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We Were Soldiers (2002)

R  |   |  Action, Drama, History  |  1 March 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 95,733 users   Metascore: 65/100
Reviews: 741 user | 141 critic | 37 from

The story of the first major battle of the American phase of the Vietnam War and the soldiers on both sides that fought it.



(book) (as Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore) , (book), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Capt. Matt Dillon
Capt. Tom Metsker


In a place soon to be known as The Valley of Death, in a football field-sized clearing called landing zone X-Ray, Lt. Colonel Hal Moore and 400 young troopers from the newly formed 1/7th Cavalry Regiment of the US 1st Air Cavalry Division were surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers dug into the tunnel warren mountainside. The ensuing battle was one of the most savage in U.S. history and is portrayed here as the signal encounter between the American and North Vietnamese armies. We Were Soldiers Once... And Young is a tribute to the nobility of those men under fire, their common acts of uncommon valor, and their loyalty to and love for one another. Written by PHD in CT USA

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Fathers, Brothers, Husbands & Sons. See more »


Action | Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sustained sequences of graphic war violence, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






| |

Release Date:

1 March 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Lost Patrol  »

Box Office


$75,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$20,212,543 (USA) (1 March 2002)


$495,567 (Brazil) (16 August 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (cut) | (TV)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The first scenes in Vietnam show a Battalion sign that says "Garry Owen". This was the famous marching song of the 7th Cavalry and is actually one word, "Garryowen". See more »


In the opening scene, French troops are shown with their beret insignia on the left side of their forehead. In reality, and contrary to most countries in the world, French soldiers have their insignia on the right side of their forehead. See more »


[first lines]
Joe Galloway: [Narrating; voice-over] These are the true events of November, 1965, the Ia Drang Valley of Vietnam, a place our country does not remember, in a war it does not understand. This story's a testament to the young Americans who died in the valley of death, and a tribute to the young men of the People's Army of Vietnam who died by our hand in that place. To tell this story, I must start at the beginning. But where does it begin? Maybe in June of 1954 when French Group Mobile 100 moved ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

A list of the names of the actual men who died during the battle as well as the city and state where they are from is featured before the ending credits. See more »


Featured in We Were Soldiers: Getting It Right (2002) See more »


Sgt. MacKenzie
By Joseph Rizza Kilna
Performed by Joseph Rizza Kilna (as Joseph Kilna MacKenzie)
Produced by Joseph Rizza Kilna (as Joseph Kilna MacKenzie) & Seoras Wallace
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Movie that Depicts Real Events
26 October 2004 | by (New jersy) – See all my reviews

I for one am someone who was inspired to read the book "We were Soldiers Once and Young" after seeing this movie. WWS is about a distinct event that actually happened. SGM Plumley was a soldier's soldier, with five combat jumps in three wars and an astounding three combat infantry badges. LTC Moore was the sort of leader who could keep his head and lead his troops through the worst of battle. People who complain of clichés in this movie might as well complain that people in 18th century movies wear three-cornered hats.

To those looking for an anti-war message, it is there. When Moore goes to Division headquarters and gets his mission, he asks about projected enemy in his area of operations. The staff officer standing next to the general says "a manageable number." To this Moore responds with words to the effect of "which means you have no idea." It turns out that Moore's battalion gets dropped on top of a vastly larger enemy force (if I remember correctly, they get dropped right next to an NVA brigade). Ordinarily, it order to assure success in attack, you want to have three times the numbers of your enemy. In this case, the ratio was 4:1 going the other way. Then the battle is about how artillery and air support makes up the difference in numbers.

The obvious criticism here is that the command was fumbling around in the dark. At the end of the movie, the names of the 70+ men who died are prominently displayed on the screen. A military mind is not treasonous and will not disrespect its superiors, but it will let facts speak for themselves.

The next comment is only tangentially related to this movie. However, many voices here have taken the opportunity to vent their views on Vietnam, so I feel compelled to put things in a broader historical context.

There was a war that did not take place between 1945 and the fall of the Berlin wall. It would have been called WWIII. The Soviet Union and the US stood eye-to-eye for 40+ years, but did not blink. It was an ideological conflict with an evil that meant death to 50+ million people in communist countries in this century. It was conflict with a system that vastly constrained freedom. Fortunately for the world, the US finally prevailed. The struggle fought between communism and the west was fought in a variety of ways: in public relations, in sports, in propaganda, and in a series of proxy wars. In Korea, Greece, Vietnam, Afghanistan and a variety of smaller stages, East contested with West. To the people caught up in these local conflicts, these wars were absolute tragedies. However, in the grand scheme of things, these conflicts pale to insignificance when compared to the 500,000,000 who would have died in WWIII.

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