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They Were Expendable (1945)

 -  Drama | War  -  20 December 1945 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 5,051 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), 3 more credits »
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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
...
Major James Morton
Arthur Walsh ...
Seaman Jones
...
...
Ens. George Cross
Jeff York ...
Ens. Tony Aiken
Murray Alper ...
'Slug' Mahan T.M. 1c
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:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 December 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fuimos los sacrificados  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

PT boats were torpedo-armed fast attack craft used by the US Navy in World War II. "PT" is the US hull classification symbol for "Patrol Torpedo". The PT boat squadrons were nicknamed "the mosquito fleet" because of their small size, high speed and maneuverability. They were made of mahogany plywood and powered by three 12-cylinder gasoline-fueled aircraft engines. They were capable of speeds of up to 40 knots (46 mph). They carried four Mark 8 torpedoes, two twin M2 .50-cal. machine guns and, in some cases, a 20mm Oerlikon cannon. See more »

Goofs

The same scene with a PT boat running under some air burst shells and dodging some water explosions is shown twice, reusing the footage to extend the fighting scene. See more »

Quotes

Lt. 'Rusty' Ryan: Listen sister, I don't dance!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: Manila Bay In the Year of Our Lord Nineteen hundred and Forty-one See more »

Connections

Referenced in Forecast (1945) See more »

Soundtracks

Red River Valley
(uncredited)
Instrumental version heard when Dad is left alone to meet the oncoming Japanese.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Gem
14 July 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Very few, if any, WW2 films are better than this. I first saw it several years ago on a wet miserable Saturday afternoon in winter and subsequently taped it at the next showing. I have seen it several times since then.

Despite not living through this difficult time I can imagine it capturing how the US forces felt in the early days of the Pacific war. As the film states, these are the men who laid down the initial sacrifice that others built on. They were no doubt aware of this, and that escape before the Japanese arrived was their only real chance of survival.

John Ford created a basically solemn film in keeping with the times. Action is pretty minimal but this does not detract from the film at all. Solid performances from all the caste and one of John Wayne's best performances. Some of the action sequences could have been better (but it was made over 50 years ago), a bit too much of men jumping on and off MTB's, and the dinner scene between Wayne and Donna Reed did nothing for me. A downbeat ending with some crew going off to help plan for later battles and others marching off to almost certain death, but it is in keeping with what the US forces faced at the time.

Recent good WW2 films such as Saving Private Ryan and Thin Red Line show what can be achieved now with a big budget and huge technical advances, but it doesn't make them any better than this film.

I only hope it comes out in DVD in the UK. 9 out of 10.


24 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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