiet and now he is all by himself, but not before Hans, the last of Professor Agen's Junior NCO's survived the battle by himself, he nearly attempts to kill Aldo, but he sees in his heart the truth and he begins to understand Aldo's feelings and looks back the time he first met at the dining room, then seeing the truth Aldo and Hans agree a truce and they lay down their guns allowing a truce after realizing they have all their dead friends they have to bury now into graves, Aldo and Hans agree to help, together like friends they now help bury the dead soldiers including Sullivan and many others, and Agen as well, as all are lined up, Aldo and Hans now complete the dead in place and together they now await for allied Americans to come find them,
- Lee Van Cleef as Sgt. Sullivan
- Jack Kelly as Captain Valli
- Giampiero Albertini as Aldo
- Marino Masé as Italian Lt. Tomassini
- Götz George as Oberleutnant Rudi
- Pier Paolo Capponi as Corbi
- Romano Puppo as Dino
- Ivano Staccioli as Rodolfo, Radio Man
- Marilù Tolo as Adriana
- Joachim Fuchsberger as Oberleutnant Heitzel Agen (called "Professor")
- Heinz Reincke as Offizier Hans
- Helmut Schmid as Sergeant Miller
- Otto Stern as Sergeant Braumann
- Pier Luigi Anchisi as Riccio
- Gianni Brezza as Marco
- Duilio Del Prete as Bruno
In a contemporary review in the Monthly Film Bulletin, Richard Comb commented that the conclusion of the film was "the kind of meaningless apocalyptic moment much favoured when international producers get together to meditate over mutual insanity in war", and that Commandos was "rife with such rhetoric, interspersed with all the action cliches of the war movie and fitfully jerking its line with type"