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They Were Expendable

They Were Expendable(1945)

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  • Underated movie

    • Addie Appelbaum
    • 4/23/14

    John Ford was fortunate to have Lt. Robert Montgomery, winner of the Navy Cross for his heroism in the Pacific and at D-Day, portraying Pt Boat Squadron Commander. Lt. John Bulkeley, winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor, in Ford's 1945 movie "They Were Expendable". For all of his bravado, Ford never experienced the gritty combat that Montgomery went through, and John Wayne never served during a day in his life during the Second World War.Having said that, this is a proud chapter in the history of the United States Navy, and there is true realism in the lives of the PT boat personnel serving at the beginning of the Second World War. The delicate relationship between Wayne and nurse Donna Reed has a sweetness and dignity not often seen. Montgomery, who was indeed a PT boat commander, is understated as the stalwart officer who understands early on what will occur.

  • they were expendable

    • suds
    • 6/29/13

    very good movie for 1945, would be good also in color

  • They were Expendable

    • Dashiell Barnes
    • 8/2/12

    A fine WWII film from Naval commander & director, Ford. As an actual PT Boat Commander, Montgomery fully grasped the authenticity of being in war, giving an excellent performance along with Wayne & a too-brief Reed. The Oscar-nominated sound & special effects add deep realism to the battle scenes. A favourite film of Ford & a film definitely worth seeing. I give it a 4/5.

  • Expendable but not forgetable

    • Bart
    • 2/16/12

    Great tribute to US Navy and those that gave some or all!

  • Great Movie!

    • THarold
    • 2/15/12

    Always wanted to catch this and finally saw for the 1st time recently and was extremely impressed by the quality of production and all performances. Bob Montgomery is phenomenal in the lead. Truly an underrated film- thanks for showing.

  • Surprisingly sensative Wayne

    • Haig Tufankjian
    • 2/10/12

    One of John Fords great motion pictures. The stand out here is John Wayne's sensitive performance. I don't know what Ford told Wayne and Reed before shooting but their last phone conversation is simply one of the most beautifully played scenes Ford ever directed. Watch Wayne in this one and see one of his greatest performances. Wayne is not given credit for his ability to project the kind of tenderness he delivers in this film. Wayne was at his best when directed by Ford. So was anyone else who worked with Ford. I am glad to say John Ford hails from Portland, Maine. Hope some day they name a movie theater here for him. Has a nice ring to it, "The John Ford Theater".

  • They Were Expendable

    • Lonnie Turner
    • 12/8/11

    Great acting and one of the World War II classics. I had three brothers and a sister in the armed forces during the time and I remember the flag in our window with 4 stars that let all in our town know that we had family members serving. I've heard many stories about the conditions in the Pacific from them. Thanks Turner Classic Movies for this history lesson!

  • they were expendable

    • Carole
    • 12/8/11

    This movie is fantastic, great everything esp to watch on Dec. 7th. So why did Turner schedule it for 4:15 am????? One of my personal favorites along with Tora, Tora, Tora and The Battle of the Bulge! We should make sure this p.c. society does not forget.

  • One of my all time favorite movies!

    • Bob
    • 12/8/11

    Great acting, direction, story, score - this movie has it all. It covers the early desperate days of World War 2 in the Philippines, where brave men fought a hopeless battle to buy time for America to mobilize against her enemies.

  • This Is Classic Story

    • Expendable
    • 12/7/11

    Can never get enough of this movie.

  • GREAT Film

    • Cris Cannon
    • 5/29/11

    Nothing more to say. Depicts the early days of the war with the accuracy and desperation that was so real.

  • They Wer Expendable

    • Jim Regan CSM, USA (Ret)
    • 8/18/10

    A thrilling account of the exploits of MTB3, the First Motor Torpedoe Boat Squadro!Ward Bond played the part of my DAD! Chief of Boats Richard A. Regan. He did a great job.Dad did not return from WWII, he and his fellow POWs were being transported to mainland Japan when their ship, the Arisan Maru was sunk in Manila bay by our submarines. on 24 Oct 1944.Of the 1800 POWs in the cargo hold of the Arisan Maru, only five survived! One of the worse losses of life in marine history. Never got to know my Dad as I was only two when he left for the Pacific. He has always been my Hero! RIP Dad, Your son,Jim RLTW (Rangers Lead the Way)Jim, RLTW (Rangers Lead the Way)

  • a very good film of the genre

    • John Andrechak
    • 5/29/10

    a very good film, Donna Reed's role is especially poingnant (sic) when consdering that the American nurses captured in the Philipines were subject to mass rape (as were the their British conterparts when Hong Kong fell, as of course all women of all ages in Nanking)THe film does a very good job in depicting the sense of fatalism that must of gripped the men in that part of the war

  • They Were Expendable

    • James Sheets
    • 5/27/10

    Not only is this a great movie, it is a true story. The movie is based on a non-fiction book with the same name, and the movie follows the book quite faithfully, with only the names of the characters changed. Lt. Brickley was actually John D. Bulkeley, who won the Medal of Honor and rose to the rank of Vice Admiral in the U.S. Navy. The four officers flew to Australia at the end of the movie, then back to the U.S. When they arrived back home, they were interviewed by William L. White, who then wrote the book.

  • They Were Expendable (1945)

    • Jay Higgins
    • 10/8/09

    Director John Ford's very able direction lifts the Worl War II film to well above average. The cast is excellent. Robert Montgomery is particularly good. John Wayne gives his usual adequate acting job. Exciting and well filmed.

  • One of the Best War Films Ever

    • Tom
    • 3/27/09

    A must see. Through John Ford, Spig Wead, and the entire cast and crew, "They Were Expendable" set the standard for the maturation of the American World War II film that "Stagecoach" set for the American western.Not only are we treated to sharp dialogue and a story based on true events and people, the film also boasts some of the most realistic special effects ever filmed.The anachronisms of using newer boats than were employed in 1941-1942 is forgiveable.Robert Montgomery, a real-life naval commander and hero of WWII, and John Wayne under the combined direction of USN Commander John Ford and Montgomery lead a stellar cast; strangely, the film's love interest, employing the darling Donna Reed paired with Wayne, is seemingly so cliche for the movies of the time, that it's hard to believe that the romance just happened to be very true also - true enough to lead the real-life counterparts whom Wayne and Reed portray to file a lawsuit over the film for invasion of privacy!But I digress----The long lingering film shots allowing all actors to shine in moments of quiet contemplation and boisterous camaraderie are matched by epic scale spurts of naval warfare. And throughout, the viewer is treated to not only cynically funny exchanges, but also to despairingly real minimalistic dialogue, a seamless mix that makes this one of the greatest American war films ever made. "They Were Expendable" depicts gallantry without celebration; heroism without glory; the irreplaceability of death vivid and final. Depicting war's impact on the men and the women who endured the real-life experiences that "They Were Expendable" encapsulates on screen, the film manages to wrap the viewer's emotions into experiencing the angst of separation and eternal parting of friends that could only be felt by those who survived.John Ford and Robert Montgomery were among those who survived. And who better to tell such a story?

  • Thanks....Dave!

    • JJ
    • 1/4/09

    Been curious about that piece for years. What a poignant scene; The two of them making that connection with such uncertain futures. Although born in 1946, I suspect that typified many romances of the time.

  • song title

    • dave
    • 6/11/08

    the title of the song is "marcheta",30's vintage.

  • what is the music??

    • patti
    • 5/28/08

    would love to know the name of the music John Wayne and Donna Reed dance to, and that he later hears on the radion when the fall of Bataan is announced.

  • Herbert Stothart Song Selection

    • Stan Cunningham
    • 5/27/08

    I'd be very interested in knowing the title of the waltz melody that played during the dance and again during the officers dinner party that Sandy attended.

  • A great film

    • jerry
    • 5/3/08

    Great film about sacrifice, heroism and "holding the line" at a time when the US was on its heels after the Pearl Harbor attack. The film conveys the hopelessness of the situation but also the sense of duty and honor these men felt. One of my favorite films!

  • Its really a patriotic film

    • jerry
    • 1/5/08

    "They were Expendable" is not really a story about defeat. Based on the true exploits of a torpedo boat squadron in the Phillipines at the beginning of the war, it is more about the sacrifices made by the "citizen soldiers" of that time. These individuals knew they were expendable and were there to hold out as long as they could against insurmountable odds.They did their job knowing they were going to loose, but that others would win eventually.It is one of the better films about why we fought WW2.

  • Grim indeed

    • Carl
    • 2/11/07

    Actually, Ford did intend the film to be more on the grim side, but as I understand it, the studio wouldn't go with it.

  • Elegy of Defeat

    • ojc
    • 11/7/06

    This is a strange movie from an American perspective because it is about defeat. The collapse of our defense of Phillipines in the early days of WW II. John Wayne is marvelous as is Donna Reed. Robert Montgomery is good and gritty as the lead commander. The supporting cast of John Ford regulars are fine. The photography is excellent and so is the screenplay. Despite all these good qualities there is something missing... maybe it is a sense that there is no real resolution. Perhaps the film should have been a bit more grimmer but Ford just could not let it be. Still it is one of Ford's better films and one which is rarely included in his pantheon of great movies.Wat

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