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We Were Soldiers

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Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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).
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Special Features

Commentary by director/writer Randall Wallace; "Getting it Right" - behind the scenes of We Were Soldiers; 10 deleted scenes with director's commentary; Theatrical trailer HD
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
An unapologetically patriotic movie that found post-9/11 audiences receptive, We Were Soldiers revisits American involvement in Vietnam and focuses on one particularly harrowing engagement. Based on the memoir by retired army officer Harold G. Moore and war correspondent Joseph Galloway, this engrossing, highly emotional film re-creates the 1965 battle that pitted the airborne division of the U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry against deeply entrenched Vietnamese in an unpopulated area that became known as "the valley of death." Mel Gibson portrays Moore as a dedicated career officer with a paternal devotion to the men under his command. Ferried by helicopter to the battle zone, Moore, grizzled Sgt. Maj. Basil Plumley an amusingly deadpan Sam Elliott, and his inexperienced young soldiers attempt to seize disputed ground but are immediately besieged by all-but-invisible enemy troops. Randall Wallace, who previously collaborated with Gibson on Braveheart, makes his initial foray into screen directing with no hint of uncertainty; his staging of the siege, while hewing closely to the historical record, is fiercely visceral and almost unendurably suspenseful. He’s equally facile in dramatizing the tension and anguish felt by the soldiers’ wives, waiting at their Stateside homes for news but dreading its arrival. Madeleine Stowe is appropriately stoic as Moore’s capable mate, who takes it upon herself to personally notify the camp spouses of their husbands’ deaths in battle. Chris Klein shows his mature side as a promising young officer who serves with distinction in his first major campaign, and Barry Pepper registers strongly as Galloway, a war correspondent overwhelmed by the carnage. Greg Kinnear delivers what may be his finest performance to date as the tireless helicopter pilot who shuttles dead and wounded soldiers from the battleground back to the base. Wallace depicts Moore and his men with an admiration bordering on reverence, but he also portrays the Vietnamese with respect and dignity. He refrains from editorializing about the U.S. role in the conflict, choosing instead to dramatize the American soldiers’ loyalty to each other. A moving testament to the futility -- and absurdity -- of war, We Were Soldiers pays tribute to those who fight so gallantly and sacrifice so much. On the DVD, Wallace provides commentary for both the full-length film and ten deleted scenes; he also appears in a behind-the-scenes featurette, "Getting It Right."
All Movie Guide - Karl Williams
This unabashedly patriotic, flag-waving war film nevertheless manages to avoid jingoism and present a more-balanced-than-normal view of war by delving into the mind of the enemy and depicting the struggles of wives left behind at home. Screenwriter-turned-director Randall Wallace doesn't always manage to overcome the obviousness and tendency to oversimplify that are his long-running weaknesses, and the humans driving his story should remain a bit more front-and-center than they do once the shooting starts, but he's unarguably adept at mounting complicated, large-scale battle scenes and rendering the confusing action understandable. He also displays a sure hand with his cast, particularly Mel Gibson, who does a laudable job in a stoic, heartbroken role that forbids many of the actor's usual gimmicks and goofy mannerisms. If only there was more of him; once the battle begins, the picture zooms and whip-pans from one character to the next, making it arduous for an audience trying to pin its emotional identification to any one particular person or group. Nevertheless, conveying a tangible, even tactile sense of war's brutal, grim reality has been one of the hallmarks of war films in the late '90s and early 2000s, and in this regard, Wallace's epic is no exception, depicting with shocking persuasiveness the carnage of war (a scene where a young soldier is horribly burned to the point of melting is particularly tough to watch). While it ends up in a place that's somewhat emotionally flat by the time the battle is over, We Were Soldiers is a thorough, competent, and well-produced chronicle of the Vietnam conflict's first major combat.
New York Times - A.O. Scott
Like the best war movies -- and like martial literature going back to the Iliad -- it balances the dreadful, unassuageable cruelty of warfare and the valor and decency of those who fight.
Boston Globe
As in Black Hawk Down, the combat sequences are filmed with great skill and pulse-pounding immediacy. Jay Carr
San Francisco Chronicle
...one of the best war movies of the past 20 years. Mick LaSalle
USA Today
...the first film in recent memory that a major studio has chosen to release early in the year with palpable filmmaking passion and production heft. Mike Clark

Like the best war movies -- and like martial literature going back to the Iliad -- it balances the dreadful, unassuageable cruelty of warfare and the valor and decency of those who fight.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/23/2007
  • UPC: 097361183343
  • Original Release: 2002
  • Rating:

  • Source: Paramount
  • Time: 2:18:00
  • Format: Blu-ray

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Mel Gibson Lt. Col. Harold G. Moore
Sam Elliott SGM Basil Plumley
Keri Russell Barbara Geoghegan
Erik MacArthur Spec. 4 Russell Adams
Clark Gregg
Denis Leary
Barry Pepper Joseph L. Galloway
Marc Blucas
Jon Hamm
Desmond Harrington
Ryan Hurst
Taylor Momsen
Dylan Walsh
Don Duong Lt. Col. Nguyen Huu An
Robert Bagnell 1st Lt. Charlie Hastings
Josh Daugherty Spec. 4 Bob Ouellette
Jsu Garcia Capt. Tony Nadal
Blake Heron Spec. 4 Galen Bungum
Technical Credits
Randall Wallace Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Lon Bender Sound/Sound Designer
Michael T. Boyd Costumes/Costume Designer
Tim Cooney Sound/Sound Designer
Bruce Davey Producer
Digital Domain Animator, Special Effects
Eveleen Anne Bandy Associate Producer
Cathy Sandrich Gelfond Casting
Nick Glennie-Smith Score Composer
William Hoy Associate Producer, Editor
Kevin Kavanaugh Art Director
Jim Lemley Executive Producer
Danielle Lemmon Co-producer
Amanda Mackey-Johnson Casting
Naaman Marshall Set Decoration/Design
Stephen McEveety Producer
Nilo Otero Art Director
Jason Powell Consultant/advisor
Mario Roberts Stunts
Richard Romig Set Decoration/Design
Geoffrey G. Rubay Sound/Sound Designer
Tom Sanders Production Designer
Arne Schmidt Executive Producer
Dean Semler Cinematographer
Mark Stoeckinger Sound/Sound Designer
James F. Truesdale Art Director
Kim Winther Art Director
Stephen Zapotoczny Co-producer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 45 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(34)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 45 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A "must own" for my collection

    We Were Soldiers is a "must own" for my new blu-ray collection. This movie has been one of my favorites since the first viewing. Mel Gibson may have lost popularity this past decade, but he can certainly act. I don't know the real Lt. Col. Hal Moore, but the man on screen seems to embody the character. Gibson plays a convincing family man, officer, and soldier with the ease only few actors can claim. The film is an intense drama infused with a touch of light-hearted humor to offset the graphic Vietnem scenes and emotional Fort Benning scenes. Screenwriter Randall Wallace used this same device which worked so well in the film Braveheart in which Gibson also starred. Sam Elliott, Greg Kinnear, Barry Pepper, and Keri Russell shine in their supporting roles. This film is not for the fainthearted. It is a rollercoaster of intense battles and emotional roller-coaster rides that were actually true.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    the most real war movie out there

    this movie is so incredibly good and about the guy who ripped it and the war in Iqah my brother is in the USMC and brave men and women fight in this blunder as you call it so we can stay free and liberals like you can sit on your butts and write reviews ripping the war they fight so hard in!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Chest-beating patriotic propoganda

    Wooden acting, terrible editing, an absurd climax. THIS IS NOT A FIVE STAR FILM. Upon reading the other reviews on this movie, I felt the need to put in my lonely two cents. This is a film that intentionally pulls at our rah-rah heartstrings and was made to make us proud to be Americans. It never bothers to mention that our reasons for being in Vietnam were completely wrong-headed. And that all of those lost in our nation's greatest military blunder, next to the war in Iraq, didn't have to die on those battlefields in the first place. This is a film for those who still refuse to admit that Vietnam was a stain on our nation's great history and should've never happened. It's a candy-coated ode to the red-white-and-blue that tastes sweet going down if you try not to think about what it's doing to your body. There have been many outstanding films made on this war, but a big star, a big budget, and swelling score do not a classic make. If you like your history without all that abiguity and a happy ending, by all means buy this film. If you are more concerned the real effects this war had on our nation and our soliders, pick up Platoon, The Deer Hunter, or Coming Home instead.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A powerful film about the American Soldier!

    Mel Gibson partners up with his Braveheart screenplay writer Randall Wallace to tell this true-life story of General Hal Moore (Mel Gibson) and his Calvary Platoon who fought in the first official battle against the Viet Cong in what was called the Valley of Death. This is an unwavering patriotic film about Americans in Vietnam and in my own personal opinion is long overdue. However right or wrong it was to be there, it was not the fault of the soldier and they did not deserve the treatment they received when they came home. To add to that sentiment I feel that soldiers fight for their country until they are in the thick of combat and then it is for each other. General Moore studied the history of the Valley of Death and desperately wants to avoid the massacres that have occurred there previously with the French and the British soldiers and takes it upon himself to train his troops to the breaking point to make sure they are ready for the hell that is about to come. I found myself moved to tears watching this movie at the heroism and sacrifice among the insanity of war and regretted not getting to see it in the theaters. Everyone should see this film if only to honor the memory of the men who fought in Vietnam.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A powerful portrayal of heroism and bravery

    We Were Soldiers will move you from start to finish. A movie that has the support of a country. A mind blowing film that will truly show you what these true hero¿s go through to protect the country that they love. After watching this film you will be a proud citizen of the U.S.A. This movie has all the ingredients to become a great war movie. Mel Gibson and his acting adds to the quality of the movie. His leadership on the battlefield and kind heart at home will truly touch you. We Were Soldiers will have jumping for joy because you¿re an American. And will also have you crying when families are faced with the news of their loved ones paying the ultimate sacrifice. We Were Soldiers is a classic war movie in the making.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A powerful portrayal of wartime events

    Right from the beginning, you're drawn in. You first get a sense of who Hal Moore is, just a normal guy with a family, caught in war times. As he and his men train and go to battle, you really feel for them, seeing that soldiers aren't crazy killers, just men fighting for each other. This accurately portays the real side of soldiers, and the ugly face of war. The men don't enjoy the killing, they only love their country's cause, and each other. Through this film, you can see through a soldier's eyes how evident these truths are. But not only does this film show the solider's viewpoint, but also their families, as the scenes change between battles in Vietnam, and the battles that the families members must fight with at home, constantly fearing the loss of a loved one. This movie keeps you entertained from beginning to end, while all the while portraying the devastating effects of battles.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Very Good!

    I love this movie. It really touches you in that sad way. It shows us the results of war. This movie has great action suspense, humor, drama, and romance. This movie is definately worth a check.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    What a wonderful movie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This movie is a moving experence. If you are looking for a movie that tells about a soldier in a time of war then this movie is for you. It has parts in the movie that will make you cry and parts that will make you out right angry. But all in all it gives you an idea of what soldiers and their families go through in a time of war (despite what some people my say).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    To all the military, ''Thank You!''

    I have seen this movie probably a total of 4 times and each time I see it, I walk away with so much pride for our country and our military. I have always supported our military and this movie shows just how much they give to let us live the way we do. Mel Gibson is such a good actor. He makes this movie come alive, so that you can really understand the emotional trama that these men really went through. This is an excellent movie and I would suggest it to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    We were soldiers was purely apolitical for and about the definition of a soldier

    If you could leave the why out of wars, then you would have an apolital look at war. War is suffered mainly by the combatants of the war. Not to minimize the non-combatants suffering which have little or no choice in the conflict, but to further enhance the fact that soldiers have little or no choice as well. Soldiers are the very definition of apolitical. They fight not for a party or even a country. As this film will elaborate to, they fight for each other and the ideal that what they are fighting for is ultimately the survival of not only themselves but the for the survival of thier fellow countrymen and heirs thereof. Soldiers is a look at comraderey in it's finest hour. Sacrifice should be the underlying theme. But sacrifice to what end? That is what you the viewer must ulitmately decide. At the very heart of sacrifice is not politics, it would have to be more than that. It would have to be for someone you care for. Because only another person can make you sacrifice your self for them or others. I don't believe the ideal is as important as the person. Therefore in this movie we see each other and what would we do in a similar situation. Indeed people believing in the honor of your team or company coming before yourself. What a concept.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Realistic and patriotic

    This movie was very sad and depressing. At the same time, it sparks extreme patriotism and honor towards the veterans who fought for the U.S. You must see this to get an idea of what our soldiers did.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    One of the best wr movies.

    This movie isn't just about the graphic violence it shows. It has a good storyline, which some other war movies lack.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Very Real And Touching

    With all that is going on in the world today this movie brings it all to reality. It is a heart felt movie that brought me tears of honor for the men who faught for our freedom.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    very exciting and hair raising very original

    i feel that this video is a very good example of ehat the war was like and how the families of the men who were at war coped with all the presures

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A war no one wants to remember but no one ever forgets

    Mel Gibson portrays Col. Moore and captures the essence of a leader that every soldier would follow into battle anywhere, anytime.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Greatest movie i ever saw!!!!!!!!!!!

    We Were Soldiers was the best movie i ever saw, Mel Gibson gave an outstanding performance. All the actors did. I give it a 5 star rating. And it should be nominated for an award!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Respect for Soldiers

    From the very beginning, I was captivated by the musical score for the picture as well as the mutual respect for both the American and Vietnemese forces that fought in the battle of Ia Drang. The movie as a whole is incredible from the acting of all involved as well as the direction; I was particularly touched by the paternal nature of the lead officers (Gibson and Elliot) to their troops and their dedication to their country, no matter the problems involved. The effects were appropriatly fascinating and disturbing, showing the realities of battle and reflecting the reason why Americans were horrified to see this for themselves originally. An excellent reminder for the brevity of life and need for the timeless values of honor, integrity, love, and respect. I was and am glad to see a movie that honors those that were honorable in such a horrific period.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I was in this battle

    I was in this battle with the 1st BN(Airborne), 8th Cav, 1st Air Cav Divison. We were first on the battlefield, left to go to another landing zone, and returned at the tail end of the battle. So realistic was this movie, that I was scared all over again-expecially at night. This was first time I saw dead American soldiers. A tribute to those 7th Cav soldiers who foutht so gallantly. Most realistic of VN movies. I knew many who died. They were honored in the book and movie. This must win many Academy Awards.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Very possibly the best movie I have ever seen

    I was 4F during Vietnam (blind in 1 eye) but always wanted to be a soldier. I am the son of a WWII Disinguished Service Cross holder and very proud of my country and the men who have given of themselves to defend it. This movie evoked emotions that a 51 year old man seldom acknowledges. While watching the drama unfold, I was constantly on the brink of tears but when the North Vietnamese commander removed the small American flag from its resting place, I sobbed like a child. This movie was extremely well done and makes no apologies for its patriotic stand. It made me proud of America and proud that, in this PC world, we still have men willing to go on record as patriots. Thank you to all involved and most especially, thank you to Major General Moore and Joe Galloway for making sure the story got told correctly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Please don't overdue it

    When I keep reading ''the best move ever'' and other senseless reviews by people who must not ever have seen one of the hundreds of better movies, it makes their review a puff piece or just ignorance

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 45 Customer Reviews