Sam-Epstein-John-Goodman-George-Clooney-Matt-Damon-and-Bob-Balaban-in-The-Monuments-MenComing hot on the heels of the first official images surfacing from the movie, the first trailer for George Clooney’s highly anticipated The Monuments Men has now landed online.

The film has been prominent on the Oscar radar ever since it was first announced, seeing Clooney return behind the helm following 2011’s The Ides of March. And with this first trailer, via Apple, comes the first good look at what is sure to be one of the most talked-about films of the year come December.

Based on the true story of the greatest treasure hunt in history, The Monuments Men focuses on an unlikely World War II platoon, tasked by FDR with going into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and returning them to their rightful owners. It would be an impossible mission: with the art trapped behind enemy lines, and with the German army under orders to destroy everything as the Reich fell, how could these guys – seven museum directors, curators, and art historians, all more familiar with Michelangelo than the M-1 – possibly hope to succeed? But as the Monuments Men, as they were called, found themselves in a race against time to avoid the destruction of 1000 years of culture, they would risk their lives to protect and defend mankind’s greatest achievements.

Clooney is once more on both sides of the camera, starring alongside  Matt Damon, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, Hugh Bonneville, and Bob Balaban.

Frequent collaborator Grant Heslov (Good Night, and Good Luck., The Ides of March) is reuniting with Clooney again, with the two co-writing the script. And they’ve adapted the original book, The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, by Robert M. Edsel.

The Monuments Men will be released in the US on December 18th, and will head across the Atlantic for a 9th January release, in perfect time for the likes of the Oscars and BAFTAs, which are already on the horizon.

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