MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 119 this week

They Were Expendable (1945)

Approved  |   |  Drama, War  |  20 December 1945 (USA)
7.3
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 5,214 users  
Reviews: 77 user | 26 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) (as Frank Wead Comdr. U.S.N. {Ret}) , 3 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

ON DISC

IMDb Picks: April

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in April.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 30 titles
created 24 Oct 2010
 
a list of 22 titles
created 29 Mar 2011
 
a list of 49 titles
created 02 Jun 2011
 
a list of 28 titles
created 11 Feb 2012
 
a list of 44 titles
created 8 months ago
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: They Were Expendable (1945)

They Were Expendable (1945) on IMDb 7.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of They Were Expendable.

User Polls

Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In 1942, after the fall of the Philippines to the Japanese, U.S. Army Col. Joseph Madden stays behind to organize the local resistance against the Japanese invaders.

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: John Wayne, Anthony Quinn, Beulah Bondi
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Captain Nathan Brittles, on the eve of retirement, takes out a last patrol to stop an impending massive Indian attack. Encumbered by women who must be evacuated, Brittles finds his mission imperiled.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Construction workers in World War II in the Pacific are needed to build military sites, but the work is dangerous and they doubt the ability of the Navy to protect them. After a series of ... See full summary »

Director: Edward Ludwig
Stars: John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Dennis O'Keefe
Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A biography of Navy flier-turned-screenwriter Frank W. "Spig" Wead.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Dan Dailey
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Aboard the freighter Glencairn, the lives of the crew are lived out in fear, loneliness, suspicion and cameraderie. The men smuggle drink and women aboard, fight with each other, spy on ... See full summary »

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Thomas Mitchell, Ian Hunter
Fort Apache (1948)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

At Fort Apache, an honorable and veteran war captain finds conflict when his regime is placed under the command of a young, glory hungry lieutenant colonel with no respect for the local Indian tribe.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

During WWII, a submarine's second in command inherits the problem of torpedoes that don't explode. When on shore, he is eager to win back his ex-wife.

Director: George Waggner
Stars: John Wayne, Patricia Neal, Ward Bond
Battleground (1949)
Action | War | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A squad of the 101st Airborne Division copes with being trapped in the besieged city of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Van Johnson, John Hodiak, Ricardo Montalban
Drama | War | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Major Kirby leads The Wildcats squadron into the historic WWII battle of Guadalcanal.

Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: John Wayne, Robert Ryan, Don Taylor
Adventure | War | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A Union Cavalry outfit is sent behind confederate lines in strength to destroy a rail/supply center. Along with them is sent a doctor who causes instant antipathy between him and the ... See full summary »

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, William Holden, Constance Towers
Certificate: Passed Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A dramatization of the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima.

Director: Allan Dwan
Stars: John Wayne, John Agar, Adele Mara
3 Godfathers (1948)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

When 3 outlaws on the run find a dying woman and her newborn baby in the desert they vow to save the child.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Pedro Armendáriz, Harry Carey Jr.
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Lt. John Brickley (as Robert Montgomery Comdr. U.S.N.R.)
...
...
...
...
...
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 Spine-Tingling Thundering Saga Of The Sea! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 December 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fuimos los sacrificados  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

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

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

Featured in John Ford (1993) 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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Memorable, slow-paced World War II film with fine performances from Robert Montgomery, John Wayne and Donna Reed with excellent direction by John Ford.
15 December 1999 | by (Lansing, Michigan) – See all my reviews

This is a memorable war film. Unlike other war films which depict glamorous battles, brutal campaigns and heroic exploits, this film focuses on average sailors who are merely doing a job. This often touching story is sandwiched around the real life escape of General and Mrs. McArthur from Corregidor at the beginning of World War II. The film does a good job portraying the collapse of American and Fillipino resistance in late 1941 and early 1942. The war is going badly, and this film does not try to sugar coat it. General Martin's character (played by Jack Holt) articulates this well at the end of the film. "The end is near here", he says.

John Wayne plays Rusty, a somewhat disgruntled officer who is unhappy about serving on a patrol torpedo (PT) boat. "Plywood dreams", he calls them in one scene. The fortunes of war intervene and Rusty and his comrades must fight the invading Japanese. Wayne's performance is memorable here, because it is uncharacteristic of his work. Wayne is not the macho heroic fighter that we see in most of his other war films. Here he is a professional sailor doing his job the best he knows how. At the end he predictably tries to be a hero, but star Robert Montgomery polites reminds him that there are other priorities. "Who are you fighting for", he asks. Wayne's character has depth. Uncharacteristically for Wayne he is even a little unsure of himself at times. This is particularly evident in his relationship with the young nurse played by Donna Reed. This is a different Wayne.

Robert Montgomery's performance as the commander of the squadron is also first rate. Like Wayne he is a professional who wants to do his job. The burden of command falls on him as he begs, cajoles and even blackmails fellow sailors to put his PT's in the war. Montgomery's performance is understated, credible and moving. It may be his best work.

This film is a collection of images. The destruction at Subic Bay in a Japanese air strike comes the closest to graphic violence of any scene in the movie. Instead of bodies, we see fires, smoke, debris and the faces of dazed servicemen and civilians. In another scene Wayne and Montgomery stand on a long dock stretching out into an empty inlet. "Are you looking for the Arizona, too," Rusty asks. The scenes depicting the escape of the McArthur's are well staged and realistic. The scenes of the defeated American army retreating on Mindanao show graphically that the war is not going well. The last image in the film with the last American plane to leave the Phillipines flying over a tropical beach at sunset is one of the most memorable in any war film. The words "I shall return" which appear on the screen are trite and unnecessary. Director John Ford has created a collage of memorable images here.

This film is slow paced for a war film, but it works. There is sufficient action, but there are interludes of peace and tranquility. There is a candlelight dinner for Rusty and his girl. There are a few moments near the end in a bar. In another scene Wayne visits with an elderly shipwright. The journey with the McArthurs provides another appropriate interlude in the middle of the film. There are even light moments interspersed. In one of these Marshal Thompson is inspecting the galley and asks derisively "What kind of soup is this?" When told it's not soup but dishwater he goes quickly to his next stop.

This is a simple story of fighting men doing a job that isn't considered particularly important. John Ford's excellent direction turns these mundane moments into one of the most memorable war films ever. Star Robert Montgomery even had a chance to direct in this film when Ford was injured in a fall. I liked this film and would recommend it without reservations.


15 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
This Movie is Brilliant! Friesen_471
Tune steve@mx21.tiki.ne.jp
Director Ford dissed Wayne during filming jjj58205-1
Sabotaged PT Boat olympiaea
the true story remkus
Was this the same PT Boat Base... Esperite
Discuss They Were Expendable (1945) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?