The World War II drama also stars Bill Murray, John Goodman and Clooney buddy Matt Damon

By Andrea Billups
Updated October 11, 2013 11:30 AM
Claudette Barius/Columbia Pictures

After an end-of-summer smash as an astronaut in Gravity, George Clooney will be back onscreen for the holidays, this time in dashing military uniform, saving the world from the Nazis and priceless art from Hitler’s grasp.

He gets some help in this feel-good war drama from Bill Murray, John Goodman and Matt Damon. But it’s Cate Blanchett, looking pristine in World War II period garb, who appears to steal the show – at least as far as things look in the newly released trailer for The Monuments Men, set to open Dec. 18.

“How can I help you steal our stolen art?” ponders a gamine and decidedly French-acting Blanchett in the film, co-written and directed by Clooney.

As Nazi forces are making a run to conquer Europe and taking priceless art treasures with them, Clooney leads a French and American crew of art curators, architects, museum directors – dubbed “monuments men” – that steps in alongside U.S. forces and behind enemy lines to steal the art back before Hitler can destroy it.

“They tell us who cares about art? But they are wrong. It is the exact reason we are fighting. For culture. For a way of life,” Clooney’s character, George Stout, says in defense of the brave heist.

“While we must and will win this war, we should also remember the high price that will be paid if the very foundation of modern society is destroyed,” he states.

Others taking part in the war caper to save the world’s masterpieces are The Artist‘s Oscar-winning Best Actor Jean Dujardin and Hugh Bonneville of TV’s Downton Abbey.

The film, shot primarily in Germany, is based on a book by author Robert Edsel about World War II troops sent on a mission by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to save stolen art and return it to its proper owners.