To End All Wars (2001)

R  |   |  Action, Drama, War  |  2 September 2001 (USA)
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A true story about four Allied POWs who endure harsh treatment from their Japanese captors during World War II while being forced to build a railroad through the Burmese jungle. Ultimately ... See full summary »


(book), (screenplay)
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3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Maj. Ian Campbell
Dusty Miller
Sakae Kimura ...
Sgt. Ito
Lt. Col. Stuart McLean
Masayuki Yui ...
Capt. Noguchi
John Gregg ...
Camp Doctor Coates
Shû Nakajima ...
Nagatomo (as Shu Nakajima)
Sgt. Roger Primrose (as Greg Ellis)
Lt. Foxworth
James McCarthy ...
Brendan Cowell ...
Wallace Hamilton
Winton Nicholson ...


A true story about four Allied POWs who endure harsh treatment from their Japanese captors during World War II while being forced to build a railroad through the Burmese jungle. Ultimately they find true freedom by forgiving their enemies. Based on the true story of Ernest Gordon. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In war, you have to survive See more »


Action | Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for war-related violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

2 September 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Última das Guerras  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$14,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TV) | (TV)

Sound Mix:


(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The autobiography of which the film is based on was originally published under the name 'Through the Valley of the Kwai' (and later as 'Miracle on the River Kwai') and then when this film was made, the same as this film's title ('To End All Wars'). This book also acted as a basis for David Lean's The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957). See more »


The Japanese commander's vehicle is a Willys M38 Jeep, while it's possible that the Japanese used captured vehicles, this type was first produced in 1950. See more »


Lt. Jim Reardon: Colonel, I've been watching these Nips. There's never more than a handful of 'em guarding the perimeter at any given time. And they're not watching very closely. It just doesn't make sense to me unless...
McLean: Unless what?
Dr. Coates: Well, unless every prisoner's been caught or died in a thousand miles of hostile jungle. Unless the local villagers are willing to turn in a POW for a bowl of rice. Unless - escape is impossible.
See more »


Written and Performed by Maire Brennan
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User Reviews

A "War" Movie That's About Values, Not War
5 July 2005 | by (Sterling, Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

I am a serious film lover who keeps up with the best new films. I stumbled across To End All Wars when it was shown recently on one of the Starz/Encore channels. At the end, I kept asking myself why I had never heard of it. The film is nowhere to be found in Roger Ebert's reviews or Leonard Maltin's annual guide, and yet I suspect that Ebert, at least, would rate this film very highly.

I like films that are about something that is important, at least to me, and not just pure entertainment. Not that I don't enjoy a good action-adventure film or light comedy from time to time, but most of the time, I prefer to spend my time watching films that make me think and perhaps even ask questions of myself.

To End All Wars is one such film. The Bridge on the River Kwai, which deals with the same historical events, is not, despite its many strong points. In this respect, To End All Wars is the better film, and the one that I am more likely to watch frequently.

Despite its title, the film is not really about war. What it is about is the efforts of a small group of men, and one man in particular, to maintain their faith, their sense of values, and their very sanity under horrible, murderous conditions that would drive most men to insanity or to become murderers themselves.

The film forces me to ask myself whether I could have done the same under those conditions. To be honest, I'm afraid to ask the question because I may not like the answer.

Although the film depicts many horrible things, it is not a depressing film, at least for me. Rather, it's a positive, hopeful film, in the same way that Schindler's List is a positive, hopeful film. If one man, in the case of Schindler, or a small group of men, in the case of the ones in this film, can maintain their sanity, faith, and values in a world that has gone insane, then there is hope for mankind.

As for the references to their Christian faith, it is not laid on with a trowel, as it might be in a lesser film. It is simply there as an important part of their lives. Whether or not we share that faith is beside the point. What is important is that they shared it, and that faith helped them to survive.

Could the director and the writers have made their points even more effectively? Probably. Would I have liked to have known more about the individual characters? Definitely. Would the film have benefited from a larger budget? Possibly.

All of these questions are moot, however. Every film deserves to be judged on its own terms, on the basis of what it is and not what it might have been. Not every film can be another Citizen Kane or Rules of the Game, nor should it be.

Taken on its own merits, To End All Wars is an excellent film that I expect to watch many times and recommend to my family and friends as well. The fact that the film never got proper distribution, at least in the United States, and therefore never got the recognition that it deserves, shows just how shallow and superficial the Hollywood film industry has become. Thankfully it is available on DVD.

42 of 49 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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