MONUMENTS MEN – A Review by John Strange

Monuments Men - Wide


By: John ’Doc’ Strange

Directed by: George Clooney

Cast: George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville, Dimitri Leonidas

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for some images of war violence and historical smoking)

Selig Rating: FULL PRICE

Runtime: 118 Min.

During World War II, the Allies realized that while we had a good chance to win the war, the Germans did not plan to allow the art and other treasures leave their possession.  They had plans to destroy all of it rather than allow us to reclaim them.

Enter the Monuments Men, a team of museum directors, curators, and art historians.  The film follows seven of the roughly 300 men and women who accepted the task of working along and sometimes in front of our frontlines to find and recapture these treasures.  Led by Frank Stokes (George Clooney), the team consisted of James Granger (Matt Damon), Richard Campbell (Bill Murray), Walter Garfield (John Goodman), Jean Claude Clermont (Jean Dujardin), Donald Jeffries (Hugh Bonneville), and Preston Savitz (Bob Balaban).

In England for their basic training, they meet Sam Epstein (Dimitri Leonidas), a German Jew whose family fled Germany before the war.  Sam’s ability to translate (and eavesdrop) comes in handy many times.

Arriving on the continent at Normandy, the team immediately encounters opposition to their orders.  The Allied commanders thought these men were nuts!  Protect art and buildings when that protection might cost the lives of their men?  No chance of that! 

Left on their own, they exercise their talents to get by.  Soon they are rushing around the front tracking down rumors and researching clues.  All of this rushing is not without danger.  In between some amazing scenes full of humor are examples of the great danger they live with.

This is an excellent film based on the true story of the men and women who recovered roughly 5 million items by the end of the war.  If you want to learn more about the Monuments Men, check out the 2006 documentary, The Rape of Europa, and The Monuments Men Foundation website,

Movie Site:

The Selig Rating Scale:

FULL PRICE – Excellent movie, well worth the price
MATINEE – Good movie
DOLLAR – OK movie
CABLE – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
FREEBIE – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.
COMMERCIAL TV – Commercials and cutting to the allotted time will not hurt this one.
FORGET IT! – Bad. If you see this one, do yourself a favor and keep it to yourself.
GET YOUR TORCHES – BAD! – Burn the script, the writer, the director and maybe even the actors!

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