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Look out for more coverage of
The Great Raid in our magazines

THE MOVIE: The Great Raid

THE STARS:
Benjamin Bratt • James Franco • Joseph Fiennes
DIRECTOR: John Dahl

Planning THE CONCEPT:
Little-known true story of one of the most spectacular rescue missions in American history. In World War II, 500 US soldiers have been held by the Japanese for three years. 150 US Rangers did the impossible and, under the command of Colonel Henry Mucci (Bratt) and Captain Robert Prince (Franco), raided the camp, setting the prisoners free.

U.S. RELEASE: August 12 2005, Nationwide • Rated: R

THE COMMENTS:

MARTY KATZ (Producer):
“This was an amazing true story about the most incredible rescue of American prisoners of war behind enemy lines in the history of our military. It was a mission that really couldn’t succeed … and yet it did. It had a rare inspiring ending in spite of all the tragedy that surrounded it.”

BENJAMIN BRATT (Colonel Mucci):
“What I’m finding is that most people have not heard of this raid, but I think it’s no surprise that most of us are in the dark about it. It’s interesting to guess as to why not much more was made of this. One of my guesses is that perhaps if much more was made of it, it means the government would have had to acknowledge that we abandoned our men, they were left there for three years without help, without an effort to save them.”

JAMES FRANCO (Captain Robert Prince):
“John Dahl was great to work with. He usually does character-driven things and on this, when he was working with the Rangers on most of my scenes, he had sixty people that he had to direct. As far as how he operates, I see him as kind of like Captain Price in that Prince is a very soft-spoken, low key guy but very smart and just gets the job done.”

JOHN DAHL:
“The challenge was to keep as much of the truly amazing real story intact while also structuring it as an entertaining cinematic screenplay. We tried to walk the line between the respectful and irreverent of the past while creating a story with love, drama and action that’s exciting to watch.”

JOSEPH FIENNES (POW Major Gibson):
“What I love about John is that he’s caught the sentiment, and it’s part of him as a gentlemen, the nobility of that generation, and I kind of secretly feel that this film is a very private dialogue between him and his father, because his father served in the Pacific.”

BRATT:
“I think we as a country tend to look back on that time with a lot of nostalgia, but war is war and, as well all know, war is hell. One of the great tenets of US militarism is that you don’t leave your fellow soldier behind.”

FIENNES:
“The preparation for this role was very physical, we did boot camp, we stripped our weight right down, and we had an exercise and diet regime which served to really give us just a glimpse of the horror that these guys experienced. The bottom line is you learn a great deal of respect for those men and women who ultimately, sixty years ago, put themselves on the line for the freedoms that we like to take for granted today.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official The Great Raid site
Images above © Miramax Films
Feature © 2005 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #661, September 2005 cover

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