They Were Expendable (1945)

Approved   |    |  Drama, War


They Were Expendable (1945) Poster

A Navy commander fights to prove the battle-worthiness of the PT boat at the start of World War II.


7.2/10
7,474


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  • Donna Reed in They Were Expendable (1945)
  • John Wayne in They Were Expendable (1945)
  • John Wayne and Robert Montgomery in They Were Expendable (1945)
  • John Wayne and Donna Reed in They Were Expendable (1945)
  • John Wayne and Donna Reed in They Were Expendable (1945)
  • John Wayne and Donna Reed in They Were Expendable (1945)

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Cast & Crew

Top Billed Cast



Directors:

John Ford , Robert Montgomery

Writers:

William L. White (book), Frank Wead (screenplay)

Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


22 November 2000 | tlc75372
10
| The Monkeys Have No Tails in Samboango
Wayne and Ford at their peak.

Somehow I missed this film until a few years ago on a cable movie channel. Growing up with WWII as the dominant theme of modern history and an appreciation of the older film stars, this film is without question the most realistic in terms of the message and of just passed events with superb performances in the old morality style of the 40's.

The old Navy, surviving in the Asiatic backwater where promotions could take years, bears the brunt of the onslaught of total war for America. A heroic tragedy of holding the line to bide time for the Nation to recover.

A story for all time, the greatest war movie of all time. No matter how large the budget and digital special effects, they will never capture the texture and feel of this film. The dying of the old Navy from Yangtze to Cavite with gutsy sailors like "Boats" living hard in the backwater paradise of the Pacific on $20 a month.

The tragedy of continuing defeat, overwhelming catastrophic events, the ill prepared Nation, the dying of the old Navy, all combine to make this film, made with event still fresh in the actors and film makers minds, a statement of that war and of the heroes which the audience knew first hand. It says, we knew these men and boys and they were as fine a heroes this country has ever produced and they will live larger than life for as long as this film exists.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is one of a handful of feature film movies that have featured the story of the World War II Battle of Bataan. They include Bataan (1943), So Proudly We Hail! (1943); They Were Expendable (1945) and Back to Bataan (1945).


Quotes

Lt. 'Rusty' Ryan: Listen Brick, for years I've been taking your fatherly advice, and it's never been any good. So from now on, I'm strictly a one man band!


Goofs

In the bar scene after the funeral for Squarehead Larsen and Slug Mahan, the radio station playing music and announcing the fall of Bataan is identified as WBKR San Francisco. Stations with call signs beginning with W are in the eastern US. WBKR is currently assigned to an FM station in Owensboro, KY.


Crazy Credits

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


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.


Soundtracks

The Monkeys Have No Tails in Zamboanga
(uncredited)
Music adapted from the official march of the Philippine Constabulary
Written by by G. Savoca (lyrics)
[Sung in the officer's club at the beginning of the movie.]

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