QUICK DISCUSSION QUESTION:
The American soldiers were afraid much of the time. Were they cowards?
Fear is a feeling, not an action. The word “cowardice” describes actions, not feelings. Many heroes feel fear but they act like heroes. In the situation in which these soldiers found themselves feeling afraid was a realistic appraisal of their situation. Their actions were something very different.
1. See Discussion Questions for Use With any Film that is a Work of Fiction.
2. Why did the Germans insist upon staging a battle scene at their bivouac?
3. Why was the Jewish member of the American unit able to communicate with the Germans?
4. Why was it ironic that the German unit had to negotiate the terms of its surrender with the only Jewish member of the American unit?
See Learning Guide to “Cyrano de Bergerac” for a discussion of irony.
5. What went wrong in the efforts to arrange this surrender? What were the mistakes and by whom were they made?
6. What were the signals sent by the German unit that it wanted to be friends?
7. Did the attitude of the American soldiers toward their officers cause them to become insubordinate? How do you reconcile the independence of mind of Americans with the obedience required of soldiers in the military?
8. What is the “law of unintended consequences” and how did it operate in this film?