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When Hell Was in Session (1979)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama  |  8 October 1979 (USA)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 94 users  
Reviews: 2 user

This film describes Navy Commander Jeremiah Denton's 7 and a half years as a prisoner of war. Held in numerous, brutal POW camps, he faced starvation, torture and terrible living conditions... See full summary »

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(book), (book), 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Cmdr. Jeremiah A. Denton
...
Jane Denton
...
Maj. Bai
...
Maj. Frank Perrin
Renne Jarrett ...
Nancy Tschudy
Richard Evans ...
Lt. Alec Vardis
...
Nguyen
...
Lt. Jim Norton
...
Lt. Bill Grainger (as Stephen Keep)
Byron Chung ...
Quoc
William Kirby Cullen ...
Jerry Denton
Paul Mantee ...
Capt. Brown
Rod Browning ...
Ed Brandt
Rod McCary ...
T.V. Host
Ric Carrott ...
Lt. Hadley
Edit

Storyline

This film describes Navy Commander Jeremiah Denton's 7 and a half years as a prisoner of war. Held in numerous, brutal POW camps, he faced starvation, torture and terrible living conditions brought on by his North Vietnamese captors in an effort to keep communication alive between the prisoners. His wife, Jane, is also arranging a POW wives league in the U.S. in order to popularize their plight. Written by mike407

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Drama

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Release Date:

8 October 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cuando el infierno abrió sus puertas  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

a harrowing tale of a true American hero!
10 October 2003 | by (Germany) – See all my reviews

I am a Sergeant in the United States Army and I write to celebrities as a hobby. I am very proud to say that I have gotten two letters from Retired Rear Admiral Jeremiah Denton, a true American hero. Denton attended the US Naval Academy in Jimmy Carter's class of 1946 and from then until 1965, he built a brilliant career as a US Naval Officer. He was shot down over North Vietnam on June 18, 1965 and was a prisoner of war until February of 1973, seven and a half years of hell. They did everything to him except kill him. At one point, Admiral Denton was kept in a tiny isolation cell for over three and a half years. He and his fellow POWs are our greatest national treasure. They are men made more of steel then flesh. Hal Holbrook is an amazing actor (you only have to watch him playing Mark Twain to realize this simple fact!). He brings this quality to the role of Admiral Denton. He makes you feel this man's pain but also his courage, bravery and determination as the one prisoner of war that the North Vietnemese could not break no matter what. In fact, Admiral Denton performed a heroic act I wanted to mention. The Viet Cong tortured him horribly until he agreed to make a propaganda statement for them. While he was reading this statement, he blinked his eyes in Morse code to form out the words TORTURE. He told the US authorities about the horror that the POWs were made to endure, this amazing act earned him the Navy Cross when he was released. A word to the squemish, this movie is hard to watch especially during the torture scenes, but every American needs to hear Admiral Denton's incredible story. You will be much the better for it.


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