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The Great Raid
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Great Raid More at IMDbPro »

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8 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Boring, boring, boring...

1/10
Author: rrfgtahe-1 from United States
11 March 2006

Absolute crap. Stilted dialog, no connection with the characters, discombobulated plot line. Watched about an hour and finally turned it off.

Funny to see the high rating this has received. Gotta think that the paid shills are having a field day on this one.

And now when I try to submit a comment, IMDb tells me this has to contain ten lines of text. Let's see, how can I further describe those precious 60 minutes of my life I lost while watching this stinker?

It's a shame they didn't do a better job, because the true story is, I'm sure, quite compelling. But this film failed to capture that feeling. Too bad. Don't rent it, and certainly don't buy it.

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8 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Rousing, Spirited, and Clean

8/10
Author: cthulhu-23 from Dallas, Texas
7 August 2005

I saw this movie August 6 as a sneak preview. I enjoyed it very much, as I have always been a history buff, particularly of the Pacific Theater of WWII and have always enjoyed well-made war movies.

The acting is good, the action well-choreographed, and the suspense palpable. I do feel a bit more of the interpersonal stories should have been cut, but it did not overly distract from the film.

In retrospect, I can't recall any foul language and the violence was chiefly of the implied rather than graphic variety, aside from showing the aftermath of some off-screen violence.

I highly recommend it.

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9 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

A tear in my eye as I sat watching, proud to be an American

9/10
Author: fact275-1 from United States
8 August 2005

I am a former US military historian and had the opportunity on Saturday evening to view an advanced screening of The Great Raid. The screenplay was based on two books: William Breuer's "The Great Raid on Cabanatuan" and Hampton Sides' "Ghost Soldiers."

It is January 1945. The U.S. Sixth Army has landed in Luzon in the Philippines and is advancing upon Manila. The retreating Japanese Army are under orders from Tokyo to kill all the prisoners of war they hold. The Japanese do not respect those who surrender and also do not want the POWs to testify to the many Japanese war crimes committed from the invasion onward. Early on the movie, we are shown the real life war atrocity at an island POW camp where Americans are forced into air raid shelters and then immolated.

The Sixth Army's commanding officer, General Kreuger (Vietnam veteran Dale Dye, Captain, USMC (Ret), who was the film's military adviser) has intelligence from "stay behinds" (Americans who fled into the hills after the surrender) and Philippine guerrillas that the Cabanatuan POWs are in grave jeopardy as the Sixth Army closes in.

Kreuger turns to Lieutenant Colonel Henry Mucci (Benjamin Bratt, commander of the 6th Ranger Battalion. Unlike other Ranger battalions, Mucci's Rangers are untested, comprised primarily of soldiers who came to the Pacific Theater of Operations as animal handlers. Mucci has trained his men well though and yearns for a mission where they can prove themselves.

Mucci selects Captain Bob Prince (James Franco), a young Stanford graduate, to plan and lead the raid on Cabantuan. Though Mucci tells Prince that the Captain will lead the raid, Mucci is to accompany Prince and his 120 volunteers on the mission, causing frictions along the way.

Meanwhile, at Cabantuan, the remaining 500+ POWs are in the worst state, the healthier ones having been moved to work forced labor elsewhere in Japanese territory. The POWs are led by Major Gibson (Joseph Fiennes) who is racked with malaria. He does his best to keep his men disciplined and away from the wrath of their sadistic Japanese captors. Gibson's best friend is Captain Redding (Marton Csokas), a man who admits to no friends except the Major and who plans of escaping despite the Japanese threat to kill ten POWs for every man who tries to escape.

In Manila, Margaret Utinsky (Connie Nielsen) is an American nurse with a forged Lithuanian passport working with the Filipino underground. She is part of a smuggling ring that is getting needed medicines into Cabantuan. She was married to a friend of Gibson who later died. Gibson and Utinsky carry the torch for each other and wonder if they will ever be reunited.

Thus, the movie moves on three fronts: Mucci and Prince and the 120 Rangers who must cross 30 miles of enemy held territory to Cabantuan amidst thousands of Japanese soldiers; Gibson and the POWs at the camp; and Utinsky and the Filipino underground.

Some critics have complained that the movie is a bit slow and talky. This is true in the early going but it is absolutely necessary to establish the conditions the POWs were living under and the acts of brutality and torture that occurred not only to the POWs but the Filipino resistance. You cannot understand just how important the raid is until you understand what is happening to the POWs and what horror is to come. That said, the unrequited love story between Gibson and Utinsky was unnecessary and tacked on 30 minutes to the movie.

The Filipino and Filipino-American community should love this movie as it portrays their people in a very positive light. Prince's Rangers are dependent upon Captain Juan Pajota, a skilled guerrilla leader who scouts and leads the Rangers into enemy territory, and then is tasked with holding off several thousand Japanese troops while the Americans raid the camp.

The desire for historical accuracy is also very impressive in this film. For example, Cabantuan curiously featured a few British POWs, gathered in from British possessions in Southeast Asia. One minor character is shown with an accent. There is the "stay behind" American officer. Most impressive is the inclusion of the Alamo Scouts, a little known Army long-range reconnaissance unit that helped scout the camp in preparation for the raid. Weapons appear to be accurate--the Filipinos with older M1928 Thompsons and water-cooled .30 caliber machine guns and the Japanese even carrying Japanese arms (rare for Hollywood). We are even shown a Japanese Banzai Charge--a suicidal rush of soldiers with bayonets, successful against a poor Chinese Army in the 1930s, but not so successful against the American forces.

I read Sides' book and the plot hews very closely to the real-life events. In reality, this is a 3 1/2 star movie but the detail to historical accuracy is worth another 1/2 star. It is the best movie I have seen in what is an admittedly poor year for Hollywood. It should do very well in Red State America. Maybe even in Blue States: at the end of the film, newsreel footage of the actual Rangers and POWs is shown as the credits roll. Only one person that I could see got up to leave. Almost the entire audience stayed until this segment was over.

This movie is patriotic and not politically correct. The Japanese military police are portrayed as they were: sadistic, brutal, and cold.

If you watch this entirety of this movie, with the Rangers storming the camp and carrying the emaciated POWs on their shoulders and don't feel proud to be an American, then you're just a Communist.

**** out of ****

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9 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

A Good Movie

9/10
Author: esker1b from United States
6 August 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

So I was invited to the premiere screening of this movie in Washington DC and found the movie both exciting and longer than really needed.

The action portions were very well filmed the acting was also superb.

The only problem I had with the film was the portions having to do with the flashbacks involving the female nurse which seemed to me to be really long and after the first three times boring. But that was the only thing I could find that upset me.

The film also showed actions by the other side that might make people who have not been involved in the military a little upset.

In the premiere there was extended clapping when the enemy officer got shot and killed. But he was playing the heavy and this was to be expected.

I will see this movie again and try not to give bad comments about the flashback scenes.

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16 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

A fantastic film, a must see....!!

9/10
Author: bojangles5555 from Atlanta, GA
8 August 2005

I saw a sneak preview last Saturday night. The first time in years where I have been to a movie which was applauded at the end by the audience. Will be in the running for "Best Picture" and may take home several Oscar's. Minus the gore of "Saving Private Ryan" yet realistic and seemingly factual with an intertwined love story. It is a must see on the big screen. My girlfriend wants us to see it again...! There are a few sequences that even non-military viewers will be scratching their heads from a military tactical and logistics point of view. I don't want to give away any scenes but these are easily spotted, the films major glowing error. This film would not have worked with a cast of Hollywood power actors, yet the performances delivered are equal to the task. Go see it.....!!

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34 out of 67 people found the following review useful:

Great movie!!! My new favorite for a long time to come.

10/10
Author: fxrt87guy-1 from United States
6 August 2005

Just returned from an early screening.

I read "Ghost Soldiers", and I think that the producers of this movie did a very good job of keeping the film as close to the actual story as is possible under the limitations of cinematic limitations.

As a New Mexican with family and friends who were at Batann and in the Death March (some survived, some didn't), and a former NM National Guardsman, I have always had a keen interest in this and any WWII Pacific Theater story.

There were many New Mexicans at Bataan, and they still honor them to this day there. I drove down Bataan Blvd. outside of Santa Fe to drill for years.

The father of my mother's best childhood friend was a Colonel in the NM National Guard (200th Coastal Artillery) who died in a camp there, and the father of my own best friend, who had never had a cavity in his life, lost all his teeth in a Japanese camp, and my uncle escaped capture and fought with the Filipino guerrillas for years.

In today's poly-cultural, politically correct world, Hollywood types don't usually like these kinds of stories, because they shine the light on another culture's brutality, so bravo to Ben Bratt. He does an admirable job of portraying Ltc. Mucci. I'm not familiar with the other actors, but they all did a great job. I'm surprised this movie was ever even made, let alone released (even if it was released late).

All in all, I think it's a great movie. I'm going to buy it as soon as possible and make my 19-year old daughter watch it. If kids her age could fight, she can certainly watch a movie about it.

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Decent, but many imitating references to prior related movies

6/10
Author: Bene Cumb from Estonia
15 December 2013

The main strength of this movie is being based on real events and names. The plot, however, is uneven, with a few intertwined story-lines with unequal weight and smoothness: preparation for liberation, life in POW camp, resistance activities, liberation itself. Following all this, we see many similarities with approaches from e.g. The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Thin Red Line, Pearl Harbor - and without upgrade or distinctive twists... There are some protracted and arid scenes, tensions tend to decrease at times. The cast is even, both no prevailing performances; Marton Csokas as Capt. Redding and Connie Nielsen as Margaret Utinsky seemed most interesting to me.

All in all, an okay war movie, but no great experience. I would recommend the ones named above instead.

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Good for a B-Grade Movie

7/10
Author: ghasl1 from Canada
21 March 2012

This was a good movie to watch I recommend it if you know what the story is about or even read books about it, I knew they weren't going to go into every single detail of what happened because it would be too much to put in the movie. Although it won't be close to the real thing with gore, brutality and historical accuracy you have to consider the movie went for over two hours and was made on a budget you should know this beforehand when you watch the movie don't expect it to be like Band of Brothers or Saving Private Ryan.

Don't be discouraged by critics if they say its boring, in my opinion it was the opposite and the film was engaging all the way through dialogue and action with a steady pace. I don't expect the acting or portrayal to be Oscar winning but it wasn't so contrived as having an American teaching filipinos of "this is how it's done" with an American flag flying in the background in the end. So not for propaganda use. They didn't ignore the filipino support in the daring raid and at least showed some acknowledgement to all the war heroes, even at the end of the movie with a dedication.

Even if the movie flopped in the box office nobody watches war movies but it's there if people have a pique interest and its better than most B-Grade movies put out today. If you liked or disliked the Pacific Series you should watch The Great Raid afterwards.

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Extras

10/10
Author: mikealan from United States
30 March 2011

In addition to the movie, the extra material on the DVD is excellent. The "timeline" should be mandatory viewing as most folks are NOT aware of the chain of events going back to the 1930's. Those details are not taught in High School or college. They are NOT complimentary to FDR by the way. The boot camp section is enlightening too. It is amazing that the whole crew of actors including Mr Franco went through it. Now that is method acting!

My only complaint about the film is that the deleted scenes were deleted. They add much to the story and the information does not otherwise appear in the movie. Be sure to plan to spend at least 3.5 hours to see both the movie and the special items on the DVD.

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A war movie to learn about

7/10
Author: Luigi Di Pilla from Riehen, Switzerland
10 October 2010

I noted this war movie in the box offices and I'm wondering why such a film hasn't been shown in our theaters in Europe. I found the story very interesting because it is based on true events about the greatest rescue plan for prisoners in the American history. It was never annoying because there were many plots and turns. It's a question of courage, humanity and honor.

The music was wonderful and the direction from John Dahl superb. All the actors delivered here a great performance. Especially Benjamin Bratt, Joseph Finnes and Connie Nielsen convinced me in their roles. I hope to see more from them in future. Then the cinematography was fine too.

I am glad having seen THE GREAT RIDE because it opened again my eyes how hard the soldiers fought for surviving, liberation and freedom in the last world war and how much they suffered far away from their friends or families. In my opinion it's a must see for every one and I give a solid 7/10.

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