The Cowra Breakout (1984)

TV Mini-Series  -   -  Action | Drama | War
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In August 1944, 1104 Japanese prisoners of war at the Australian POW camp at Cowra stage a mass breakout. Four guards are killed in the escape, and 231 prisoners die by wounds sustained or ... See full summary »

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Title: The Cowra Breakout (1984– )

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alan David Lee ...
 Stan Davidson
Dennis Miller ...
 Mick Murphy
Andrew Lloyde ...
 Lieutenant MacDonald
Tony Barry ...
 Sergeant Best
Peter Phelps ...
 Terry Moyes
Nique Needles ...
 Stinky Smith (as Nic Needles)
Peter Hehir ...
 Padre
Alex Broun ...
 Nobby
David Slingsby ...
 Den Den
David Sanford ...
 Curtis
Luke Hobbs ...
 Athol
Tom Appleton ...
 Barnett
Gerry Skilton ...
 Spud
Tony Benedict Smith ...
 Nugget
...
 Blackjack Devereaux
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Storyline

In August 1944, 1104 Japanese prisoners of war at the Australian POW camp at Cowra stage a mass breakout. Four guards are killed in the escape, and 231 prisoners die by wounds sustained or suicide, while 334 prisoners are recaptured over the subsequent nine days. Written by Chris Hartcher <hartcher@ozemail.com.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

War, regardless of ideals, is a force that will only drive men apart...Humanity, if it survives the hate and horror, is the only quality that could ever unite them See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | War

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

7 June 1991 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Breakout  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(10 episodes)

Color:

(archive footage)|
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to this mini-series' closing credits, many ex-prisoners and guards of the Cowra POW camp assisted the production in research for this television series. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Cowra Breakout was Iconic Incident WWII. This Movie is Inadequate.
8 July 2006 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

For all that it could have been, this movie is a failure. It fails to adequately explore prisoner motivations or experience or provide a corporate insight into how war time Australia felt or behaved.

August 5 1944, over two years since a break out at Featherstone NZ led to increased security, over 545 Japanese soldiers stormed a machine gun nest and wandered around outback NSW before surrendering. An estimated 234 died and 108 were wounded.

Historian Gavin Long recorded "At about 2 a.m. a Japanese ran to the camp gates and shouted what seemed to be a warning to the sentries. Then a Japanese bugle sounded. A sentry fired a warning shot. More sentries fired as three mobs of prisoners, shouting "Banzai", began breaking through the wire, one mob on the northern side, one on the western and one on the southern. They flung themselves across the wire with the help of blankets. They were armed with knives, baseball bats, clubs studded with nails and hooks, wire stilettos and garroting cords"

The authorities had been tipped off regarding the outbreak, and the Japanese were to be transported to Hay when they fled.

Japanese soldiers were unlikely to have committed ritual suicide over the disgrace of capture, rather, they had been told to expect torture and camp conditions equivalent to Allied detainees in Burma etc. It is known that treatment of Japanese (Italian and German) prisoners had been humane. It is possible individual events might not uniformly express the humanity .. machine gunning the breakout was not the finest moment in Australian History of detainment.


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