7.3/10
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82 user 28 critic

They Were Expendable (1945)

Approved | | Drama, War | 31 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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From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
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
...
'Slug' Mahan T.M. 1c
...
'Squarehead' Larsen SC 2c
Jack Pennick ...
'Doc'
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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:

M-G-M Presents one of the Greatest Pictures of all Time See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 December 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Schnellboote vor Bataan  »

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  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie was based on William L. White's book "They Were Expendable", which covered the exploits of Lt. John Bulkeley and Lt. Robert Kelly. Kelly and U.S. Army Nurse "Peggy Smith" filed separate law suits against MGM, John Wayne and Donna Reed for their portrayal of them in the film. Although the film follows the book fairly closely, it does portray Kelly as impetuous and "hell bound for glory." Nurse Smith is shown romantically involved with Kelly. Wayne, Reed and MGM settled out of court for nominal sums (less than $5,000.00). See more »

Goofs

In the ending scene with the C47. The tail number starts with a '3'. This indicates the plane was build in 1943. At best it could have started with a '2' for 1942 but doubtful. See more »

Quotes

Ens. 'Snake' Gardner: [tasting liquid from a tureen] Holy smokes, Cookie, you call that soup?
'Squarehead' Larsen SC 2c: No, sir. That's dishwater.
Ens. 'Snake' Gardner: [stunned, places the ladle back in the pot] Well, uh... right, carry on.
[exits]
'Doc': Yes, sir.
'Squarehead' Larsen SC 2c: Ensigns!
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 »

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

 
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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