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We Were Soldiers

Mel GibsonMadeleine Stowe
Sam ElliottGreg Kinnear
DIRECTOR: Randall Wallace

We Were Soldiers: Mel Gibson as Hal Moore We Were Soldiers: Hal Moore in action

Based on a true story, which spotlights the heroism and valor of the men who fought in the Vietnam War, Mel Gibson portrays Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore, who commanded 400 soldiers from the First Battalion of the Seventh Cavalry. On November 14, 1965, they touched down in the Drang Valley, dubbed 'the Valley of Death,' where they found they were surrounded by 2000 Vietnamese soldiers. The battle that ensued is considered the most savage in U.S. history.

The day before the battalion left for Vietnam, Moore made this extraordinary promise to his men and their families, "When we go into battle, I will be the first to step on the field and I will be the last to step off. And I will leave no one behind … dead or alive. We will all come home together."

U.S. RELEASE DATE: March 01, 2002 • Rating: R

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RANDALL WALLACE (writer-director, also writer of Braveheart):
"What drew me to the material is that it moved me. The story of a leader who stood in front of his men and said, 'I can't promise I'll bring you all home alive but I swear I will leave no man behind dead or alive', gave me a tingle down the center of my spine. That was the thing that made me know that this was a story I needed to tell."
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MEL GIBSON (Hal Moore):
"It's an amazing story. It's left a lot of wounds on Hal, not necessarily physical ones, but wounds on his heart. It was one of the most profound experiences of his life."
Gibson on sacrificeBack to top

"I didn't know anything about that battle, and that raw fact was one of the things that attracted me as well. It was like my experience with finding out about William Wallace, and realizing that I had to write the story that became Braveheart. He was a man that I had never heard of, but it was such an incredible story I felt connected to him. It was the same with this. I felt like these were my people. It's not just about unrecognized heroism, but about our nation's unwillingness to look at the truth of what was going on in that war."
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Madeleine Stowe as Julie MooreMADELEINE STOWE (Julie Moore):
"I come from a generation with very little exposure to the military, and I thought 'How could this woman endure this?'. I had to concentrate on what a marriage would be like in a situation like this, and Julie was fascinating. I've never heard this woman complain about anything - in fact, she has a sign in her home that says, 'No whining!'"
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"These men and women sacrificed a great deal, and they are the very ones who got the cold shoulder when they came back. And Hollywood is probably the worst offender, because it tends to focus on the cynical aspects of what may or may not have happened. They just seem to focus on the drug-taking, baby-killing 'Lieutenant Wacko.' This film is a truer picture of the time, and the minds and hearts of the people. It's a healing work."
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Text by Judy Sloane. More from Mel Gibson, Randall Wallace and others here: PAGE 2Back to top

Visit the official We Were Soldiers site
Images above © Paramount Pictures
Feature © Visual Imagination 2002. Not for reproduction.

Film Review, April 2002 cover
April issue - with feature and review
Film Review, August 2000 Mel Gibson letter
Our last Mel Gibson cover, for The Patriot