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Back to Bataan (1945)

Approved  |   |  Drama, War  |  31 May 1945 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 2,532 users  
Reviews: 27 user | 12 critic

In 1942, after the fall of the Philippines to the Japanese, U.S. Army Col. Joseph Madden stays behind to organize the local resistance against the Japanese invaders.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Capt. Andrés Bonifácio
...
Fely Franquelli ...
Richard Loo ...
Philip Ahn ...
Col. Coroki
Alex Havier ...
Sgt. Bernessa (as J. Alex Havier)
'Ducky' Louie ...
Maximo Cuenca
...
Lt. Cmdr. Waite
Leonard Strong ...
Gen. Homma
...
Bindle Jackson
Abner Biberman ...
Japanese Captain
Vladimir Sokoloff ...
Señor Buenaventura J. Bello
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Storyline

The US Army's defense of its Philippines colony and the allied Malay countries/colonies behind it counted on its island fortress of Corregidor on Luzon -and a few others- but loses it in the 6 May 1942 Japanese combined forces attack. Colonel Joseph Madden is among the escaping survivors who are ordered by general Douglas McArthur to organize a guerrilla. As he finds many native Filipinos inclined to resist the occupier's vision of returning to the South Asian fold under a paternalistic empire which doesn't hesitate to 'spank the unruly', but is mainly civilian, unprepared, inept in military matters, Madden appeals to the legendary anti-US freedom fighter Andres Bonifácio's homonymous grandson Captain Andrés Bonifácio, who is luckily rescued from a POW dead march, to inspire the resistance -once his own fighting spirit is rekindled- with him in a still very unsure war, retaliated by bloody, ten to one repression. When the Japanese realize the people side against them, they stage fake ... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"GET YOUR WEAPON FROM A JAP!",,,but you'll have to kill him first! (original poster) See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 May 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Invisible Army  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The state of the war in World War II was an ever-changing dynamic and two thirds of the way through production, the American invasion of the Philippines took place. As such, script changes and re-writes needed to be made to keep up to date with the current status of the war. See more »

Goofs

During the climatic battle, we see Quinn crawling through the mud with his Thompson as a Japanese truck is bearing down on him. Wayne peppers the truck with machine gun fire, causing it to crash. A second later you see Quinn join up with Wayne and he's perfectly clean. See more »

Quotes

Maj. Hasko: I send out 100 men, they find nothing. I send out ten men, they don't come back.
See more »

Crazy Credits

8 minutes into the film: "Americans had been freed- hundreds of them. This was a promise of what was to come. Soon the whole world would be free. But behind the rescue of these men, behind the triumphs yet to come, there is another story- the story of the resistance of the Filipino people. This is the story of that resistance. It begins in one of the darkest hours in our history on the island fortress of Corregidor." See more »

Connections

Featured in The John Wayne Anthology (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An All-Too- Rare Look at Filipino Resistance
29 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The only thing that distinguishes "Back to Bataan" from scores of other routine war films is its historical theme, which remains an uncommon and important one. Few young Americans today have even heard of the Filipino and American disaster at Corregidor and the Bataan Death March that followed, during which numerous sick and hungry prisoners of war were beaten and killed by their Japanese guards. Although the movie accurately portrays the spirit of Filipino resistance to the Japanese, the individual characters from John Wayne down are cut from the usual Hollywood cardboard. Even the real American survivors of Japanese imprisonment, filmed here some months after their liberation during the invasion of the Philippines, are shown, supposedly right after they got out of the Japanese prison camp, freshly shaved and with neatly trimmed hair. Similarly, the guerrilla force led by John Wayne looks little the worse for wear even after two and half years of jungle warfare (whixh seem like about a week in this movie).

The Japanese lynching of the school principal is well handled. The man has not set out to be a hero, but put under the gun, literally, he is simply unable to haul down the American flag. The invaders hang him as an example.

Despite its weaknesses, "Back to Bataan" is still watchable and even enjoyable as a different view of World War II, especially if you're a high-schooler who hasn't yet become too cynical about Hollywood war movies. John Wayne and Anthony Quinn are their usual solid selves, and Beulah Bondi (as a naive but tough American matron)is an unusual asset in this kind of action film.


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