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.
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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
Keni Thomas, who acted as a Military Advisor, Technical Advisor, and an extra in this film, fought in Mogadishu with the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment in 1993, the battle depicted in Black Hawk Down (2001). See more »
In the film credits the following appears "With special thanks to: ...And the 3RD Ranger Training Battalion..." No such unit exists or ever has. There is a 3RD Battalion, 75TH Ranger Regiment and 4TH through 6TH Ranger Training Battalions. See more »
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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"We Were Soldiers" is based on a real life battle of the Viet Nam war that took place in 1965 in a remote part of Viet Nam. It is based on a book by Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway who are portrayed in the film by Mel Gibson and Barry Pepper respectively.
The film opens with a depiction of the 1954 slaughter of French troops by the Vietnamese army. Twenty one years later Lt. Col Moore (Gibson) and his battalion of 395 men are thrust unknowingly into the same hornet's nest consisting of some 4,000 battle hardened Viet Nam regulars who have been fighting their enemies for many years.
Director Randall Wallace tells the story from three perspectives. Firstly from the viewpoint of the Americans. Outnumbered ten to one they face impossible odds. How Col. Moore rallies his troops and gets them to pull together as a team is a central theme of the picture. Secondly, the story is told from the viewpoint of the wives and families left behind and the problems they have to deal with. Lastly, the Vietnamese army is shown not as unfeeling monsters, but as a professional army defending their beliefs and territory.
The battle scenes are as realistic and convincing as any war movie that you will ever see. We suffer through the casualties both on the battlefield and at home along with the participants. The special effects are seamless and exciting.
Mel Gibson gives a convincing performance as Moore and if you watch the DVD, you can see the amazing similarities between the two men. Madeleine Stowe plays Julie Moore and Keri Russell plays Barbara Geoghegan two of the wives who take on the unenviable task of delivering those dreaded telegrams to the widows from the War Department. Chris Klein plays Russell's husband Jack a new officer and father. His scene with Gibson in the base chapel is memorable. Greg Kinnear plays Captain Crandall the head of Moore's helicopter fleet. Don Duong is very effective as the Vietnamese commander. But acting cudos go to veteran Sam Elliot as the crusty Sgt. Major Plumley.
"We Were Soldiers" is a gripping Viet Nam war drama told in a way that reflects ALL of the participants in an impartially realistic way. As Hank Moore says on the DVD, They finally got it right.
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