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We Were Soldiers (2002)

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The story of the first major battle of the American phase of the Vietnam War, and the soldiers on both sides that fought it, while their wives wait nervously and anxiously at home for the good news or the bad news.



(book) (as Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore), (book) | 1 more credit »
1,825 ( 282)
3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
1st Lt. Charlie Hastings
2nd Lt. Henry Herrick
Sp4 Robert Ouellette
Capt. Tony Nadal
Capt. Matt Dillon
Capt. Tom Metsker


A telling of the 1st Battalion, 7 Cavalry Regiment, 1st Calvary Division's battle against overwhelming odds in the La Drang valley of Vietnam in 1965. Seen through the eyes of the battalion's commander, Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore (played by Mel Gibson), we see him take command of the battalion and its preparations to go into Vietnam. We also see how the French had, years earlier, been defeated in the same area. The battle was to be the first major engagement between U.S. and N.V.A. forces in South Vietnam, and showed the use of helicopters as mobility providers and assault support aircraft. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Father. Husband. Brother. No man is just a soldier. 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:






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Release Date:

1 March 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Lost Patrol  »


Box Office


$75,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,212,543, 3 March 2002, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$114,660,784, 4 July 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (cut) | (TV)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Most of the rifles used in the film are actually the M16A1, identifiable by the forward assist on the left side of the rifle. The M16A1 was not introduced until 1967, but was likely used in place of the historically accurate M16 in the film, because the latter would have been nearly impossible for the films' armorers to acquire, in the numbers necessary, for the film. See more »


In the opening scene that depicts the destruction of Groupement Mobile No.100, the officers are shown wearing képis, implying that they are members of the Foreign Legion. However, there were no Legion units present. GM 100 consisted of the 1st and 2nd Korea Battalions, Battalion de Marche of the 43rd Colonial Infantry and the 2nd Group of the 10th Colonial Artillery. 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 ...
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Featured in History Buffs: We Were Soldiers (2015) 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) and Seoras Wallace
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Entertainment, or factual account?
25 March 2004 | by See all my reviews

It's quite sad to read some of the reviews of this film. "full of clichés" "typical weak war film" etc. I would like for the writers of such comments to look at the film they "coughed up their reddies" for, and ask what they were really after? Do they know what the film was about? The director's aim was to create an honest depiction of a real life event. To tell the story of a battle and war in a way that would make people who weren't there understand what it may have been like. To bring home the stark realisation of how scary the battlefield would be, and explore the wider picture of how families, and even the enemy were affected by events too. Many of the words used by the dying men are documented as being the actual words. In the editors commentary, he explains "these were the true dying words 'tell my wife I love her'. In that situation, it is the reality of what is on people's minds. I'm sorry they couldn't have come up with something more melo-dramatic for the theatre audience." The line that really bought it home for me though was that soldiers who had fought in that battle thanked the director. They said he had managed to show the realities of an event in their lives that they had, to that point, never managed to fully explain to their families. If the people who were there say this is a realistic account of events and emotions, then that's the best accolade a film can have. I was scared and moved by it and would recommend it highly. PS. to the plot critics out there... would you rather they sexed up a true story? Surely that would be a grave tragedy.

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