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 »
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A washed-up detective discovers his own psychic ability when assigned to investigate a serial murder case. The killer has a deranged obsession with the novel "Alice in Wonderland." As the ... See full summary »
Heart problems force Boston cop Pally LaMarr to retire; he's in a funk and his wife Charlotte sends him packing. At Charlotte's insistence, Pally's half-brother Ray pays Pally a visit and ... See full summary »
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
The opening prologue states: "The following account is based on actual events during World War II, when 61,000 Allied POWs were forced to build the Thailand-Burma Railway." See more »
Major Campbell should not have been able to identify aircraft as Liberators. The 2nd battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders had been in Malaya since 1940. These aircraft were not introduced into the RAF (in Europe) and USAAF until 1941. See more »
[examining newly arrived POWs]
Relish your health now, gentlemen: it's the last you'll see of it.
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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.
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