7.3/10
6,778
89 user 29 critic

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})
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Major Kirby leads The Wildcats squadron into the historic WWII battle of Guadalcanal.

Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: John Wayne, Robert Ryan, Don Taylor
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

During WWII, a submarine's second in command inherits the problem of torpedoes that don't explode. When on shore, he is eager to win back his ex-wife.

Director: George Waggner
Stars: John Wayne, Patricia Neal, Ward Bond
Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A biography of Navy flier-turned-screenwriter Frank W. "Spig" Read.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Dan Dailey
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

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
Stars: John Wayne, Anthony Quinn, Beulah Bondi
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

During WW2, the U.S. Navy implements a new idea of forming construction battalions that also are fighting units, in case of Japanese attack.

Director: Edward Ludwig
Stars: John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Dennis O'Keefe
Certificate: Passed Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Captain Nathan Brittles, on the eve of retirement, takes out a last patrol to stop an impending massive Indian attack. Encumbered by women who must be evacuated, Brittles finds his mission imperiled.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar
3 Godfathers (1948)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Three outlaws on the run find a dying woman in the desert who gives birth to a baby. The mother entrusts the care of the child to the three men.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Pedro Armendáriz, Harry Carey Jr.
Fort Apache (1948)
Action | Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

At Fort Apache, an honorable and veteran war captain finds conflict when his regime is placed under the command of a young, glory hungry lieutenant colonel with no respect for the local Indian tribe.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A dramatization of the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima.

Director: Allan Dwan
Stars: John Wayne, John Agar, Adele Mara
Flying Tigers (1942)
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Capt. Jim Gordon's command of the famed American mercenary fighter group in China is complicated by the recruitment of an old friend who is a reckless hotshot.

Director: David Miller
Stars: John Wayne, John Carroll, Anna Lee
Rio Grande (1950)
Certificate: Passed Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A cavalry officer posted on the Rio Grande must deal with murderous raiding Apaches, his son who's a risk-taking recruit and his wife from whom he has been separated for many years.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Ben Johnson
The Sea Chase (1955)
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

As World War II begins, German freighter Captain Karl Ehrlich tries to get his ship back to Germany through a gauntlet of Allied warships.

Director: John Farrow
Stars: John Wayne, Lana Turner, David Farrar
Edit

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'
Edit

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's Picture of the Year! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

By the time the film was finished the Japanese had surrendered, so MGM pushed the release date back to December 1945. With the war over, the film opened to enthusiastic reviews but low turnout at the box office. As John Wayne later said, "People had seen eight million war stories by the time the picture came out, and they were tired of them." See more »

Goofs

When one of the PT boats shoots down a Japanese plane it is seen crashing behind some trees. The fireball from the crash appears in a wrong spot from where the plane would have crashed. Also it appears as soon as the plane is below tree height before the plane would actually explode. See more »

Quotes

Lt. 'Rusty' Ryan: [as they watch the inspectors drive away] Wonderful the way people believe in those high powered canoes of yours.
Lt. John Brickley: Don't you believe in them, Rusty?
Lt. 'Rusty' Ryan: And I let you sell me that stuff about a command of my own.
Lt. John Brickley: You're skipper of the 34 boat, aren't you?
Lt. 'Rusty' Ryan: I used to skipper a cake of soap in the bathtub, too.
[He walks off]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing quote: "We Shall Return" Douglas MacArthur, General of the Army See more »

Alternate Versions

MGM produced a different version, dubbed and with credits in Spanish, probably to be used by television stations. This version omits the final sequence (nearly more than 15 minutes of running time) and the film ends a previous scene with Robert Montgomery and John Wayne saying farewell to the soldiers that had to remain in the Phillipines, then the scene cuts to a plane leaving the island and to a "The End" title in Spanish. This version aired in Argentina in a cable station called "Space". Turner Network Televsion, in all Latin American countries, used to air the film in its original form. However, they lifted the Spanish language dubbing from the old version and, without any explanation why, the last minutes of the film play in English. See more »

Connections

Referenced in John Wayne: On Board with the Duke (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Marcheta
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
perhaps the best of the American war flicks made during the war
26 January 2006 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This movie is so exceptionally well-written, acted and directed. Although I am a big fan of some of John Wayne's other war pictures such as The Flying Tigers and The Fighting Sea Bees, these films are not exactly realistic and make it look like Wayne and his friends could have almost single-handedly beaten the Japanese! But, with They Were Expendible, the over-the-top heroism and exploits are instead replaced with grim determination against the odds and a quiet dignity. Because of that, to me, the impact of this film was much more lasting and heart-felt. Realism is key to this picture.

Oh, and by the way, Robert Montgomery gets top billing because when the film was made he was the bigger star--Wayne's rise to the top in Hollywood was still to come. I really see this more as Wayne's film as his part seemed BIGGER and he seemed to get at least as much screen time as Montgomery.

This would be an excellent film for teens, as it focuses on glory and heroism without glorifying death or trivializing our sacrifices.


30 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 89 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed