The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
20 user 5 critic

The Purple Testament 

A U.S. army lieutenant serving in the Philippines during WWII develops a harrowing ability to see in the faces of the men of his platoon, who will be the next ones to die.


Richard L. Bare


Rod Serling




Episode complete credited cast:
Rod Serling ... Narrator (voice)
Dick York ... Capt. Phil Riker
William Reynolds ... Lt. Fitzgerald
William Phipps ... Sergeant
Barney Phillips ... Capt. E.L. Gunther
S. John Launer ... Lieutenant Colonel
Michael Vandever ... Smitty
Paul Mazursky ... Orderly
Marc Cavell ... Freeman
Warren Oates ... Jeep Driver
Ron Masak ... Harmonica Man


In the Philippines in 1945, army Lt. Fitzgerald has developed the disturbing ability to look into his men's faces and know who will be killed in the next battle. He says it's like a light is shined on their face. His superior, Capt. Phil Riker, consults the medical officer but he finds nothing conclusive. Fitzgerald passes out when visiting one of his wounded men in the hospital after he sees the light on his face. When he sees the light on Riker's face, he begs him not to go out. After they return from the operation, he sees that there will be one other casualty that day. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

12 February 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Purple Testament See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode takes place in the Philippines in January 1945. See more »


Rod Serling's narration says at the end of that the title phrase Purple Testament comes from the William Shakespeare play "Richard III". It is actually Richard II, Act 3, Scene 3. See more »


Rod Serling - Narrator: [Opening Narration] Infantry platoon, U.S. Army, Phillipine Islands, 1945. These are the faces of the young men who fight, as if some omniscient painter had mixed a tube of oils that were at one time earth brown, dust gray, blood red, beard black, and fear - yellow white, and these men were the models. For this is the province of combat, and these are the faces of war.
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The Caissons Go Rolling Along
Written by Edmund L. Gruber
Arranged by Lucien Moraweck
See more »

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User Reviews

There is a good Mexican variation... Macario...
3 October 2006 | by kineticaSee all my reviews

I know how the lieutenant in this episode feels. I've had similar occurrences from time to time. I would rather have them disproved... though some people would rather heighten the experience...

Very well done, and just a fantastic episode from a fantastic series, that modern imitations don't equal in elegance.

It is great to see Dick York full of vigor, having seen his last years was tough. The light and use of black and white add well.

It is amazing what they could accomplish in just 30 minutes... of which only about 22 comprise the episode. Simple, inexpensive, yet entertaining.

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