Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday's Film Adaptions: We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young by Lt. Gen. Harold G Moore & Joseph L Galloway

Each year, the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps selects one book he believes is both relevant and timeless for reading by all Marines. The Commandant's choice for 1993 was We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young.

In November 1965, some 450 men of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, under the command of Lt. Col. Hal Moore, were dropped by helicopter into a small clearing in the Ia Drang Valley. They were immediately surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers. Three days later, only two and a half miles away, a sister battalion was chopped to pieces. Together, these actions at the landing zones X-Ray and Albany constituted one of the most savage and significant battles of the Vietnam War.

How these men persevered--sacrificed themselves for their comrades and never gave up--makes a vivid portrait of war at its most inspiring and devastating. General Moore and Joseph Galloway, the only journalist on the ground throughout the fighting, have interviewed hundreds of men who fought there, including the North Vietnamese commanders. This devastating account rises above the specific ordeal it chronicles to present a picture of men facing the ultimate challenge, dealing with it in ways they would have found unimaginable only a few hours earlier. It reveals to us, as rarely before, man's most heroic and horrendous endeavor.

Screenwriter Randall Wallace, a specialist in sweeping historical epics, steps behind the camera for this fact-based Vietnam War drama that reunites him with his Braveheart (1995) star Mel Gibson. Gibson is Lt. Col. Hal Moore, commander of the First Battalion, Seventh Cavalry, the same regiment fatefully led by George Armstrong Custer. As part of the Pleiku Campaign of late 1965, Moore is assigned to an action at Landing Zone X-Ray in the Drang Valley, an area that would come to be known as the "The Valley of Death." Moore soon finds himself and his men contained to an area about the size of a football field, surrounded by more than 2,000 enemy troops and engaged in the first major battle of the war. Heroism becomes the order of the day as men like Moore, chopper pilot Bruce Crandall (Greg Kinnear), and Lt. Henry Herrick (Marc Blucas) refuse to yield, in spite of heavy losses of life. The film co-stars Madeleine Stowe, Chris Klein, Keri Russell, and Sam Elliott. We Were Soldiers is based on the book We Were Soldiers Once...and Young by Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore (retired) and UPI reporter Joe Galloway (played in the film by Barry Pepper).

Release dates: March 1, 2002
Running time: 138 minutes

Mel Gibson as Lieutenant Colonel/Colonel Hal Moore
Madeleine Stowe as Julia Moore
Greg Kinnear as Major Bruce P. Crandall
Sam Elliott as Sergeant Major Basil L. Plumley
Chris Klein as 2nd Lieutenant Jack Geoghegan
Luke Benward as David Moore
Taylor Momsen as Julie Moore
Devon Werkheiser as Steve Moore
Keri Russell as Barbara Geoghegan
Barry Pepper as Joe Galloway
Mark McCracken as Ed "Too Tall" Freeman
Đơn Dương as NVA Lieutenant Colonel Nguyễn Hữu An
Ryan Hurst as Sergeant Ernie Savage
Marc Blucas as 2nd Lieutenant Henry Herrick
Jsu Garcia as Captain Tony Nadal
Jon Hamm as Captain Matt Dillon
Clark Gregg as Captain Tom Metsker
Blake Heron as Sp4. Galen Bungum
Desmond Harrington as Sp4. Bill Beck
Brian Tee as Pfc. Jimmy Nakayama
Robert Bagnell as 1st Lieutenant Charlie Hastings, USAF

Deleted Scenes

I haven't read the original book but I love the film.  Not only is it an entertaining piece of art, it's well written, great casting, amazing scenery, and a story that touches your heart from the opening scene to the end credits.  Vietnam War movies don't usually pique my interest because generally I'm more of a WW1 and WW2 films but I saw this and I'm so glad I watched it.  Very enjoyable, entertaining, but also heartwarming.


Author Bios:
Harold G Moore
Lieutenant General Harold Gregory Moore Jr. is a retired officer of the U.S. Army, and the co-author (with Joe Galloway) of two successful books ('We Were Soldiers Once... And Young' & 'We Are Soldiers Still: A Journey Back To The Battlefields Of Vietnam') about the 1965 battle of the Ia Drang valley in Viet Nam, during most of which Moore (then a Lt. Colonel) was the primary U.S. officer commanding. Mr. Galloway was also present during much of the battle, as a combat correspondent for UPI. After a long and distinguished career including combat service in the Korean War previous to his service in Viet Nam, Lt. Gen. Moore retired in 1977. He was highly decorated during his career, earning the Distinguished Service Cross, Army Distinguished Service Medal, Legion Of Merit (3 Awards), Bronze Star (4 Awards, including 2 for valor), Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm (3 Awards) and many other medals, decorations, and badges. A full length biography of Lt. Gen. Moore ('Hal Moore: A Soldier Once... And Always', by Mike Guardia) will reportedly be published by Casemate Publishers in September 2013.

Joseph L Galloway
Joseph L. Galloway (b. 1941) is the author of a weekly syndicated column on military and national security affairs. In 1991, Galloway received a National Magazine Award for a U.S. News cover article on the Ia Drang battles in Vietnam. Along with Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore, he coauthored a detailed account of experiences in Vietnam in the 1992 bestselling We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young.

He recently retired as senior military correspondent of Knight Ridder newspapers. Galloway spent twenty-two years as a foreign and war correspondent and bureau chief for United Press International, and nearly twenty years as a senior editor for U.S. News & World Report.

Harold G Moore

Joseph L Galloway



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