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Too Young the Hero (1988)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, War | TV Movie 27 March 1988
The true story of Calvin Graham who at the age of twelve, but looking quite a lot older, succeeded in joining the navy during World War II. In spite of his young age, he received a purple ... See full summary »


Buzz Kulik


Calvin Graham (manuscript), Gary Thomas (manuscript) | 1 more credit »
2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Ricky Schroder ... Calvin Graham
Jon DeVries Jon DeVries ... Captain Gatch (as Jon De Vries)
Debra Mooney ... Calvin's Mother
Rick Warner Rick Warner ... Holbrook
Tom Wood ... Davy Cluff (as Thomas Mills Wood)
Christopher Curry ... Laslo
John Linton John Linton ... Scotty Bloxom
Markus Flanagan ... Sparky
David Gianopoulos ... MacBride
Shelley Reid ... Cracker (as Ron Shelley)
Christopher Yohe ... Frank (as Christopher Yore)
Terry Loughlin ... Necker
Thomas McGovern Thomas McGovern ... Turkel
Carl Mueller Carl Mueller ... Shriver
Mert Hatfield Mert Hatfield ... Harry


The true story of Calvin Graham who at the age of twelve, but looking quite a lot older, succeeded in joining the navy during World War II. In spite of his young age, he received a purple hart for his bravery in the battle of Guadalcanal. When he reported back to his unit after a leave, his world collapsed. Due to a misunderstanding he is reported as a deserter which is the start of a real nightmare. Written by Willy Vanhaelen <willy.vanhaelen@advalvas.be>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


While the movie depicted Calvin Graham as being second to the youngest in the family, he was in real life the youngest sibling. The idea that he had a younger baby sister being raised by his older sister Pearl was fictionalized for "dramatic" purposes. See more »

User Reviews

27 October 2002 | by rmax304823See all my reviews

Okay, Shroder doesn't look twelve, but pretty close. That isn't the problem. The film has a kind of shoddy look to it, mainly due to the photography and wardrobe. Ricky Shroder is a nice guy but not the most convincing of actors. The scenes on the battleship were shot aboard the North Carolina, a relic moored on the Cape Fear River.

Some of the performances are quite good, particularly my own as the hobo snoring on the stairs who must be stepped over by Shroder and his friend. I thought my imitation of waking up was superb. As with too many true stories though, this one doesn't follow a tight enough narrative line. It's not linear, not "fictional" enough. There are three main narrative threads -- Calvin's dysfunctional family life, his unlawful enlistment in the Navy, and his abuse in the brig -- and they don't always mesh together as well as they might.

In real life, Calvin's service to his country was acknowledged finally, long after the events themselves took place. But, as with all autobiographical material, the story as we see it depends largely on his description of what happened. Was he really raped in the brig? Jailhouse rape was a shocker thirty years ago when situational homosexuality in prison was first acknowledged, but by now we've come to expect scenes like that. A shipmate of mine once spent some time in the Marine Brig. Unless brigs have changed a great deal, inmates didn't get raped in the 1940s. It's not like Sing Sing! They can very easily get beaten up and subject to other verbal and physical abuse, but not raped.

Be that as it may, this script could have used a bit of tightening. It rambles around, rather slowly at times, and doesn't exactly enthrall the viewer, except for the performers playing the hobos. One of them is simply sublime.

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Release Date:

27 March 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Herói ou Desertor See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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