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We Were Soldiers (2002) Poster

Trivia

The entire film was digitally color corrected at full 2K resolution.
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One of the real-life officers who survived the battle was LT Rick Rescorla, who is the main figure on the cover of Gen. Moore's book on which the movie was based. A biography of Mr. Rescorla's very interesting life was published in the mid 2000s called 'Heart of Lion'. He died in the 9/11 attacks while employed as head of security for Morgan Stanley, while making sure all the company's employees had gotten out of the WTC (they had).
The photographer, Joseph Galloway, married the daughter of Captain Thomas C, Metsker, who gave up his seat on a chopper to a soldier who was more wounded. He was then subsequently shot.
875,000 feet of film was shot - roughly 150 hours. It took the editing team 6 days - day and night - to watch it all.
Keni Thomas, who acted as both a military/technical advisor for and an extra in this film, fought in Mogadishu with the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment in 1993, the battle depicted in the film Black Hawk Down (2001).
Although many of the names are never really seen or said throughout the movie, very careful attention was paid to ensure every member of the company was represented properly in the film. For every person that was a member of the company in real life, there was an actor on screen, most of which resembled the actual soldiers themselves.
A total of three soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor for the battle represented in this film. Joseph Marm Jr. received his shortly after the battle, Bruce P. Crandall in 2007, and Ed Freeman on July 16, 2001.
The A-6 Intruder footage was originally shot for Flight of the Intruder (1991). This was necessary because the A-6 had been retired several years before this film was made, and so none were available to use in the movie.
Body count: 305
The closing music, "Mansions of The Lord", has become the unofficial Army funeral hymn. It was used as the recessional at President Ronald Reagan's funeral.
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".
According to American Sniper Chris Kyle this film is shown to US Navy special forces recruits to inspire them before they begin the 'Hell Week' stage of their SEAL training.
In the shot of the hospital nursery early in the movie one of the babies is named Papac, hand printed on a card attached to the bassinet. Michael Papac is the armorer for this film and given the massive scale of the arms and ammunition needed for filming, he played a central role in creating this movie. In fact, in the credits he is listed as Master Armorer and three assistants are credited as "weapons armorers." It is doubtful that any other movie has ever needed, and credited, four armorers. Naming the baby Papac so prominently was a well deserved tribute to his contributions.
Joseph Galloway (Barry Pepper) was awarded a Bronze Star for carrying wounded men to safety at the Battle of Ia Drang in 1965.
Machine gunner SP4 BILL BECK returned home and became a greeting card artist with Hallmark Cards in Kansas City. Some 40 years later he was awarded the Silver Star for his service in Vietnam.
The French bugler shot in the beginning is writer/director Randall Wallace's real-life son.
A theatrical re-release on 20 September 2002 in Arizona saw the world premiere of Randall Wallace's "Sonic Whole Overhead Sound" format, in which the cinema's audio system features a new ceiling speaker channel to convey height information. The mix was created by Mark P. Stoeckinger, in association with Dolby Labs and Todd-AO/Soundelux.
During the last year of the production, sound engineer Steve Bartkowicz consulted the Frederick Military Academy Alumni Webmaster, Richard W. Abrams (uncredited), to determine which French bugle call would have been played during the opening massacre sequence. For historical accuracy, Abrams was also called upon to determine if the bugle call would have remained the same today as in the year of the massacre. The bugle call was found on a French military web site and forwarded to Bartkowicz.
A good amount of the musical score is based around the song "Sgt. McKensie", which plays during the closing credits of the film.
The ammunition pouches used by many of the characters in the movie were the "short" version designed to accommodate the 20 round M-16 magazines. These pouches, however, were not issued until 1968, 3 years after the film is set. Before this film was made, the short style pouches were common and readily available. But because the props department bought so many for filming, they are now very rare collectibles on the surplus market.
Mel Gibson, who portrayed Colonel Moore in this film, is also famous for his role as Detective Martin Riggs in the Lethal Weapon series. In Lethal Weapon (1987), the Battle of Ia Drang is mentioned. Riggs' partner, Roger Murtaugh, states that he escaped being seriously wounded or killed in action while serving there, only because his friend took a bayonet in the lungs for him.
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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.
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The barracks that the soldiers file out of before loading the buses belong to A co 1/507 Parachute Infantry Regiment (Airborne School) and really are just across the street from the scene where they load the buses.
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Hal Moore is a retired Lieutenant General, 3-star.
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At about 40 minutes into the movie, when the buses show up to pick up the deploying soldiers, the "road" they are driving on is the 1/507th PIR (airborne school) running track
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Was originally scheduled for a 2001 release but was pushed back so Chris Klein could work on American Pie 2 (2001).
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Some Vietnamese actors in the movie had actually been in the North Vietnamese Army.
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Denis Leary was considered for the role of Bruce Crandall.
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The bugle call for "Halt" used by the French outfit in the opening scene was the call for "Forward March" in the U.S Army during the Civil War.
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Mel Gibson calls the real Moore an "old knight in shining armour."
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The real Joseph D. Galloway stepped out of the movie theater during a scene. "That was my nightmare for 36 years. I don't want to see it again."
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Some of the helicopters were added to the screen digitally in editing.
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The photos are production stills from the movie. The real Galloway says he wishes they'd used his actual photos from the battle.
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The movie's six Huey helicopters were rented from private donors, not the military.
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Madeleine Stowe spent time with the real Julie Moore to learn "what it was to be a service wife."
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According to sound designer Lon Bender, the movie has around 10,000 gunshots.
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Makeup artists made the soldiers look dirty by covering their faces in clay and wiping it off.
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Most movies don't film in chronological order, but Soldiers was filmed "in sequence." When the soldiers leave for battle so do the actors.
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According to Randall Wallace the excitement was "tangible."
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Mel Gibson calls his character's relationship with Basil Plumley "good cop, bad cop."
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Randall Wallace wanted to cast Chris Klein because of his warmth and authenticity.
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Many of the women in the film are soldiers' wives in real life too.
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Mel Gibson has a big family, so he was completely comfortable around all the kids.
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Before filming, the actors went to a two-week boot camp. Mel Gibson said it was the "celebrity-wimp version" but he "thought it was hard anyway."
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The production tried to make most of the effects "practical." That means the explosions were real, not computer generated.
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According to the real Joseph D. Galloway, when he visited the set, he couldn't even shake the hand of the actor playing Jimmy Nakayama.
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Ryan Hurst improvised the scene where he trips.
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According to Greg Kinnear, the real Bruce "Snake" Crandall is "larger-than-life. But he told me he was petrified."
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Patrick St. Esprit and Ryan Hurst both appeared on _Sons of Anarchy_. However, they share no scenes together.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

When 2nd Lt. Henry Herrick Marc Blucas is fatally wounded and giving his final orders his pupils are small as he is looking up into the bright sky. When he dies they can be seen to fully dilate over the course of a few seconds, as would happen in real life.

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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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