Too Late the Hero (1970)

GP  |   |  Action, War, Drama  |  3 September 1970 (Italy)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 2,456 users  
Reviews: 39 user | 18 critic

A reluctant hero, American Lt. Sam Lawson, is secunded to a motley British unit tasked with destroying a Japanese radio on a Philippine island.



(screenplay), (story), 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lt. Sam Lawson
Pvt. Jock Thornton
Pvt. Campbell
Lance Percival ...
Cpl. McLean
Sgt. Johnstone
Patrick Jordan ...
Sergeant Major
Sam Kydd ...
William Beckley ...
Pvt. Currie
Pvt. Griffiths
Harvey Jason ...
Signalman Scott
Pvt. Connolly
Roger Newman ...
Pvt. Riddle


A WWII film set on a Pacific island. Japanese and allied forces occupy different parts of the island. When a group of British soldiers are sent on a mission behind enemy lines, things don't go exactly to plan. This film differs in that some of the 'heros' are very reluctant, but they come good when they are pursued by the Japanese who are determined to prevent them returning to base. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


War. It's A Dying Business.


Action | War | Drama


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

3 September 1970 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Suicide Run  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(video compilation) | (TCM Print)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints)| (Westrex Recording System) (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


While filming in the jungles in the Philippines, Michael Caine seemed to have an unerring sense of direction and always managed to find his way about. However, filming in the jungles created on the studio back lot in Hollywood was delayed on the first day, as Caine had managed to get himself lost. See more »


The British Vickers machine gun had an effective range of 810 yds (740m), but could be used for indirect fire at distances up to 4500 yards (4100m). The British 2-inch mortar had a range of 500 yards (457m). Given that the mortars can reach the edge of the jungle, that gives the width of the open field as around that distance (500 yds). The Japanese Arisaka rifle had an effective range of 400m (360 yds), which would put the British troops out of range. However, the Japanese infantry are seen using a Type 99 Light Machine Gun. This had a range of up to 1600 yds (1500m), though its effective range was more likely considerably less. This means that the British soldiers would not be out of range of this weapon when they stood behind their weapons pits, though it is unlikely the Japanese would try to hit them at that distance. See more »


Capt. John G. Nolan: [Sarcastically referring to Lawson whom he secunded to the British] They're gonna love him!
See more »


Referenced in The Postgraduate Course in Sexual Love (1970) See more »


Teddy Bear's Picnic
Written by John W. Bratton
Lyrics by Jimmy Kennedy
Sung by the patrol as it leaves the base
See more »

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User Reviews

Hate saved their skins, friendship made them heroes...
19 July 2004 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

What do you know about psychological warfare? Not much I guess.

Well, this is a war movie with a major twist. It's much less about shelling the enemy or just drill some holes in him, but more about "really" to outsmart him.

An American officer, an Interpreter in Japanese, who's a real artist when it comes to avoid the battlefield, is about to get a long awaited leave when he suddenly is tasked to help a bunch of British raiders in their endeavor to capture and destroy a forward listening Japanese outpost.

Through thick and through thin (literally), men who hate each other as well as hating the American officer (played by Cliff Robertson) have to face a common enemy who masterfully hides in the Jungle.

One by one they get hunted down by the Japanese. Nevertheless, the mission succeeds, but now the remaining force has to return to base. Not an easy task, considering that the Japanese made prisoners and are using them as bait while they communicate with the only two remaining raiders (Robertson and Michael Caine). Through a microphone and various loudspeakers scattered throughout the Jungle and by performing a highly skillful and mind-shattering blackmail, they try to lure the two to surrender.

A well timed war drama, masterfully played by all the actors involved figuring Ian Bannen ("The Hill", "The Outrage" etc.), Harry Andrews ("The Hill", "The Charge of the Light Brigade", "Battle of Britain"), Denholm Elliot ("Raiders of the Lost Ark", "A Room with a View"), Ronald Fraser ("The Hill", "The Wild Geese") and Ken Takakura ("The Yakuza", "Antarctica", "Black Rain").

If you like two movies into one: a War Movie and a Suspense Thriller, then the price is really low.

The DVD edition is as one may expect from Anchor Bay. No extras included, except for the trailer, but the movie alone is, in my view, a tiny masterpiece and well worth the effort.

By the way, if you're looking for a similar movie, forget it. It's the only one in its genre. Think about it.

17 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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