Pete’s Peek | Audie Murphy’s To Hell And Back still packs a punch


Given the ongoing media coverage on the deaths of British soldiers fighting out in Afghanistan, To Hell and Back, is a gentle reminder of the heroism and bravery of those who risk their lives to fight for their country.

Released in 1955, To Hell and Back, is based on the 1949 best-selling autobiography of famed US Western star Audie Murphy, detailing his service in the US Army during World War II. The outbreak of war saw Murphy, the eldest son of poor Texas farmers, eager to enlist. But his age and height saw him rejected until he faked his age and was finally accepted as an infantryman.

Following basic training, Murphy is shipped out to North Africa, where he finds himself the butt of jokes because of his boyish looks. But he soon proves himself in battle, and earns himself a commission. During subsequent conflicts in Italy and France, Murphy gains the respect of his fellow soldiers, and his bravery in holding back a German attack in Holtzwihr, France in 1945 finally earns him the Medal of Honor.

In its day To Hell and Back was a phenomenal success and a truly inspirational story. It would also become Universal’s biggest hit until Jaws in 1975. While it may seem strange seeing Murphy playing himself, he really is the best choice for this biopic, not the least because Murphy proves that despite youthfulness and being short of stature, you can still be a giant among men.

Released 30 November