7.3/10
6,362
86 user 28 critic

They Were Expendable (1945)

Approved | | Drama, War | 31 December 1945 (USA)
The PT boat unit Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Three defends the Philippines from Japanese invasion during 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.)
...
...
...
General Martin
...
...
...
...
Major James Morton
Arthur Walsh ...
...
...
Ens. George Cross
...
Ens. Tony Aiken
...
...
Jack Pennick ...
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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:

A Spine-Tingling Thundering Saga Of The Sea! 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 more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie was based on the exploits of Lt. John Bulkeley, a World War II Medal of Honor recipient. 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

'Slug' Mahan T.M. 1c: Mr. Ryan, this has gone far enough! That 41 boat is always hoggin' the good jobs, sir.
Seaman Jones: We'll get all the soaking we need on our way up to hit the Japs, sir.
'Squarehead' Larsen SC 2c: What are we gonna do, sit around on our duffs till they get back, sir?
Ens. 'Snake' Gardner: 41 can't handle this job alone... sir.
Lt. 'Rusty' Ryan: How about it, sir?
Lt. John Brickley: Okay. But if she starts taking water, turn back. Sir.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in The John Wayne Anthology (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Red River Valley
(uncredited)
Traditional
Instrumental version heard when Dad is left alone to meet the oncoming Japanese.
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User Reviews

 
perhaps the best of the American war flicks made during the war
26 January 2006 | by See all my reviews

This movie is so exceptionally well-written, acted and directed. Although I am a big fan of some of John Wayne's other war pictures such as The Flying Tigers and The Fighting Sea Bees, these films are not exactly realistic and make it look like Wayne and his friends could have almost single-handedly beaten the Japanese! But, with They Were Expendible, the over-the-top heroism and exploits are instead replaced with grim determination against the odds and a quiet dignity. Because of that, to me, the impact of this film was much more lasting and heart-felt. Realism is key to this picture.

Oh, and by the way, Robert Montgomery gets top billing because when the film was made he was the bigger star--Wayne's rise to the top in Hollywood was still to come. I really see this more as Wayne's film as his part seemed BIGGER and he seemed to get at least as much screen time as Montgomery.

This would be an excellent film for teens, as it focuses on glory and heroism without glorifying death or trivializing our sacrifices.


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