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Reviews & Ratings for
The Great Raid More at IMDbPro »

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A refreshing change from this lame summer of movies

Author: gaiusknight from United States
12 September 2005

This is an excellent movie showing the daring rescue of POWs from the brutality of the Japanese POW camp of Cabanatuan.

I have not read the book, Ghost Soldiers, so I cannot tell whether it is an accurate representation of the book. But I know what I like, and this is a great movie. The actual footage at beginning and end greatly enhance the emotion and realism. The story of the bravery of the soldiers and the resistance, and the spectacular battle scenes make this movie a gem in a sea of summer flops.

The characters, particularly the Japanese commander, were well-cast. You really feel for the prisoners and the brave Americans and Phillipinos.

The role of the Phillipinos was not underdone, and it was good they accurately showed how not only Americans suffered because of Axis cruelty. The battle scenes were well-done and intense.

Overall, the movie was THE best movie of the year.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Forget Pearl Harbor, this is THE war movie.

Author: au_law2001 from Philippines
1 September 2005

My brother was the first one to talk about this, I wasn't sure what to think so I decided to look out for it. Last week, I went into the mall, I saw this being advertised, and hearing it is a war movie, I decided to check it out. I missed the first credits, but that didn't really matter, about the film, I must say this was a very decent movie unlike the ones which were released the same day, it lived up to it's title and story, it was based on a book, what do ya know? Anyways back to the film, it tells the true story of the 6th Ranger Battalion, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Mucci who undertake a daring rescue mission against all odds. Traveling thirty miles behind enemy lines, the 6th Ranger Battalion aims to liberate over 500 American prisoners-of-war from the notorious Cabanatuan Japanese POW camp in the most audacious rescue ever, and audacious it sure was! The fight scenes were kinda impressive, and the scenes with the underground organization were okay, it showed accurately how the Japanese treated our people here during that time. Overall an impressive film, and Cesar Montano was convincing as a the captain of the Philippine forces and he did his role well. Recommended to all movie goers who would like to know about WWII in the Pacific, especially to the people of my city, and especially the Japanese people, even though others there might not get it, others would, at least it is more accurate, true, and this time it got the mark, unlike Pearl Harbor. But one more thing bothers me, why was this pushed back indefinitely by Miramax a few years ago? Was it because they wanted it to be in line with films 60 years after the war ended, or was it because of the war in Iraq? I hope the war in Iraq is not the reason, because this film is about World War 2.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Great movie all around. War is hell. WWII was no different.

Author: lsholli from United States
27 August 2005

I do not normally go to War type movies, but since my Dad enlisted in the US Army after Pearl Harbor and was stationed in the Phillipines, I thought I should go to see what he went through. You see, WWII Vets don't talk much about the 'Great War'. War is just too horrible.

So I went to see The Great Raid. It was awesome. The acting was great and the fact that it was a true story made it very poignant. Everyone in the theatre clapped after the movie was over.

I validated it with my Dad after I saw the movie that it actually happened and he said 'Yes. We processed the POWs on our ship'.

He remembers and has not mentioned it until now. Until I asked. It is true and it did happen. Kudos to the director and producer for bringing this to light and remembering something so important to our history.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A good America

Author: rgourdeau1 from United States
3 February 2007

I was very young when my Uncle Joseph Morin ( U.S.N.) came home from the war and Japanese prison camp. He was in the Bataan march and spent all of the war in a prison camp. Some of the things he told me were seen in this movie . He said that the Japanese soldiers were brutal. He very seldom talked about his years in the camps, but I know he suffered a lot. I enjoyed the movie an I hope that the American people never forget what happened .

I noticed all of the whip marks on his back and , he also lost his sight. When he was captured he weight over 240 lbs, we he came home he was at 130 lbs.

Bob Gourdeau, Georgia

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Fair and accurate account of a true story

Author: cvclark-1 from United States
28 May 2006

This movie should be required viewing for high school history students. The R rating is for disturbing scenes of violence and torture, but the scenes are necessary to tell the story. Unfortunately, war is brutal and dangerous. It's important to educate young people of the true aspects of combat. This movie shows the realities of life both within a group of elite Army rangers given a daring, overwhelming rescue assignment and life within a Japanese POW camp in the Phillipines, survivors of the atrocities of the Bataan Death March who've felt both abandoned by their country and hopeful of rescue. Also depicted is the courage and faithfulness of the Phillipine underground. This film leaves you with an understanding of the quest for glory that has nothing to do with fame.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Very Well Done!!!

Author: pr24user-1 from Tulare, California
8 March 2006

I've read the book and seen the film, & i can honestly say that this is the war movie of the terms of story, script and acting...clever the fact that it really did happened, and our veterans consider the Raid in Cabanatuan a very dangerous mission but turned out to be the most successful one, very excellent film! will reminds you of the saying "live and learn" and never forget your history!...Please be informed that in the book, their Sgt. didn't die...He did survive and saw him once at History Channel rekindling the his memorable WWII experience...Just a very excellent film............for those of you who loves war movies, this is a must see really is good.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Great flick

Author: DJAkin ( from AZ
10 February 2006

I listened to Ghost Soldiers on the road, about a 7 hour Book on CD. Just amazing how much these POW's suffered. It's impossible to do the story justice in two hours but this movie managed to get the point across. What it did not show is what the soldiers who were prisoners did during their three years. They apparently would do baseball make believe etc. to make the time pass and avoid Reality. Benjamin Bratt was amazing as the LTC. Benjamin Bratt did not act that much in this movie. However, Benjamin Bratt did deliver the goods. Joe Fienes was good also as Gibson. I was sad at how he suffered on the day of the rescue. Those darn Japs were so cruel!! They hated us for surrendering. However, they got their act together when we nuked them in August of 45!

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

This movie should get more recognition

Author: ssbn657 from United States
31 December 2005

I read the book "Ghost Soldiers" awhile back. It was great. This movie, now out on DVD, was a good translation from print to screen. It did not do weell in release; maybe few are left that want to see a great WWII flick. In the spirit of John Wayne and others, this is a perfect WWII movie. This is a real story of how US POWs suffered under the Japanese Army. The plan, on the part of the Japanese, was to eliminate any evidence of war crimes and then slip away to Japan. The plan on the part of the US was to rescue the POWs. It shows how much the US Military progressed, in tatics and equipment, as the war evolved. Also, we get a good view of the Phillipine Resistance who took on the Japanese for 3 years. I found the scenes very moving at times and at times I got angry about the treatment of POWs and humanitarian workers. I recommend that you rent this movie,and sit back and enjoy it.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Heroism and Gallantry

Author: jackkopsteinbso from Canada
4 September 2005

I had seen the trailers for this movie and read the book"Ghost Soldiers" which came out few years ago. This movie is perhaps one of the finest war epics I have seen and I must say I have seen many. I was unable to speak I was so overtaken with emotion when I came out of the theatre. Even now I am completely overtaken by the sheer ability of the men involved in the raid on the POW camp. It must stand as on of the greatest war stories ever told. The dedication along with the discipline necessary to carry out this effort to extract a forgotten and enslaved group of Americans must go down as one of the most heroic and gallant actions of the war. Staying close to the real story is often difficult in a movie but this was incredibly most like a docu-drama that I have ever seen. Hats off to the actors and everyone involved in this outstanding movie.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A well-meaning but watered-down war epic

Author: TheFilmProf from Florida
6 June 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The war film, like its cousin, the western, has been a staple of American cinema almost from its beginning. Both genres share common character underpinnings of determination, confidence, and, relatively anyway, moral certainty. Westerns, of course, are generally fictional, as the old west that's depicted in the movies never really existed. War films, on the other hand, while often fictionalized, are generally based on real events.

"The Great Raid" is one such film. Based on the details of an actual rescue, as presented in William Breuer's comprehensive book "The Great Raid on Cabanatuan", and Hampton Sides' "Ghost Soldiers", "The Great Raid" is director John Dahl's portrayal of those events, executed in very broad strokes. While the film was 'inspired' by the true story, as noted in the opening credits, some unnecessary creative license is taken in detailing an event, which on its own, is compelling, and needs no embellishment.

In January, 1945, a battalion of U.S. Army rangers plotted a raid on a POW camp at Cabanatuan in the Philippines. Most of the prisoners there were survivors--and just barely--of the Bataan Death March. The able-bodied had been sent to the work camps in Japan and only the sick and near-dead remained at Cabanatuan. Essentially useless liabilities to the Japanese, the POWs would likely have been killed as had others, so this mission was a desperate, last-ditch effort to save them. With little time and minimal intelligence information, the U.S. Army's 6th Ranger Battalion, led by Lt. Colonel Henry Mucci (Benjamin Bratt), planned one of the most audacious and dangerous missions of the war.

Occurring over five days, three intertwined stories tell of the plight of the POWs, the related efforts of the Philippine underground in Manila, and the strategy of the rescue mission. With a cast of mostly 'B' actors, the characterizations are marginally effective, but not particularly strong, with the exception of Connie Neilsen's performance as American nurse Margaret Utinsky. Utinsky, was a key member of the Philippine underground in Manila and was instrumental in the smuggling of medical supplies to the prisoners, which undoubtedly kept many of them alive long enough to be rescued. Unfortunately, the role included a tenuous love connection between POW Major Gibson (Joseph Fiennes), a composite, fictional character, and Utinsky, who was quite real. It's an unnecessary and gratuitous fabrication. Utinsky's efforts in the underground are notable, well-documented, and worthy of inclusion in their own right. The contrived relationship between them was more distracting than involving, as were a few other things.

After watching the film for about twenty minutes, I had the nagging feeling that something was missing. It was profanity. Hardly a single utterance can I recall. Anyone who's ever sat around a barracks knows how soldiers talk, and it isn't like these guys do. Even the most provincial person, while maybe not approving of such salty slang, knows that it exists, especially in a wartime context. Steven Spielberg, who's certainly not known for being offensive, recognized the need for such realistic, linguistic candor in "Saving Private Ryan." But, heck, there just wasn't any here. Paradoxically, Dahl has no problem showing the graphic brutality of the Japanese who, with frightening indifference, summarily executed prisoners and civilians alike, which undoubtedly accounts for the film's "R" rating.

Considering the flat romantic tie-in, the MPAA-friendly dialogue, and much of its visual style, this film has the look of a production that could have originally been intended for television, but was instead hung on the coattails of current events and put into widespread theatrical distribution, perhaps intended to rally support for a war that the nation seems to be tiring of. But although it lacks a certain verbal grittiness at times, and is often rife with platitudes, "The Great Raid" is a film whose heart, if not its mouth, is in the right place.

© 2005

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