Retreat, Hell! is a 1952 American film about the 1st Marine Division in the Korean War directed by Joseph H. Lewis.
The film is the story of the putting together of a Marine Battalion sent to Korea who are gathered from various sources. It stars Frank Lovejoy as a career Marine battalion commander who at the beginning of the film is recalled from work at an American embassy, Richard Carlson as a veteran captain and communications specialist of World War II called up from the Marine Corps Reserves, Russ Tamblyn as a seventeen year old private who hides his true age to serve with the unit overseas and outdo his older brother also a Marine, and Nedrick Young (credited as Ned Young) as a Marine sergeant. Also appearing in the film is Peter Julien Ortiz, a highly decorated Marine who served in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and appeared in several films.
The film's rapid pace begins with the formation and training of the battalion, the amphibious landing at the Battle of Inchon, the advance through North Korea where the Winter Chinese Communist Offensive sends the Marines into a fighting withdrawal to the staging area at HÅngnam Harbor "...with rifles, grenades, bayonets, our bare fists if we have to" (quoting the battalion commander), hence the title.
It also has its human moments: In one scene, the private (Tamblyn), who was looking for his older Marine brother, was led to a row of dead Marines. One of them, he discovered unfortunately, was his dead brother. Being the only surviving one, the battalion commander (Lovejoy) was forced to send him back Stateside as per regulation of sole survivors. The Chinese Communist offensive put these on hold for the moment, and he was nearly killed during the withdrawal in a snowstorm until saved by a joint American-British force.
Variety called it a "top-notch war drama" for the way it balanced tense action with a more human face of the war, anticipating film-making trends that would become more common twenty years later. The film's running time is 94 minutes.