The story's focus is on the four privates who survive the war from beginning to end with their sergeant, becoming known as "The Sergeant's Four Horsemen" as early as Sicily. The body of the movie consists of a series of episodes highlighting the insanity and grotesqueness of war.
The film starts at the end of the First World War and is shown in black and white. A shell shocked black horse threatens the sergeant (Lee Marvin) and damages his rifle. He then kills a German soldier who approaches with his arms raised in surrender and muttering that the war is over. The camera moves away from the action and towards a life-size wooden crucifix in the background, the wood infested with termites.
When he returns to his company's deserted headquarters he is told that the war ended "about four hours ago." Killing versus murder is a theme that repeats throughout the film. The 1st Division logo is shown in color.
The film then transitions to the sergeant as he leads a squad of men through North Africa, Sicily, then on to the D-Day landings, where they land on Omaha Beach at the start of the Battle of Normandy.
The squad crosses the same field where the sergeant killed the surrendering German decades before, which now contains a memorial:
Johnson: Would you look at how fast they put the names of all our guys who got killed?
The Sergeant: That's a World War One memorial.
Johnson: But the names are the same.
The Sergeant: They always are.
The squad then treks though Europe, ending up at the liberation of Falkenau concentration camp (a subcamp of Flossenbürg) in Czechoslovakia.
At the end of the film, the sergeant is in a forest, at night, having just buried a young boy he had befriended after liberating a concentration camp. A German soldier approaches, attempting to surrender, and the sergeant stabs him. His squad then arrives and informs him that the war ended "about four hours ago." This time, as the squad walks away, one of his men notices that the German is still alive; the sergeant and his men work frantically to save the life of the wounded German soldier.
P/S : Antara cerita klasik yang susah nk jumpa kat kedai. Kalau terjumpa tu terus ler beli.