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They Were Expendable (1945)

Approved | | Drama, War | 31 December 1945 (USA)
The PT boat unit Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Three defends the Philippines from Japanese invasion during World War II.

Directors:

John Ford (as John Ford Captain U.S.N.R.), Robert Montgomery (uncredited)

Writers:

William L. White (book), Frank Wead (screenplay) (as Frank Wead Comdr. U.S.N. {Ret})
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Montgomery ... Lt. John Brickley (as Robert Montgomery Comdr. U.S.N.R.)
John Wayne ... Lt. (J.G.) 'Rusty' Ryan
Donna Reed ... Lt. Sandy Davyss
Jack Holt ... General Martin
Ward Bond ... 'Boats' Mulcahey C.B.M.
Marshall Thompson ... Ens. 'Snake' Gardner
Paul Langton ... Ens. 'Andy' Andrews
Leon Ames ... Major James Morton
Arthur Walsh Arthur Walsh ... Seaman Jones
Donald Curtis ... Lt. (J.G.) 'Shorty' Long / Radio Announcer
Cameron Mitchell ... Ens. George Cross
Jeff York ... Ens. Tony Aiken
Murray Alper ... 'Slug' Mahan T.M. 1c
Harry Tenbrook ... 'Squarehead' Larsen SC 2c
Jack Pennick Jack Pennick ... 'Doc'
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Storyline

In the wake of Pearl Harbor's surprise attack, World War II hero, Lt. John Brickley's experimental squadron of agile fast-attack Patrol Torpedo boats is sent to warm and humid Manila to avert a potentially imminent Japanese invasion. As he and his second-in-command, Lieutenant "Rusty" Ryan, desperately try to prove the newly-founded naval unit's worth, the enemy launches a devastating all-out attack--and despite the PT boat flotilla's undeniable success--the considerably outnumbered and outgunned American soldiers are fighting a losing battle. Little by little, the Philippine campaign is doomed to cave in, as comrades-in-arms perish in the sea. Is there glory in defeat? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

M-G-M Presents one of the Greatest Pictures of all Time See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 December 1945 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fuimos los sacrificados See more »

Filming Locations:

Florida Keys, Florida, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

After hearing that Admiral Blackwell wants to see LT Brickley, LTJG Ryan opines that he "probably wants us to carry a message to Garcia." This refers to an inspirational and originally untitled essay by Elbert Hubbard, published in 1899. The essay deals with the problem of finding workers who will obey orders without needless questions, work hard without supervision, overcoming obstacles by taking initiative on their own, and complete assignments as tasked. It complains of those who do not fall into the above category as impeding the work of those who do.

In the days leading to the Spanish-American War, President McKinley wanted to initiate communication with the Cuban (anti-Spanish) rebels, potential allies in a war with Spain. Lt Andrew Rowan was detailed to find Calixto Garcia, one of the rebel commanders.Rowan was dispatched to Jamaica with orders of getting a message to Garcia and little other direction. After an arduous trip, Rowan found Garcia in the Oriente Mountains of Cuba and established a rapport with him. Rowan garnered information from Garcia and returned it the US. Soon, after the "Message to Garcia" became associated with Hubbard's essay. See more »

Goofs

When Lt. Sandy Davys attends the 'party', Lt. JG 'Rusty' Ryan takes a big swig of his drink, spilling some of it down his face and shirt, yet in the next scene, he's completely dry. See more »

Quotes

Lt. John Brickley: Oh, Snuffy... how about getting some torpedoes from you?
Submarine commander: For those cracker boxes of yours? No telling when we'll see a mother ship again.
Lt. John Brickley: How long have you been on patrol?
Submarine commander: Since the day the war started.
Lt. 'Rusty' Ryan: What did you get?
Submarine commander: Two small freighters. We had hard luck.
Lt. John Brickley: Well, while you've been cruising around the Pacific, those 'cracker boxes' have sunk two converted cruisers, an auxiliary aircraft carrier, a 10,000-ton tanker, a large freighter, a flock of barges and numerous sons of Nippon!
Lt. 'Rusty' Ryan: And also in...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: Manila Bay In the Year of Our Lord Nineteen hundred and Forty-one See more »

Connections

Edited into Malaya (1949) See more »

Soundtracks

You're in the Army Now
(uncredited)
Music by Isham Jones and lyrics by Tell Taylor and Ole Olsen
[Instrumental version heard when the boat crews march off to be secunded into the army.]
See more »

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User Reviews

A film about following orders no matter how painful
31 January 2002 | by chisumSee all my reviews

One reveiwer critices this film about lack of action he misses the point,all the characters are well developed which makes the ending so painfull. The acting is first rate every part is played with a great belief,,there are so many great scenes that touch the heart.The men are bonded together by their actions and when the bonds are broken through death or orders it hurts us all. Donna Reed is gorgeous to look at ,only a small role but well acted. At the end of the film you feel a lump in your throat and a tear forms in your eye,I love this movie.9/10


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