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They Were Expendable (1945)

Passed  -  Drama | War  -  20 December 1945 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 4,971 users  
Reviews: 76 user | 24 critic

A dramatized account of the role of the American PT Boats in the defense of the Philippines in World War II.

Directors:

(as John Ford Captain U.S.N.R.) , (uncredited)

Writers:

(book), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: They Were Expendable (1945)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Lt. John Brickley (as Robert Montgomery Comdr. U.S.N.R. also)
...
...
...
...
'Boats' Mulcahey C.B.M.
...
Ens. 'Snake' Gardner
...
Ens. 'Andy' Andrews
...
Maj. James Morton
Arthur Walsh ...
Seaman Jones
...
Lt. 'Shorty' Long - Radio Voice
...
Ens. George Cross
Jeff York ...
Ens. Tony 'Lefty' Aiken
Murray Alper ...
'Slug' Mahan T.M.C.
Harry Tenbrook ...
'Squarehead' Larsen SC 2c
Jack Pennick ...
'Doc'
Edit

Storyline

Shortly after Pearl Harbor, a squadron of PT-boat crews in the Philipines must battle the Navy brass between skirmishes with the Japanese. The title says it all about the Navy's attitude towards the PT-boats and their crews. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Spine-Tingling Thundering Saga Of The Sea! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 December 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fuimos los sacrificados  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie was based on William L. White's book "They Were Expendable", which covered the exploits of Lt. John Bulkeley and Lt. Robert Kelly. Kelly and U.S. Army Nurse "Peggy Smith" sued MGM, John Wayne and Donna Reed for their portrayal of them in the film. Although the film follows the book fairly closely, it does portray Kelly as impetuous and "hell bound for glory." Nurse Smith is shown romantically involved with Kelly. Wayne, Reed and MGM settled out of court for a nominal sum (less than $5,000.00). See more »

Goofs

When Lt. Sandy Davys attends the 'party', Lt. JG 'Rusty' Ryan takes a big swig of his drink, spilling some of it down his face and shirt, yet in the next scene, he's completely dry. See more »

Quotes

Ens. 'Snake' Gardner: Ensign:
[Scoops liquid from tureen and tastes it]
Ens. 'Snake' Gardner: "Holy smokes cook, you call that soup?"
Boat Crew Member: Cook: "No Sir, that's dishwater."
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing quote: "We Shall Return" Douglas MacArthur, General of the Army See more »

Connections

Featured in Going Hollywood: The War Years (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

The Monkeys Have No Tails In Pago Pago
(uncredited)
Official march of the Ohillipine Constabulary
Lyrics added by G, Savoca (c.1900)
Intregrated into the indtrumental score on numerous occasion.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the Duke's best - One of Ford's best!
18 September 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

One of my earliest recollections of late night TV as a child was of boats speeding across the water with guns blazing and explosions going off all around them. I was mesmerized by how real everything looked even though it was in black and white. For reasons I didn't understand at the time, I saw those scenes several times as a small child. Obviously, my father enjoyed the movie! Didn't know who was in the movie, just knew I liked the big tall guy with the baseball cap. LOL Years later my father spoke of the movie as one of his favorites, and one Saturday night while up late working on model airplanes or ships, They Were Expendable came on and I realized that the guy in the baseball cap was my favorite actor John Wayne. A movie without all the patriotic jingoism of the day, just real people fighting a losing battle and, like Douglas MacArthur, hoping to "return" one day to fight again. Decades later a friend gave me a 2nd or 3rd edition hardbound copy of the book the movie was based on, a story of real people and real events, and I found that John Ford did the book proud. As I've gotten older and wiser, this movie has gotten better and better, with those special effects explosions still amazing me after all these years.


19 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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