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Too Young the Hero (1988)

Not Rated | | 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), David J. Kinghorn (teleplay) | 1 more credit »

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2 nominations. See more awards »


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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 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


Drama | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »






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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Did You Know?


The siblings of Calvin depicted in the movie, "Pearl" and "Frank" were actual real siblings of the real Calvin Graham. Pearl's married name, "Spencer" however was fictionalized. There were Seven Graham Children altogether. See more »

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User Reviews

The U.S. Navy couldn't tell they had a 12 yr old kid on their hands?
31 October 2003 | by yenloSee all my reviews

The makers of this made for TV film of course had a tough call when it came to casting the part of the principal character Calvin Graham. They had to find a professional actor who could pass for a 12 yr old who just happened to look a little older (at least 17). They chose Rick Schroder who was 18 at the time this film was made which in my opinion is pretty close. The film is certainly not of Oscar caliber as most made for TV films are but it isn't all that bad. If it does nothing else it at least tells yet another chapter of the U.S. in WWII. This time the story of underage boys who managed to get in the service. It is hard however to believe that the U.S. Navy could not detect the fact that this was just a 12 yr old kid. In most of the other cases it involved 15 and 16 yr olds passing for 17. It shows in the film how he got past his induction physical but once in basic training at additional physicals and dental exams he would have been detected by qualified medical and dental personnel and sent home. So as a Naval veteran myself it left me with the feeling that the Navy knew they had a way underage boy on their hands and decided to look the other way on it until the heat came down on them as they always seem to do. I was not surprised in the least however at how the Navy handled the affair once it was unmasked. Aside from the true tale of this the film is not bad and has the always enjoyable human interest side to it to help it along.

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