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  #1  
Old 12-26-2018, 06:09 PM
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The Great Raid (2005 film)

For all of you WW2 and action movie buffs, if you haven't seen it yet and are looking for something to watch this weekend Netflix has The Great Raid on their streaming service. I watched it the other night, and it's a pretty good movie. When it first came out in the theaters I was immediately put off by the promotional poster that had a soldier pointing a Beretta M9, plus the lack of any big-name actors gave me the impression that it was a cheap B-flick. Fortunately the actual movie itself was fairly well-done and accurate, not just the weapons and equipment used but the actual storyline as well. It tells the true story of the raid by US and Filipino soldiers to rescue 500 POWs at Cabanatuan in Luzon in 1945.

The movie "bombed" in the theaters badly (sorry, bad pun) and was panned by critics as being too boring and lacking action, but the truth is it's a proper slow-burn movie that shows events leading up to the actual raid which takes place in the last half hour of the film. No Ben Affleck-style love triangle and no over-the-top explosions, but plenty of action at the end and a great story that was long overdue making its way onto film.
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  #2  
Old 12-26-2018, 06:16 PM
magazineman magazineman is offline
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Yep, I've seen it. Great flick.
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  #3  
Old 12-26-2018, 06:23 PM
dep2386 dep2386 is offline
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Great movie In the movie I believed the camp commander was killed in the battle. I believed he escaped. He was found working on a grounds crew. I believed he was hung.
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Old 12-26-2018, 06:52 PM
Sistema1927 Sistema1927 is offline
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I saw the movie when it first came out. The audience stood up and applauded at the end, and then remained all the way through the credits and the period footage from the actual mission.
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Old 12-26-2018, 07:52 PM
scw2 scw2 is offline
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My father was on the invasion beach ship which was anchored near the shore during the Lingayen landing on January 9. 1945. The ship had recently come from the Battle of Leyte Gulf. The Japanese had started using Kamikazes with some success just before this landing.

The movie was based on two books, one of which was Hampton Sides, Ghost Solidiers, which was the more detailed of the two regarding the raid. The other book tells more about the work of a local nurse in helping the prisoners, and who, I believe, was captured by the Japanese.

I got to talk to Sides about my dad's ship's experiences at the beach landing which preceded the Ranger raid. These are documented in another book, Little Ship, Big War.

Sides did extensive research with interviews of surviving prisoners who were rescued. Sides told me that they were a tough bunch, to live through what they did, and they were mostly in good health at very advanced ages when he interviewed them. He also said that one thing that surprised the prisoners when they were liberated were the more advanced weapons that the Rangers carried compared to what the prisoners had, when the Japanese initially attacked the Philippines.

By that time in the war, there was intense hatred for what the Japanese had done on the Death March. The liberation of the camp was a huge deal.

The movie is very accurate to the books.

Last edited by scw2; 12-26-2018 at 08:06 PM.
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Old 12-26-2018, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by scw2 View Post
He also said that one thing that surprised the prisoners when they were liberated were the more advanced weapons that the Rangers carried compared to what the prisoners had, when the Japanese initially attacked the Philippines.
Yeah, I also read where the prisoners didn't recognize the M1 Garands or new olive drab US Army uniforms and assumed it was a trick at first. Can't blame them, especially after three years of physical and psychological torture.

BTW you made a minor mistake on the year, the Lingayen landing was on January 9, 1945.
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Old 12-26-2018, 08:05 PM
scw2 scw2 is offline
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DSK,

Good catch, Leyte Gulf was in 1944.

I will correct the invasion date.

Craig
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Old 12-26-2018, 08:06 PM
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Kevin Rohrer Kevin Rohrer is offline
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I recommend the book, Ghost Soldiers. It gives the details of the raid and really sets the stage for the movie. I wish the script-writers had read the book prior to writing the screenplay.

The movie does a fairly good job of recounting what happened, but you need to read between the lines in some scenes to fully appreciate what had occurred. For instance, near the end of the movie, the Pilipino guerrillas ambushed a Japanese column and after the ambush, the guerrilla leader stopped to look at his handwork. You can bet audiences all over Asia stood and cheered when they saw that. The Japanese are still hated in Asia to this day for their excesses.
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Old 12-26-2018, 08:11 PM
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Kevin Rohrer Kevin Rohrer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsk View Post
Yeah, I also read where the prisoners didn't recognize the M1 Garands or new olive drab US Army uniforms and assumed it was a trick at first. Can't blame them, especially after three years of physical and psychological torture.
Also, the P61 Nightfighter used to draw attention away from movement looked to everyone like a UFO. The movie did not do a good job of showing the importance of using it or the high priority given to the mission. Quite frankly, the book did a much better job of showing the drama than did the movie.
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Old 12-26-2018, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Kevin Rohrer View Post
The movie does a fairly good job of recounting what happened, but you need to read between the lines in some scenes to fully appreciate what had occurred. For instance, near the end of the movie, the Pilipino guerrillas ambushed a Japanese column and after the ambush, the guerrilla leader stopped to look at his handwork. You can bet audiences all over Asia stood and cheered when they saw that. The Japanese are still hated in Asia to this day for their excesses.
I'm glad the movie included the contribution of the Filipino guerrillas and didn't just make it a "Ra-Ra America" flick. Throughout the film some details and events were changed or fictionalized, either for continuity purposes or under the pretense of "artistic license" (for example the would-be romance between the POW and Margaret Utinsky never actually happened, but was done anyway to juice up the plot a little). However it's pretty rare for a Hollywood movie to be 100% true to the facts. If they even come reasonably close I'm usually happy.

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Originally Posted by Kevin Rohrer View Post
Also, the P61 Nightfighter used to draw attention away from movement looked to everyone like a UFO. The movie did not do a good job of showing the importance of using it or the high priority given to the mission. Quite frankly, the book did a much better job of showing the drama than did the movie.
Books always do a better job with the actual details. Heck even with Star Wars the novels are far better than the films! The P-61 brings to mind another diversion from the facts, as there are currently no flyable P-61s in existence so they had to use a Lockheed Hudson instead. But I'm glad they did that rather than come up with some fake-looking CGI P-61.
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Last edited by dsk; 12-26-2018 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 12-26-2018, 09:25 PM
scw2 scw2 is offline
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I read Sides' book when it first came out fifteen or so years ago and saw the movie the night it opened at a local theater around twelve years ago.

What I remember from seeing both the movie and reading the book was the spirit of risk taking and hard work that went into preparing and executing the raid; and, the heroism and resilience of the prisoners.

I think that the movie and the book Ghost Soldiers accurately represented those qualities.

A producer has to work with a budget, the cooperation of the local governments, in this case a large cast, and has to sell a story to get it made. I loved the movie, but I agree that Sides book is better because it adds detail and tells a longer, more complete story. My memory is that the screen writers did base the movie on two books about the raid.

The above movie budget was not going to include getting a non-existent, still flying aircraft into a scene.

Sides is a great writer and worked very hard to interview and write about the prisoners who were still living years later. In listening to a lecture from him, I was most impressed for his respect for the prisoners who went through hell in real life and how they lived their lives since then.

Last edited by scw2; 12-26-2018 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 12-27-2018, 04:04 AM
21/503 21/503 is offline
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Yeah, I also read where the prisoners didn't recognize the M1 Garands or new olive drab US Army uniforms and assumed it was a trick at first. Can't blame them, especially after three years of physical and psychological torture...
It must have been like looking at men from a different planet. While they were issued khaki uniforms and carried M1903 Rifles, the Rangers wore OD Green and carried M1 Rifles (among other weaponry). The Army changed significantly in a short period of time (because it had to).

The P61, normally flown at night would have been the perfect diversion (literally a UFO flying over the camp).

I love the movie and but choked up everytime I see the videos of the real thing at the end. (I was blessed to know two different men who survived the Death March.)
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Old 12-27-2018, 05:37 AM
scw2 scw2 is offline
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It must have been like looking at men from a different planet. While they were issued khaki uniforms and carried M1903 Rifles, the Rangers wore OD Green and carried M1 Rifles (among other weaponry). The Army changed significantly in a short period of time (because it had to).

The P61, normally flown at night would have been the perfect diversion (literally a UFO flying over the camp).

I love the movie and but choked up everytime I see the videos of the real thing at the end. (I was blessed to know two different men who survived the Death March.)
The neighborhood that I grew up in was full of WWII veterans. And my father's fellow officers used to come down to Florida to visit us in the winter months. As a little kid, I got to listen to their stories, which were told with great humor and occasional sadness, and no requirement for recognition of any sort. I never heard a thought of government aid from them, except that the GI Bill was a great help when they came back.

Your quote above regarding knowing two men who survived the Death March reminds me of this. I agree that you were blessed, as I consider myself to have been, to know some of these men. Thanks for posting.

Now, most of these men are gone. It is important that we remember the incredible sacrifices made throughout the history of this country, and get the stories straight. Steven Ambrose and others have done a great job of this.

The Vikings remembered these acts in oral sagas. They could recite poetry, originally made by skalds, of events hundreds of years in the past, and fortunately, the Icelanders wrote many of these sagas down.

Currently, the country has trouble even getting recent history straight, which is really idiotic.

The internet is more and more a clown show in terms of accuracy, as is much "opinion" reporting, which is corrupted by politics. I bristle that George Bush was called a wimp during his presidency. One of the youngest naval aviators who was rescued after a bombing raid on an island whose Japanese commander ate the livers of American pilots executed in horrible ways. Bush did not have to join the Navy at eighteen and give up a privileged life to fly off a tiny jeep carrier for over a year.

Today, everybody is a hero. That is a joke when you read something like Eugene Sledge's With The Old Breed.

Regarding the P61, I had elderly friends who were around Tacloban in the Philippines who told me what an awesome weapon it was. It would track a Japanese Betty at night by radar and then visually sight the exhaust signatures and open fire with a huge arsenal. The Bettys, I was told, had been harassing American positions with night raids. I doubt the Japanese had any idea what happened to their planes.

Regards,
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Old 12-27-2018, 05:00 PM
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The P-61 wasn't as successful in Europe because it wasn't very fast compared to its German competition, and versions of the British Mosquito proved better. In the Pacific however it was very successful as Japanese planes weren't as fast as the German ones and were very lightly armored, allowing the P-61's firepower to make short work of them.

I think it's pretty indicative of just how fast war technology progressed during World War Two when you realize that the prisoners had no idea what American planes, rifles and uniforms looked like after only three years. They were used to 1903 Springfields and obsolete Curtis P-36s, not semi-automatic rifles and twin-boom P-61 night fighters.
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Old 12-27-2018, 06:32 PM
7.62Kolectr 7.62Kolectr is offline
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Here are some links which show it. There is some archival footage with pics, videos of the event, commander Mucci and other participants.

Pt3
https://youtu.be/0Z8RznAlqWE

Pt4
https://youtu.be/j8lg3_Ao8No

Pt5
https://youtu.be/qFRoMnfWlMs

I think it must be noted that before they got to Cabanatuan these were all men who had surrendered at Bataan and were part of what became known as the Bataan Death March to camp O'Donnell. Other captives from the surrender at Corregidor joined them there. Tens of thousands of American and Philippino soldiers died during the march. Once at camp O'Donnell they were divided and moved to Cabanatuan due to overcrowding.
They suffered there for 3yrs.

The movie and the actual event are probably one of the greatest military accomplishments ever done. Not only did a very small number take on a rescue mission but they were aware that they may encounter up to 10,000 Japanese troops in the area. The rescue was quite the task. But also getting them safely out and to hospital was just as difficult as many of the POWs could hardly even stand let alone walk.

Just one of many great stories from the war and that generation for sure.
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Old 12-27-2018, 08:32 PM
21/503 21/503 is offline
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I doubt much was spent on the Army during the Great Depression as as a result a lot of good men died. Because of this belief I have always believed in a strong national defense (which, when you think about it is probably the most basic reason to have a government to begin with).

The Army I served in (1973-76) is not the Army my daughters are currently serving in. All the equipment, uniforms, etc. are different. Funny thing is a lot of soldiers long for the days I when I served, yet the NCO’s lamented the passing of the “Brown Boot Army” back then. (I wonder if old soldiers ever missed the good times at Valley Forge...)

I do miss the time when everybody’s Dad was a military veteran. (My Dad was a Korean War veteran, too young for WW2.)

My football coach’s knee would lock up sometimes from an old wound. I knew a car salesman at the dealership I worked at (pushing broom) that had a big shrapnel scar on the right side of his stomach from Anzio. A Boy Scout buddy’s Dad had hearing damage from the war. But I never heard anyone complain about the wounds they lived with, I guess they were just thankful to be among the living.
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Old 12-27-2018, 09:11 PM
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I doubt much was spent on the Army during the Great Depression as as a result a lot of good men died.
The inter-war Army was just a shadow of its former self, and in fact when the Philippines were attacked our soldiers were fighting back with not just rifles, but ammunition and even food rations left over from World War One. Virtually nothing was purchased between the wars. I have a book on the USS Arizona, and it describes how naval gunnery practice during the 1930s was often done via dry-fire drills as there wasn't enough live ammunition to spare. The ships also spent more time at anchor than they did out at sea because there wasn't enough fuel oil to keep them running constantly.
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Old 12-27-2018, 09:18 PM
july19 july19 is offline
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I had my doubts about that movie too; I was pleasantly surprised.
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Old 12-27-2018, 10:43 PM
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Here are some links which show it. There is some archival footage with pics, videos of the event, commander Mucci and other participants.

Pt3
https://youtu.be/0Z8RznAlqWE

Pt4
https://youtu.be/j8lg3_Ao8No

Pt5
https://youtu.be/qFRoMnfWlMs
On a 1911-related note, it's interesting how in the movie they showed Sgt. Ted Richardson shooting the lock off the main gate using a 1911. In real life he did so, but not before his .45 was shot out of his hand by a Japanese guard and he had to borrow another one. I guess his was a little worse for wear after being struck by a Japanese bullet.
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Old 12-28-2018, 07:36 AM
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hal copple hal copple is offline
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My farther in law was a BAR gunner when the 32nd Infantry took Buna. Terrible swamp and jungle fighting. Few of his unit lived thru it. Another uncle burned out two MG barrels holding a road junction in the Philippines. When all the officers were KiA, he was field promoted to take over. My dad was a naval anti-sub pilot on the Atlantic coast, mostly Hudsons, Ventura's, and later lots of PBY time out of Argentia. Another uncle was an Artillery FO in the Bulge. Another uncle was the only survivor as a tank driver when it hit a Teller mine, killing the entire squad of infantry on top.

I read the Ghost Soldiers a few years ago, and also the book about the Bataan nurses. I believe the only rescuer soldier killed in the raid was the accompanying Doctor.

A failed POW rescue in late WWII was the Hammelberg attempt in Germany. I was in the Army in Germany, and visited Hammelberg, and walked the street they drove up to blow thru the gate.

When I was a kid, all my friends' dads were War vets, Tarawa, SBD pilots, fighters pilots, and on and on. Like my dad, and all my uncles, they are all gone now.

Someday, all of us vets will likewise be gone too.

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Old 12-28-2018, 09:17 AM
Sistema1927 Sistema1927 is offline
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You can hardly find a veteran in Congress these days. Sigh.
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Old 12-28-2018, 10:43 AM
Jaird Jaird is offline
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I have some good memories of Argentia, NFLD.
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Old 12-28-2018, 06:16 PM
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I believe it was in the Ghost Soldiers where one of the raiders said he was helping prisoners out of the camp when one of them asked him what Rangers were.
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Old 12-29-2018, 11:28 AM
jerryd jerryd is offline
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Col. Mucci

Saw the movie cause he was from Bridgeport Ct. have a highway named after him, good movie.
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Old 12-30-2018, 07:22 PM
Charles68 Charles68 is offline
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I had my 13 yr old son watch it with me last night. He actually watched most of it, only occasionally messing with his phone. He's more interested in Fortnight than history but once I told him this is a true story he was really impressed. We did strike up an interesting conversation on the subject of surrender. Would you rather surrender to the Germans or Japanese?
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