Samuel Fuller

The Steel Helmet

The Steel Helmet

The Steel Helmet marked Samuel Fuller's official arrival as a mighty cinematic force. Despite its relatively low budget, this portrait of Korean War soldiers dealing with moral and racial identity crises remains one of the director's most gripping, realistic depictions of the blood and guts of war, as well as a reflection of Fuller's irreducible social conscience. So controversial were the film's comments on domestic and war crimes (American bigotry, the Japanese-American WWII internment camps) that Fuller became the target of an FBI investigation.

Film Info

  • United States
  • 1951
  • 84 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.33:1
  • English

Available In

Collector's Set

Eclipse Series 5: The First Films of Samuel Fuller

The First Films of Samuel Fuller

DVD Box Set

3 Discs


The Steel Helmet
Gene Evans
Sergeant Zack
Robert Hutton
Private "Conchie" Bronte
Steve Brodie
Lieutenant Driscoll
James Edwards
Corporal Thompson
Richard Loo
Sergeant "Buddha-Head" Tanaka
Sid Melton
Joe, Second GI
Richard Monahan
Private Baldy
Harold Fong
The Red
Neyle Morrow
First GI
Samuel Fuller
Samuel Fuller
Samuel Fuller
Ernest Miller
Philip Cahn
Associate producer
William Berke
Art direction
Theobold Holsopple
Paul Dunlap


Juice, with Lots of Pulp: Samuel Fuller’s Brainquake
Juice, with Lots of Pulp: Samuel Fuller’s Brainquake

A review of the American auteur’s posthumously published novel

By Michael Atkinson

Bill Hader’s Top 10
Bill Hader’s Top 10

In compiling his top ten Criterion editions, Hader says, “I couldn’t pick ten . . . sorry. So I programmed Criterion double features, which is what I tend to do on Sunday nights anyway.”


Samuel Fuller

Writer, Producer, Director

Samuel Fuller
Samuel Fuller

Crime reporter, freelance journalist, pulp novelist, screenwriter, World War II infantryman—Samuel Fuller was a jack of all trades before the high-school dropout directed his first film at age thirty-six. But once he was contacted by Poverty Row producer Robert L. Lippert, a fan of his writing, Fuller was turned on to cinema—his true calling. A singularly audacious visionary of the B-movie variety, Fuller would make muscular, minuscule pictures, starting with the one-two-three punch of I Shot Jesse James, The Baron of Arizona, and The Steel Helmet—the last a raw Korean War saga that was one of the few films of the period to address racism in America. Soon after, Fuller was scooped up by Twentieth Century Fox, but he was able to maintain his purposefully crude, elegantly stripped-down style and teeth-bared cynicism for such studio efforts as Fixed Bayonets! and Pickup on South Street. Eventually, Fuller returned to independent filmmaking, and in the sixties (after his artistic cred had been given a shot in the arm by the French New Wavers’ embrace of him as a major stylistic influence), he directed two of his most acclaimed titles, the pulpy and profound Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss, both corrosive satires of American culture. Even in his career’s twilight, Fuller didn’t shy away from controversy: his early eighties social horror film White Dog was shelved by the studio for more than a decade due to its provocative, bloody investigation of American racism.