Retreat, Hell! is out of favor with most disciples of director Joseph H. Lewis, partly because it was a major-studio release, whereas Lewis' cult classics were made on shoestring budgets for independent producers. Despite this "handicap," Retreat, Hell! holds up beautifully when seen today. The faintly scatological title is based on a defiant quote from General Oliver P. Smith, which gained fame during the Korean War. Frank Lovejoy stars as Marine Batallion Commander Steve Corbett, whose men valiantly fight their way towards the Changjin Reservoir, then just as valiantly fight their way back to their own lines. The film's dramatic conflict is in the hands of Richard Carlson, cast as reservist Captain Paul Hanson, who is forced to leave hearth and home when his country calls upon him. Others in the cast include Russ Tamblyn in his first "adult" role, future-director Lamont Johnson, and real-life war hero Peter Ornitz.