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They Were Expendable (1945)

Passed  -  Drama | War  -  20 December 1945 (USA)
7.4
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 4,686 users  
Reviews: 74 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)

They Were Expendable (1945) on IMDb 7.4/10

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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. also)
...
...
...
Gen. Martin
...
'Boats' Mulcahey C.B.M.
...
Ens. 'Snake' Gardner
Paul Langton ...
Ens. 'Andy' Andrews
...
Maj. James Morton
Arthur Walsh ...
Seaman Jones
Donald Curtis ...
Lt. 'Shorty' Long - Radio Voice
...
Ens. George Cross
Jeff York ...
Ens. Tony 'Lefty' 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 Tribute to Those Who Did So Much . . . With So Little! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 December 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

They Were Expendable  »

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

"Dad" Knowlton, the shipwright who repairs the PT boats, has a poignant little scene in which he refuses to leave the place he's lived and worked for 40 years, although the Japanese are advancing. Rusty Ryan, John Wayne's character, finally leaves Dad sitting alone on his porch with a rifle in his hands and a jug of moonshine between his knees, as "Red River Valley" plays in the background. How eerily reminiscent of The Grapes of Wrath (1940), which is particularly appropriate because Dad is played by Russell Simpson, whom John Ford directed as Pa Joad in 1940. 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

Referenced in John Wayne: On Board with the Duke (1997) 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.


60 of 68 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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