We Were Soldiers (2002)

R   |    |  Action, Drama, History

We Were Soldiers (2002) Poster

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.




  • Mel Gibson at an event for We Were Soldiers (2002)
  • Mel Gibson and Sam Elliott in We Were Soldiers (2002)
  • Keri Russell at an event for We Were Soldiers (2002)
  • Randall Wallace in We Were Soldiers (2002)
  • We Were Soldiers (2002)
  • Mel Gibson and Sam Elliott in We Were Soldiers (2002)

See all photos

Get More From IMDb

For an enhanced browsing experience, get the IMDb app on your smartphone or tablet.

Get the IMDb app

Cast & Crew

Top Billed Cast


Randall Wallace


Harold G. Moore (book), Joseph L. Galloway (book), Randall Wallace (screenplay)

Reviews & Commentary

Add a Review

User Reviews

22 August 2002 | bsmith5552
| "They Finally Got it Right!"
"We Were Soldiers" is based on a real life battle of the Viet Nam war that took place in 1965 in a remote part of Viet Nam. It is based on a book by Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway who are portrayed in the film by Mel Gibson and Barry Pepper respectively.

The film opens with a depiction of the 1954 slaughter of French troops by the Vietnamese army. Twenty one years later Lt. Col Moore (Gibson) and his battalion of 395 men are thrust unknowingly into the same hornet's nest consisting of some 4,000 battle hardened Viet Nam regulars who have been fighting their enemies for many years.

Director Randall Wallace tells the story from three perspectives. Firstly from the viewpoint of the Americans. Outnumbered ten to one they face impossible odds. How Col. Moore rallies his troops and gets them to pull together as a team is a central theme of the picture. Secondly, the story is told from the viewpoint of the wives and families left behind and the problems they have to deal with. Lastly, the Vietnamese army is shown not as unfeeling monsters, but as a professional army defending their beliefs and territory.

The battle scenes are as realistic and convincing as any war movie that you will ever see. We suffer through the casualties both on the battlefield and at home along with the participants. The special effects are seamless and exciting.

Mel Gibson gives a convincing performance as Moore and if you watch the DVD, you can see the amazing similarities between the two men. Madeleine Stowe plays Julie Moore and Keri Russell plays Barbara Geoghegan two of the wives who take on the unenviable task of delivering those dreaded telegrams to the widows from the War Department. Chris Klein plays Russell's husband Jack a new officer and father. His scene with Gibson in the base chapel is memorable. Greg Kinnear plays Captain Crandall the head of Moore's helicopter fleet. Don Duong is very effective as the Vietnamese commander. But acting cudos go to veteran Sam Elliot as the crusty Sgt. Major Plumley.

"We Were Soldiers" is a gripping Viet Nam war drama told in a way that reflects ALL of the participants in an impartially realistic way. As Hank Moore says on the DVD, They finally got it right.

Metacritic Reviews

Critic Reviews

Did You Know?


A theatrical re-release on September 20, 2002 in Arizona saw the world premiere of Randall Wallace's "Sonic Whole Overhead Sound" format, in which the cinema's audio system features a new ceiling speaker channel to convey height information. The mix was created by Mark P. Stoeckinger, in association with Dolby Labs and Todd-AO/Soundelux.


Joe Galloway: 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 ...


In the film credits the following appears "With special thanks to: ...And the 3RD Ranger Training Battalion..." No such unit exists or ever has. There is a 3RD Battalion, 75TH Ranger Regiment and 4TH through 6TH Ranger Training Battalions.

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).


Mansions of the Lord
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


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Action | Drama | History | War


Release Date:

1 March 2002


English, Vietnamese, French

Country of Origin

USA, Germany, France

Filming Locations

Fort Benning - 178 Miller Loop, Fort Benning, Georgia, USA

Box Office


$75,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,212,543 3 March 2002

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:


Contribute to this page

2020 TV Guide: The Best Shows Coming This Year

Look ahead to the TV shows still set to premiere in the rest of 2020, including "Selena: The Series" and "The Stand."

Browse our picks

Around The Web


Powered by ZergNet

More To Explore

Search on Amazon.com