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They Were Expendable (1945)

Approved  |   |  Drama, War  |  20 December 1945 (USA)
7.3
Your rating:
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 5,284 users  
Reviews: 77 user | 26 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) (as Frank Wead Comdr. U.S.N. {Ret}) , 3 more credits »
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They Were Expendable (1945) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Lt. John Brickley (as Robert Montgomery Comdr. U.S.N.R.)
...
Lt. (J.G.) 'Rusty' Ryan
...
...
...
...
Ens. 'Snake' Gardner
...
Ens. 'Andy' Andrews
...
Major James Morton
Arthur Walsh ...
Seaman Jones
...
Lt. (J.G.) 'Shorty' Long / Radio Announcer
...
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

Screenwriter Frank Wead was kept close at hand for any required rewrites, as John Ford would delight in changing scenes or taking advantage of breaks. One day a fire broke out on nearby Key Biscayne, so Ford sent a second unit there to film it for the attack on Manila Bay. "Ford was always taking unexpected shots, like this one of Manila burning," Wayne later remembered. "He would use any situation that developed. If it was raining when the script did not call for rain, he shot it in the rain and changed the script. He had this blueprint, sure, but he was always looking to change it." See more »

Goofs

Both American aircraft shown in the film (a Piper J5A observation plane and a Douglas C-47 transport) carry the national insignia markings of a white star in a blue roundel, which was authorized on August 18, 1942. This is incorrect for the period depicted in the film (early December 1941 through late April 1942), when U.S. insignia was a white star inside a blue roundel with a red ball in the middle of the white star. See more »

Quotes

'Slug' Mahan T.M. 1c: Mr. Ryan, this has gone far enough! That 41 boat is always hoggin' the good jobs, sir.
Seaman Jones: We'll get all the soaking we need on our way up to hit the Japs, sir.
'Squarehead' Larsen SC 2c: What are we gonna do, sit around on our duffs till they get back, sir?
Ens. 'Snake' Gardner: 41 can't handle this job alone... sir.
Lt. 'Rusty' Ryan: How about it, sir?
Lt. John Brickley: Okay. But if she starts taking water, turn back. Sir.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Edited into Malaya (1949) See more »

Soundtracks

The Caisson Song
(uncredited)
Written by Edmund L. Gruber, William Bryden & Robert Danford
[Instrumental version integrated into background score.]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Monkeys Have No Tails in Samboango
22 November 2000 | by (AR) – See all my reviews

Wayne and Ford at their peak.

Somehow I missed this film until a few years ago on a cable movie channel. Growing up with WWII as the dominant theme of modern history and an appreciation of the older film stars, this film is without question the most realistic in terms of the message and of just passed events with superb performances in the old morality style of the 40's.

The old Navy, surviving in the Asiatic backwater where promotions could take years, bears the brunt of the onslaught of total war for America. A heroic tragedy of holding the line to bide time for the Nation to recover.

A story for all time, the greatest war movie of all time. No matter how large the budget and digital special effects, they will never capture the texture and feel of this film. The dying of the old Navy from Yangtze to Cavite with gutsy sailors like "Boats" living hard in the backwater paradise of the Pacific on $20 a month.

The tragedy of continuing defeat, overwhelming catastrophic events, the ill prepared Nation, the dying of the old Navy, all combine to make this film, made with event still fresh in the actors and film makers minds, a statement of that war and of the heroes which the audience knew first hand. It says, we knew these men and boys and they were as fine a heroes this country has ever produced and they will live larger than life for as long as this film exists.


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