6.7/10
3,281
45 user 21 critic

Too Late the Hero (1970)

PG | | Action, Drama, War | 26 June 1970 (Canada)
A reluctant hero, American Lieutenant Sam Lawson, is secunded to a motley British unit tasked with destroying a Japanese radio on a Philippine island.

Director:

Robert Aldrich

Writers:

Robert Aldrich (story), Robert Sherman (story) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Caine ... Pvt. Tosh Hearne
Cliff Robertson ... Lt. Sam Lawson
Ian Bannen ... Pvt. Jock Thornton
Harry Andrews ... Col. Thompson
Ronald Fraser ... Pvt. Campbell
Denholm Elliott ... Capt. Hornsby
Lance Percival Lance Percival ... Cpl. McLean
Percy Herbert ... Sgt. Johnstone
Patrick Jordan ... Sergeant Major
Sam Kydd ... Colour-Sergeant
William Beckley ... Pvt. Currie
Martin Horsey Martin Horsey ... Pvt. Griffiths
Harvey Jason ... Signalman Scott
Don Knight ... Pvt. Connolly
Roger Newman Roger Newman ... Pvt. Riddle
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Storyline

A World War II movie set on a Pacific island. Japanese and Allied forces occupy different parts of the island. When a group of British soldiers are sent on a mission behind enemy lines, things don't go exactly to plan. This movie differs in that some of the "heros" are very reluctant, but they come good when they are pursued by the Japanese, who are determined to prevent them returning to base. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

War. It's A Dying Business.

Genres:

Action | Drama | War

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After the huge success of The Dirty Dozen (1967), MGM asked Robert Aldrich to make another movie for them, preferably along similar lines. Aldrich showed them a draft of the script for this movie, and the company came up with a provisional budget of $10.1 million, which seemed to them a little steep. Aldrich, in the meantime, had become immensely rich from his percentage of the profits for The Dirty Dozen (1967), and had used the money to buy his own studio, and thus have more control over his movies. Rather than argue with MGM, he simply made this movie for his own company instead, and, as he was proud to tell interviewers, for the much smaller budget of $6 million. See more »

Goofs

The British Vickers machine gun had an effective range of 810 yds (740m), but could be used for indirect fire at distances up to 4500 yards (4100m). The British 2-inch mortar had a range of 500 yards (457m). Given that the mortars can reach the edge of the jungle, that gives the width of the open field as around that distance (500 yds). The Japanese Arisaka rifle had an effective range of 400m (360 yds), which would put the British troops out of range. However, the Japanese infantry are seen using a Type 99 Light Machine Gun. This had a range of up to 1600 yds (1500m), though its effective range was more likely considerably less. This means that the British soldiers would not be out of range of this weapon when they stood behind their weapons pits, though it is unlikely the Japanese would try to hit them at that distance. See more »

Quotes

Captain Hornsby: What an extraordinary fellow!
Colonel Thompson: Well, he is an American.
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Alternate Versions

For the DVD edition edited in Spain in 2005, 2 cuts of the film were included. The English version of 128 minutes, and another only with the Spanish Castilian dubbing 12 minutes shorter (115 minutes). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rainbow Bridge (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Teddy Bear's Picnic
Written by John W. Bratton
Lyrics by Jimmy Kennedy
Sung by the patrol as it leaves the base
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User Reviews

 
Realistic and Original War Movie
8 August 2009 | by claudio_carvalhoSee all my reviews

In the spring of 1942, in Southwest Pacific, Captain John G. Nolan (Henry Fonda) postpones the leave of the volunteer Lieutenant Sam Lawson (Cliff Robertson) and gives an assignment in New Hebrides Island with the British troops based on the required profile – fluency in Japanese and good shape. When Lt. Lawson arrives in the base, the commander explains that the island is divided in the British and Japanese sectors and he should go with a group of soldiers behind the Japanese lines to destroy their radio and transmit a false message to the Japanese forces. Captain Hornsby (Denholm Elliott) is assigned to lead the group, but during the tense mission, he has friction with Private Tosh Hearne (Michael Caine). When things go wrong, the soldiers have to fight to survive while exposing their weakness in character.

"Too Late the Hero" is a realistic and original war movie with human and cynical characters in the jungle of an island in Pacific. Michael Caine plays a rude and insubordinate cockney soldier that is only interested in surviving. Most of the soldiers are cowards that fight only to save their lives and not for patriotism or idealism. The hero of the title is actually an anti-hero that redeems himself in the end. The dialogs are cynical and Tosh has the best lines, like for example, when he proposes to Lawson to go North; or when he talks about the hole where he lives in his hometown in a total lack of perspective. My only remark is the long running time that could be a little shorter. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Assim Nascem os Heróis" ("This Way the Heroes Are Born")


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 June 1970 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

Suicide Run See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,250,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(video compilation) | (TCM Print) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints)| Mono (Westrex Recording System) (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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