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We Were Soldiers (2002)

Trailer
2:52 | Trailer
The story of the first major battle of the American phase of the Vietnam War, and the soldiers on both sides that fought it, while their wives wait nervously and anxiously at home for the good news or the bad news.

Director:

Randall Wallace

Writers:

Harold G. Moore (book) (as Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore), Joseph L. Galloway (book) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
2,014 ( 567)
3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mel Gibson ... Lt. Col. Hal Moore
Madeleine Stowe ... Julie Moore
Greg Kinnear ... Maj. Bruce Crandall
Sam Elliott ... Sgt. Maj. Basil Plumley
Chris Klein ... 2nd Lt. Jack Geoghegan
Keri Russell ... Barbara Geoghegan
Barry Pepper ... Joe Galloway
Duong Don ... Lt. Col. Nguyen Huu An
Ryan Hurst ... Sgt. Ernie Savage
Robert Bagnell ... 1st Lt. Charlie Hastings
Marc Blucas ... 2nd Lt. Henry Herrick
Josh Daugherty ... Sp4 Robert Ouellette
Jsu Garcia ... Capt. Tony Nadal
Jon Hamm ... Capt. Matt Dillon
Clark Gregg ... Capt. Tom Metsker
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Storyline

A telling of the 1st Battalion, 7 Cavalry Regiment, 1st Calvary Division's battle against overwhelming odds in the Ia Drang valley of Vietnam in 1965. Seen through the eyes of the battalion's commander, Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore (played by Mel Gibson), we see him take command of the battalion and its preparations to go into Vietnam. We also see how the French had, years earlier, been defeated in the same area. The battle was to be the first major engagement between U.S. and N.V.A. forces in South Vietnam, and showed the use of helicopters as mobility providers and assault support aircraft. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

400 U.S paratroopers. 4000 Vietnamese soldiers. 12 000 miles away from home. 1 man led them into battle. See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sustained sequences of graphic war violence, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Machine gunner Specialist Bill Beck returned home, and became a greeting card artist with Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, Missouri. Approximately forty years later, he was awarded the Silver Star for his service in Vietnam. See more »

Goofs

As pointed out during the beginning of the movie. The battalion was issued "a new weapon" This would imply that they were issued the original variant of the M-16 rifle. During the battle scenes you can see several rifles that have a Forward Assist. This was not on the original variant of the M-16, it was introduced on the next model. The M-16 A-1.. The Forward Assist is used to help seat a round into the chamber and is still used on the M-16/M-4 rifle. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Joe Galloway: [Narrating; voice-over] These are the true events of November, 1965, the Ia Drang Valley of Vietnam, a place our country does not remember, in a war it does not understand. This story's a testament to the young Americans who died in the valley of death, and a tribute to the young men of the People's Army of Vietnam who died by our hand in that place. To tell this story, I must start at the beginning. But where does it begin? Maybe in June of 1954 when French Group Mobile 100 moved ...
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Alternate Versions

Film was released in Germany in an uncut FSK-18 rated version and in an edited FSK-16 rated version. This version does removes about 12 minutes of footage (including Mel Gibson's speech at the farewell party, vietnamese soldier trying to stab Mel Gibson with his bayonet and getting shot in the head) but still includes some rather violent (for a FSK-16 version) shots (the throat-hit of the french soldier in the opening-scene and the napalm-attack, complete with the pulled off skin of Jimmy's legs is intact). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Battlefield: Vietnam (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Mansions of the Lord
By Nick Glennie-Smith and Randall Wallace
Performed by the United States Military Academy Cadet Glee Club
Also performed by Metro Voices
Produced by Nick Glennie-Smith
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User Reviews

A Movie that Depicts Real Events
26 October 2004 | by mikefigatSee all my reviews

I for one am someone who was inspired to read the book "We were Soldiers Once and Young" after seeing this movie. WWS is about a distinct event that actually happened. SGM Plumley was a soldier's soldier, with five combat jumps in three wars and an astounding three combat infantry badges. LTC Moore was the sort of leader who could keep his head and lead his troops through the worst of battle. People who complain of clichés in this movie might as well complain that people in 18th century movies wear three-cornered hats.

To those looking for an anti-war message, it is there. When Moore goes to Division headquarters and gets his mission, he asks about projected enemy in his area of operations. The staff officer standing next to the general says "a manageable number." To this Moore responds with words to the effect of "which means you have no idea." It turns out that Moore's battalion gets dropped on top of a vastly larger enemy force (if I remember correctly, they get dropped right next to an NVA brigade). Ordinarily, it order to assure success in attack, you want to have three times the numbers of your enemy. In this case, the ratio was 4:1 going the other way. Then the battle is about how artillery and air support makes up the difference in numbers.

The obvious criticism here is that the command was fumbling around in the dark. At the end of the movie, the names of the 70+ men who died are prominently displayed on the screen. A military mind is not treasonous and will not disrespect its superiors, but it will let facts speak for themselves.

The next comment is only tangentially related to this movie. However, many voices here have taken the opportunity to vent their views on Vietnam, so I feel compelled to put things in a broader historical context.

There was a war that did not take place between 1945 and the fall of the Berlin wall. It would have been called WWIII. The Soviet Union and the US stood eye-to-eye for 40+ years, but did not blink. It was an ideological conflict with an evil that meant death to 50+ million people in communist countries in this century. It was conflict with a system that vastly constrained freedom. Fortunately for the world, the US finally prevailed. The struggle fought between communism and the west was fought in a variety of ways: in public relations, in sports, in propaganda, and in a series of proxy wars. In Korea, Greece, Vietnam, Afghanistan and a variety of smaller stages, East contested with West. To the people caught up in these local conflicts, these wars were absolute tragedies. However, in the grand scheme of things, these conflicts pale to insignificance when compared to the 500,000,000 who would have died in WWIII.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA | Germany | France

Language:

English | Vietnamese | French

Release Date:

1 March 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Lost Patrol See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$75,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,212,543, 3 March 2002

Gross USA:

$78,122,718

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$115,374,915
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut) | (TV)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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