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They Were Expendable (1945)

Approved | | Drama, War | 20 December 1945 (USA)
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})
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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.)
...
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 Tribute to Those Who Did So Much . . . With So Little! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 December 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Schnellboote vor Bataan  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

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

Robert Montgomery was able to draw on his activity as an actual PT commander (at Guadalcanal and Normandy), as could James Curtis Havens, one of the second unit directors and the film's explosives expert. 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: [as they watch the inspectors drive away] Wonderful the way people believe in those high powered canoes of yours.
Lt. John Brickley: Don't you believe in them, Rusty?
Lt. 'Rusty' Ryan: And I let you sell me that stuff about a command of my own.
Lt. John Brickley: You're skipper of the 34 boat, aren't you?
Lt. 'Rusty' Ryan: I used to skipper a cake of soap in the bathtub, too.
[He walks off]
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 Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: John Wayne (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

The Battle Hymn of the Republic
(uncredited)
Written by William Steffe (lyrics) & Julia Ward Howe (lyrics)
[Heard under last shot of airplane leaving.]
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.


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