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Hell to Eternity
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Reviews & Ratings for
Hell to Eternity More at IMDbPro »

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27 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

A true World War II story of tremendous emotional impact

Author: reelguy2 from Boulder, Colorado
9 September 2003

World War II hero Guy Gabaldon's story could hardly have been entrusted to a more suitable director than Phil Karlson. Karlson brings a tough masculine style, as well as an emotional impact that would have eluded many a director of action films. Operating as usual on a less-than-A budget, Karlson nonetheless makes the most out of every scene and elicits excellent performances from his cast.

Hell to Eternity is by far the most violent war film made up to that time. But Karlson's outbursts of violence are always tied to a strong emotional response, making the violence anything but gratuitous.

The film is also notable for a surprisingly provocative striptease by Patricia Owens and and an equally provocative kiss between her and Jeffrey Hunter. In terms of its violence and sexual content, Hell to Eternity probably went as far as the censors would allow in 1960.

As Gabaldon, Jeffrey Hunter gives a performance of great sympathy, but also one of considerable edge in his battle scenes. It's a difficult role, because he has to express the moral dilemma of a man raised by a Japanese-American family who is tasked with fighting the Japanese during WW2. The fact that Hunter made King of Kings only one year after this film and also offered diverse characterizations in Key Witness and Sergeant Rutledge the same year as Hell to Eternity is a testament to his versatility as an actor.

Leith Stevens provides an outstanding dramatic score, which unfortunately was poorly represented by the soundtrack album, which contained mainly his jazz-oriented incidental music.

The lower-than-A budget for this film more than likely accounts for it not being better known. But make no mistake about it - it's one of the most powerful war films ever made.

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21 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Guy Gabaldon's story continues. . . .

Author: stevenchavez68
3 January 2003

A great war/personal true story, as previously commented, about a Mexican-American young man from Boyle Heights (just east of Los Angeles) CA., who worked close with the migrant Japanese-American workers and learned to speak Japanese. He joined the USMC First Marine Division and was the recipient of the Naval Cross for his exploits on Saipan Island. He has since written a book "Saipan: Suicide Island" and comments heavily on the movie. Guy is proud of his Mexican-American heritage and very very proud of the First Marine Division - USMC. He lives in Northern California and is a great American. I say this because of his continued service to this country. He continues to get involved in services for the community and especially our youth. I was 11 years old when I saw this movie (1962) two years after it's release. I loved it for the war action and the personal story. I was impressed that this person cared and tried hard to do what he thought was the right thing. Vic Damone and David Jansen played good roles as well as Jeffery Hunter. Hollywood was reluctant to depict Mexicans on the screen as regular people. That is why Jeffery Hunter played an Italian-American in this film. Anthony Quinn had just completed "Requiem for a Heavyweight". Mr. Quinn lived in the same heights as Guy. My parents would tell us kids that he was one like us. I am not negative buy simply express my feeling and recollections. Anyway, I always recommend this movie to my friends and consider it in the Top 10 for war films. If ever the chance to read Guy's book or speak with him, do not pass on the opportunity. Check out this movie - there are wheels turning to remake this movie. Guy's story continues. ..

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15 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

A true story that is drama filled and heartbreaking

Author: mpdeaton from Cave Spring GA
20 January 2004

I saw the movie many years ago and would love to have this movie on DVD. Jeffrey Hunter looses his best friend, David Janson, to the enemy and after that develops a deep hatred for the Japeneese. At times risking his own life to flush them out of their hiding places and kill them. At one point where he is watching the japeneese women and children hurl themselves off of the cliffs rather then be captured, he sees his own adopted Japenese family back in the states. An excellent movie that I would go the the movies to see again.

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16 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

great movie

Author: nancy-214 from United States
6 November 2005

My father recommended this movie and I found a copy that I had privilege to watch. It was a great movie that was touching and moving to watch. I never heard of this Hispanic man who was a hero and I think that it should be updated and played today for the newer generation today. This movie starts from the beginning to the end on what the main character went through and why he did what he did. It has much family value no matter what race or color a person is. The war scenes were magnificent even considering the year that the movie was made. I think that if this movie were remade for this day and age with all of the facts in order, that it would be better than some of the war movies that are out now because it is in fact a true story. If you have a chance to see this movie, I rate it a "10".

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14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

I was there

Author: emc22 from United States
28 April 2006

I have been trying to buy this movie but the prices are out of reach. I was on Okinawa in 1960 when this movie was filmed. Our battalion was the first to occupy the brand new barracks at Camp Schwabb. A lot of us marines were chosen to be in the Japanese army because of our looks or physical stature. yes I played the part of a Japanese soldier and during the bonsai attack I was killed. I must say I died very dramatically. I had the pleasure of meeting Jeffery Hunter, David Janssen, and Vic Damone. I think the movie was pretty good even though some important parts were omitted. I have read several articles on the life of Guy Gabaldon and he looked nothing like Jeffery Hunter. Have a nice day.

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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Hell to Eternity

Author: texohio from United States
7 October 2006

I remember seeing this movie many times in the 60's and 70's at the theater, on television, and on VHS. I grew up watching WWII movies and remember this as one that had a special appeal to me. I guess because I lived in Japan in the 1950's and visited some of the locales from the movie. The acting was well done and the story was well told and realistic. It is interesting to view the cast when they were relatively new to movies. David Janssen and Vic Damone stand out in my memory and Jeffrey Hunter was always a class act in films. I highly recommend seeing it if possible. I do find it hard to believe that it is called a "lost classic" and runs so high for a copy. Anyone know where I could get a cheaper copy, I would like to hear from you.

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Hell to Eternity

Author: goodspee-1 from United States
16 April 2006

I saw Hell to Eternity when it first came out in 1960. It anticipated the newsreel quality of "Saving Private Ryan" and was very timeless in style. A must see movie about a real hero in a real war. Warning! Like "Ryan" very violent and graphic simulation of actual war battle scenes. Jeffery Hunter turns in an excellent performance of a man struggling to overcome rejection from joining the war effort because of his ethnic background. He finally overcomes the obstacles with his skills as an interpreter, knowing the Japanese language which also saves his life and helps bridge the gap with the Japanese high command of the occupied island where he eventually convinces the commander to surrender. Seeking vengeance for his slain friend (David Jansen) he turns to compassion upon witnessing a suicide of a young mother fearful of Japanese propaganda of anticipated American brutality to then convince the Japanese to peacefully surrender.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Tribute to an American hero

Author: Richard L. Skinner ( from San Diego, CA
11 June 1999

"Hell to Eternity" represents a true story of spiritual development in an individual involved in a spiritual conflict from the beginning of the film to it's conclusion. It depicts a real person, Guy Gabaldon, who was raised in California by a Japanese family and his reluctance to kill the Japanese enemy in WWII, a hardening of his heart and a means of reconciliation that borders on miraculous. The movie is able to capture the full impact of this part of a man's life. This is a great war film without the impact of Audie Murphy's story in "To Hell and Back" (1955) only because that film starred the hero that wrote the book about his personal exploits. The movie "Hell to Eternity" still stands out as a great biography of an American hero, Guy Gabaldon!

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13 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

It's been so long since I've seen it.

Author: georgefor1 from Boston
7 May 2003

Huge shame that it is not available on VHS or DVD. I saw it many years ago on TV and enjoyed it immensely. The acting was top notch. I've always liked David Janssen and Patricia Owens (both of whom are dead now, as well as Jeffrey Hunter, who died very tragically). Why does Hollywood refuse to issue certain old movies on media?

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12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

I'm related to the screenplay writer

Author: Jon Schmidt ( from United States
27 November 2004

Walter Roeber Schmidt is/was my grandfather. I still have an original screenplay in bound condition that was his. From what I've seen/heard, the story was a great one, and is truly a movie that one will never forget. I recommend it to all who wish to know some of the real stories from World War Two. What is interesting however, is that my grandfather was in the Air Force I believe during World War Two, and his brother was employed by the government to take movies and pictures of the war, which, quite ironically, lead him to meet his wife in Italy, who consequently, was a very beautiful woman. For those of you wondering what my grandfather looked like, I hope to submit a picture soon to the site.

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