It was made in 1971, and tells of a valley invaded and occupied by mercenary soldiers during the Thirty Years War in Germany. Despite superb acting performances, particularly from Michael Caine and Omar Sharif, it was a box office failure, probably because it reflected (accurately) the nihilism, confusion and pointlessness of those nightmare years across Europe. Wikipedia quotes George MacDonald Fraser, one of my favorite writers, as saying of it:
“The plot left me bewildered – in fact the whole bloody business is probably an excellent microcosm of the Thirty Years’ War, with no clear picture of what is happening and half the cast ending up dead to no purpose. To that extent, it must be rated a successful film. … As a drama, The Last Valley is not remarkable; as a reminder of what happened in Central Europe, 1618-48, and shaped the future of Germany, it reads an interesting lesson.”
That’s why I enjoyed it. As a student of history, I found it very accurate.
Whether or not it was commercially successful, its soundtrack, composed by John Barry, is also intriguing. Here are selections from it.
The movie isn’t played often, due to its lack of commercial success, but it’s available on Amazon.