A tribute to the U.S. 442nd Regimental Combat Team, formed in 1943 by Presidential permission with Japanese-American volunteers. We follow the training of a platoon under the rueful command of Lt. Mike Grayson who shares common prejudices of the time. The 442nd serve in Italy, then France, distinguishing themselves in skirmishes and battles; gradually and naturally, Grayson's prejudices evaporate with dawning realization that his men are better soldiers than he is. Not preachy. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The network television premiere was in 1979 on CBS, 28 years after premiering in theaters, possibly the longest interlude between theaters and television of any major movie since the advent of national broadcast television. See more »
In Italy, Lt Grayson's troops are fired on by two German soldiers positioned behind a broken wall on a high bluff. But rather than crouching behind the wall for maximum cover, they are standing. This makes them easy targets for Grayson's soldiers. Real snipers would have kept as low as possible behind the wall for maximum protection. See more »
Kanakas. The ones from Hawaii. You know what they call us mainlanders? Kotonks. The way they tell it if you rap on our heads it's like hitting a coconut. Hollow heads, you know? Kotonk, kotonk, kotonk.
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Being a third generation Japanese-American (Sansei), and having my parents interned in the camps, this movie has a special place in my heart. Robert Pirosh did an incredible job in getting so much information about the Japanese- American situation: the camps, the differences between the Hawaiian and State- side Japanese (Kotonks and Kanakas), the different views of the war and even using a Japanese curse word as a password! I was so impressed and pleased with the results.
The movie follows the exploits of the 442, the first all-Nisei (Japanese- American) Regimental combat team in WWII. In early 1942, all the Japanese- Americans in California, Seattle, Oregon and Hawaii were uprooted from their homes and put into camps. All the volunteers were from the 10 internment camps throughout the western states. They felt that this was the only way to prove to the U. S. that they were as patriotic as anybody else, in fact most of them were American Citizens! Since they had nothing to lose, but their lives, their motto was "GO FOR BROKE!" and that's what they did. They are today the most decorated battalion in the history of the U.S. military and proved something that they shouldn't have to be proved, that they were Americans!
Van Johnson is used as the "white man" foil, to show how the rest of the country looked at the Japanese-American, and he does a great job. He starts off as a bigot, but as he begins to understand and respect his troops, he becomes one of them. There's a funny scene where one of his men call him "BAKATARE",
which is a curse word close to "Damn, stupid...." and tells him that the soldier is being very polite, he's bowing as he says this. This film has everything: humor, action, great characters and... truth!
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