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They Were Expendable (1945)

Passed  -  Drama | War  -  20 December 1945 (USA)
7.4
Your rating:
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 4,812 users  
Reviews: 76 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)
...
...
...
...
'Boats' Mulcahey C.B.M.
...
Ens. 'Snake' Gardner
...
Ens. 'Andy' Andrews
...
Maj. James Morton
Arthur Walsh ...
Seaman Jones
...
Lt. 'Shorty' Long - Radio Voice
...
Ens. George Cross
Jeff York ...
Ens. Tony 'Lefty' Aiken
Murray Alper ...
'Slug' Mahan T.M.C.
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:

Fuimos los sacrificados  »

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

In a scene on the docks, a ship named the Lucien P. Libby is in the background. In the biography "John Ford: A Bio-bibliography" by Bill Levy, there is a reference to John Ford being influenced by two teachers during his four years at Portland High School. One was an English teacher, Lucien Libby, who "helped the boy with his writing, encouraged Ford's reading, and stimulated thinking with witty comic teaching." See more »

Goofs

During the aircraft strafing scenes when LTjg Ryan is injured, the planes are attacking from astern of the boats. The bullet strikes on the boat start from the starboard bow and go across the boat to the port side, indicating a frontal attack. 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

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

Red River Valley
(uncredited)
Instrumental version heard when Dad is left alone to meet the oncoming Japanese.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Probably the greatest WWII film of its era.
27 May 2003 | by (Tulsa) – See all my reviews

Rather than re-hash Tom Martin's excellent review of the film, I would rather provide some personal reflections.

This really is the most human of all the late-era WWII films, minus much of the blatantly propagandistic speeches that mar so many movies from that era. Rather, the dialogue is beautifully understated. Robert Montgomery's "looking for the Arizona too" comment to Wayne sums up the feelings of its time much more than a five minute speech on how important it is to win the war could ever do.

The cinematography is top notch, as it is in most of Ford's films. Watching this I believe we can definately see how Orson Welles would be influenced by his work over the years.

Robert Montgomery's work here is fantastic; again, as Martin states in his review, probably his best work in front of the camera. He seems war-weary (and in one of the Duke's biographies this is probably how Montgomery really was at this time, as he had seen quite a bit of action during the war before the film was made). John Wayne's character provides us with proof that he truly was a great actor. Watch the scene where he sits in a bar listening to a broadcast from San Francisco about the fall of Coregidor; his emotions are completely shown by the camera; no "let's get them dirty so-and-so's" speeches here, this is pure, wordless acting.

All in all, a great film; the best of the WWII era, and certainly one of the best of the 1940's. No hesitations here on my score: 10* out of 10.


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

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