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Hell and Back Again (2011)

6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 1,838 users   Metascore: 81/100
Reviews: 16 user | 32 critic | 17 from Metacritic.com

What does it mean to lead men in war? What does it mean to come home? Hell and Back Again is a cinematically revolutionary film that asks and answers these questions with a power and ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Nathan Harris ...
Himself (as Sgt Nathan Harris)
Ashley Harris ...
Herself
The Marines of Echo Company ...
Themselves
Christian Cabaniss ...
Himself (as Lt Col Christian Cabaniss)
Eric Meador ...
Himself (as Cot Eric Meador)
Ted Hubbard ...
Himself (as Lt Edward Hubbard)
Terry Roberts ...
Himself (as Chaplain Terry Roberts)
Doug Webb ...
Himself (as SSgt Doug Webb)
Robert Gaines ...
Himself (as Lt Cmdr Robert Gaines)
Matthew Swibe ...
Himself (as Lt Cmdr Matthew Swibe)
Chris MacDonald ...
Himself (as Sgt Chris MacDonald)
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Storyline

What does it mean to lead men in war? What does it mean to come home? Hell and Back Again is a cinematically revolutionary film that asks and answers these questions with a power and intimacy no previous film about the conflict in Afghanistan has been able to achieve. It is a masterpiece in the cinema of war. Written by Danfung Dennis

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Details

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Release Date:

5 October 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Helvetet tur och retur  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$3,413 (USA) (7 October 2011)

Gross:

$37,539 (USA) (3 February 2012)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

Despite an establishing shot of the exterior of a Walgreens pharmacy, the scene where Nathan's wife purchases his prescriptions is clearly filmed inside a CVS pharmacy, as seen on the cashier's name tag. See more »

Connections

Edited into Independent Lens: Hell and Back Again (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Hell And Back
Music & Lyrics by J. Ralph
Performed by Willie Nelson
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A great documentary that will bring out different things from different people
22 April 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Many documentaries have some sort of bias, whether it be "pro" or "anti" something or other. "To Hell and Back Again" is different in that it will probably expose one's opinions without really having one itself. The documentary follows the life of Sgt Nathan Harris and his wife Ashley who live in a small town in North Carolina. Nathan is a marine who, on his third tour of duty, is wounded in his leg and has to go through extensive and painful therapy. Danfung Dennis cuts between these images and those he took earlier of Nathan leading his platoon in an intense tour in Afghanistan. The contrasts are incredible and help emphasize everything that a marine goes through both abroad and at home. Some images are severe, such as the deaths of an American LCP and an Afghan soldier (both die off screen but you do see their bodies moments after)

The footage of Nathan at home, however, is what may bring out very different responses. He is obviously in extreme pain and has a harder life, yet is still very gung-ho and dreams of a full recovery and return to the front line (which got a gasp of disbelief by some in my theater). He also is very interested in firearms, and there are several shots of him and his pistols which he keeps near his bed and which he trains his wife how to use. She, meanwhile, must deal with the stress of caring for an injured husband while still performing her daily routine. Together, they see people in their community (who are quite positive), the marine doctors (who are hopeful for his recovery), and attend a very sad memorial for recently KIA soldiers at the base.

To anyone who is staunchly pro-military, the footage should be quite uplifting. Nathan is determined to recover (and he does noticeably improve though as of April 2011 is not fully healed) and the support of his community and especially his wife is heartwarming. Those who are not so gung-ho will probably be shocked by the footage. In the Q&A with the director and Ashley after the screening, one woman asked Ashley if she was scared for her life at all (a reference to Nathan's constant gun wielding, which she wasn't). Regardless of your leanings though this is an excellent documentary and should not be missed.


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