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Back to Bataan (1945)

Approved | | Drama, War | 31 May 1945 (USA)
In 1942, after the fall of the Philippines to the Japanese, U.S. Army Col. Joseph Madden stays behind to organize the local resistance against the Japanese invaders.

Director:

Edward Dmytryk

Writers:

Ben Barzman (screenplay), Richard H. Landau (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Wayne ... Col. Joseph Madden
Anthony Quinn ... Capt. Andrés Bonifácio
Beulah Bondi ... Bertha Barnes
Fely Franquelli ... Dalisay Delgado
Richard Loo ... Maj. Hasko
Philip Ahn ... Col. Coroki
Alex Havier Alex Havier ... Sgt. Bernessa (as J. Alex Havier)
'Ducky' Louie 'Ducky' Louie ... Maximo Cuenca
Lawrence Tierney ... Lt. Cmdr. Waite
Leonard Strong ... Gen. Homma
Paul Fix ... Bindle Jackson
Abner Biberman ... Japanese Captain
Vladimir Sokoloff ... Señor Buenaventura J. Bello
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Storyline

The US Army's defense of its Philippines colony and the allied Malay countries/colonies behind it counted on its island fortress of Corregidor on Luzon -and a few others- but loses it in the 6 May 1942 Japanese combined forces attack. Colonel Joseph Madden is among the escaping survivors who are ordered by general Douglas McArthur to organize a guerrilla. As he finds many native Filipinos inclined to resist the occupier's vision of returning to the South Asian fold under a paternalistic empire which doesn't hesitate to 'spank the unruly', but is mainly civilian, unprepared, inept in military matters, Madden appeals to the legendary anti-US freedom fighter Andres Bonifácio's homonymous grandson Captain Andrés Bonifácio, who is luckily rescued from a POW dead march, to inspire the resistance -once his own fighting spirit is rekindled- with him in a still very unsure war, retaliated by bloody, ten to one repression. When the Japanese realize the people side against them, they stage fake ... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

SEE! American landings on Leyte! Cabanatuan prisoners freed in spectacular Yankee raid! (original poster) See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 May 1945 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Invisible Army See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,490,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Wayne later said he regretted starring in this film as the director was a Communist. See more »

Goofs

Imperial General Headquarters regarded Homma as not aggressive enough in war (resulting in the high cost and long delay in securing the American and Filipino forces' surrender), and too lenient with the Filipino people in peace, and he was subsequently removed from his post on June 9th 1942 and returned to Japan. In the movie when they are discussing the possibility of Filipino independence with Dalisay Delgado, Homma, would have been in Japan at this point in time. See more »

Quotes

Maj. Hasko: I send out 100 men, they find nothing. I send out ten men, they don't come back.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: This story was not invented. The events you are about to see are based on actual incidents. The characters are based on real people. JANUARY 30, 1945 THE JAPANESE PRISON CAMP AT CABANATUAN See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Into the Breach: 'Saving Private Ryan' (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An All-Too- Rare Look at Filipino Resistance
29 May 2006 | by wuxmupSee all my reviews

The only thing that distinguishes "Back to Bataan" from scores of other routine war films is its historical theme, which remains an uncommon and important one. Few young Americans today have even heard of the Filipino and American disaster at Corregidor and the Bataan Death March that followed, during which numerous sick and hungry prisoners of war were beaten and killed by their Japanese guards. Although the movie accurately portrays the spirit of Filipino resistance to the Japanese, the individual characters from John Wayne down are cut from the usual Hollywood cardboard. Even the real American survivors of Japanese imprisonment, filmed here some months after their liberation during the invasion of the Philippines, are shown, supposedly right after they got out of the Japanese prison camp, freshly shaved and with neatly trimmed hair. Similarly, the guerrilla force led by John Wayne looks little the worse for wear even after two and half years of jungle warfare (whixh seem like about a week in this movie).

The Japanese lynching of the school principal is well handled. The man has not set out to be a hero, but put under the gun, literally, he is simply unable to haul down the American flag. The invaders hang him as an example.

Despite its weaknesses, "Back to Bataan" is still watchable and even enjoyable as a different view of World War II, especially if you're a high-schooler who hasn't yet become too cynical about Hollywood war movies. John Wayne and Anthony Quinn are their usual solid selves, and Beulah Bondi (as a naive but tough American matron)is an unusual asset in this kind of action film.


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