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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 5,123 users  
Reviews: 76 user | 25 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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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.)
...
...
...
...
'Boats' Mulcahey C.B.M.
...
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:

The Book That Thrilled Millions 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

At the funeral service for two of his servicemen who died in battle, John Wayne's character Lt. Ryan reads "Requiem," a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson. 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: Are you kidding, Brick?
Lt. John Brickley: Theirs not to reason why. Theirs but to do...
Lt. 'Rusty' Ryan: And die... but I don't want to be bored to death running messages!
Lt. John Brickley: I'll see that you get the more intriguing ones.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: John Wayne (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

The Monkeys Have No Tails in Zamboanga
(uncredited)
Music adapted from the official march of the Philippine Constabulary
Written by by G. Savoca (lyrics)
[Sung in the officer's club at the beginning of the movie.]
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.


20 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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