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We Were Soldiers (2002)

aka We Were Soldiers

"Fathers, Brothers, Husbands & Sons."

Directed By: 
Details: 138 mins · English, French, Vietnamese · R (USA)

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From Everybody:

gave

Great

This is something as rare as an war/soldier movie that also follows the wifes left behind just waiting for news, while the husbonds are in Vietman fighting - sure we gets fighting over there as well, but the strenght of the movie is the scenes from back home.

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Cast:

Small Sfc. Bob White, Mortar Sergeant
Small Maj. Bruce 'Snake' Crandall
Small Julie Moore
Small Sgt. Maj. Basil Plumley
Small 2nd Lt. Jack Geoghegan
Small Barbara Geoghegan
Small Joe Galloway
Small Capt. Tom Metsker
Small 2nd Lt. Henry Herrick
Small Capt. Tony Nadal
No_movie_poster 1st Lt. Charlie Hastings
Small Sp4 Galen Bungum
No_movie_poster Sp4 Robert Ouellette
Small Capt. Matt Dillon
Small Capt. Robert Edwards
No_movie_poster Sp4 Russell Adams
No_movie_poster Capt. Ed 'Too Tall' Freeman
Small Sp4 Bill Beck
No_movie_poster Lt. Col. Nguyen Huu An
Small Sgt. Ernie Savage
Small David Moore
No_movie_poster Capt. Tom Metsker
Small Julie Moore
No_movie_poster Steve Moore
Small Lt. Col. Hal Moore

Crew:

No_movie_poster Amanda Mackey Johnson Casting
No_movie_poster William Hoy Producer
Small Randall Wallace Director
No_movie_poster Thomas E. Sanders Production Design
No_movie_poster Bruce Davey Producer
No_movie_poster Cathy Sandrich Casting
No_movie_poster Dean Semler Director of Photography
No_movie_poster Arne Schmidt Executive Producer
No_movie_poster Stephen McEveety Producer
No_movie_poster Kevin Kavanaugh Art Direction
No_movie_poster Daniel T. Dorrance Art Direction
No_movie_poster Jim Lemley Executive Producer
No_movie_poster Nick Glennie-Smith Original Music Composer
No_movie_poster Eveleen Bandy Producer
No_movie_poster Harold G. Moore Novel
No_movie_poster Stephen Zapotoczny Producer
No_movie_poster Michael T. Boyd Costume Design
No_movie_poster Gary Fettis Set Decoration
No_movie_poster Joseph L. Galloway Novel
No_movie_poster Danielle Lemmon Zapotoczny Producer
Small Randall Wallace Production
Small Randall Wallace Writer
No_movie_poster Joseph L. Galloway Story Contributor
No_movie_poster William Hoy Editing

Taglines:

"Fathers, Brothers, Husbands & Sons."

Plot:

A French unit is on patrol in Vietnam in 1954, during the final year of the First Indochina War. The unit is suddenly ambushed by North Vietnamese Army forces, who kill the officers and the unit is overrun. Nguyen Huu An orders the execution of all surviving French soldiers, to discourage further French involvement in Vietnam.

Eleven years later, the United States had entered the Vietnam War. U.S. Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore is depicted as dedicated and deeply committed to training troops under his command. He is disquieted when his unit is re-flagged as the 7th Cavalry prior to deployment to Vietnam to being a battalion. Moore is also dismayed because President Lyndon B. Johnson has decreed that the war will be fought "on the cheap", without declaring it a national emergency. As a result, Moore believes he will be deprived of his oldest, best-trained soldiers (a formal declaration of war would have meant mobilization and extension of the terms of enlistment for volunteer soldiers) just prior to shipping out for Vietnam.

After arriving in Vietnam, he learns that an American base has been attacked and is ordered to take his 400 men after the enemy and eliminate the Vietnamese attackers, despite the fact that intelligence has no idea of the number of enemy troops. He leads a newly-created air cavalry unit into the Ia Drang Valley. After landing in the "Valley of Death", the soldiers learn that the location they were sent to is actually the base camp for a veteran North Vietnamese Army division of more than 4,000 men.

Upon arrival in the area with a platoon of soldiers, 2nd Lt. Henry Herrick spots a scout, runs after him, and orders reluctant soldiers to follow. The Vietnamese scout lures them into an ambush, resulting in several men of the platoon being killed, including Lt. Herrick and his subordinates. The surviving platoon members are surrounded with no chance of retreat. Sgt. Savage assumes command and calls in artillery and uses the cover of night to keep the Vietnamese from over-running their small defensive position. Meanwhile, with helicopters constantly dropping off the Cavalry units, Lt. Col. Moore manages to secure weak points before the Vietnamese can take advantage of such.

On the second day, despite being trapped and desperately outnumbered, the main U.S. force manages to hold off the Vietnamese with artillery, mortars, and helicopter lifts of supplies and reinforcements. Eventually, enemy Vietnamese commander Nguyen Huu An orders a large scale attack to completely overrun the American position.

At the point of breaking and being completely overrun by the enemy and with no option left, Moore orders his radioman to call in "Broken Arrow" (indicating that Moore's position is being overrun and can no longer be defended, and requesting all available combat aircraft to attack the enemy, even those close to the U.S. troops' position). The aircraft attack with bombs, napalm and machine guns, massacring many NVA's and Viet Cong but an accident occurs dangerously close to Moore's men, killing some of Moore's soldiers but successfully repelling the second Vietnamese attack. After the Vietnamese forces are repelled, the surviving men of the stranded platoon, led by Sgt. Savage, are eventually rescued.

Moore's troops regroup, secure the area, and stop at the base of a hill, where Moore surmises the Vietnamese division headquarters is holed up in tunnels. At the same time the Vietnamese commander plans a final assault on the Americans and sends out most of his troops to carry out the attack. The Vietnamese have set up strong defense emplacements near the hidden entrance of the underground passage to the command post spoken of by the scout. Hal and his men charge right at them, into a seemingly impending massacre, but before the Vietnamese can fire, Major Bruce "Snakeshit" Crandall and other helicopter gunships attack the Vietnamese, destroying the bulk of the enemy force.

Nguyen Huu An, the Vietnamese Commander, is alerted that the Americans have broken through their lines and there are no soldiers between the Americans and their command post. Since the Commander had deployed his reserve forces to a final offensive and the base camp has no troops to call upon for defense, the Vietnamese commander quickly orders the headquarters evacuated.

Moore, having achieved his objective, returns to the L.Z. (helicopter landing zone) to be picked up. True to his speech to his soldiers before deploying, only after all of his men (including the dead and wounded) are removed from the battlefield does he step on to a helicopter and fly out of the valley.

While the Vietnamese are collecting their dead, Nguyen Huu An, holding a small damaged American flag, tells one of his officers: "Such a tragedy. They will think this was their victory. So this will become an American war. And the end will be the same (as the French) except for the numbers who will die before we get there."

At the end of the film, it is revealed that the landing zone immediately reverted to North Vietnamese hands after the American troops were airlifted out. Hal Moore continued the battle in a different landing zone, and after nearly a year he returned home safely. His superiors congratulated him for killing over 1,800 North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong soldiers. The film ends with an older Moore visiting the Vietnam war memorial and a showing of the names of soldiers who fell at Ia Drang.

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 2002-03-01 : United States of America

DVD : 2002-08-20