We Were Soldiers

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2 1/2

On a Sunday morning in November of 1965, Lt. Colonel Harold Moore (Mel Gibson) and his young, green troopers of the Armys Seventh Calvary land in Viet Nams Ia Drang Valley, a place known as The Valley of Death. Along as a journalist and war correspondent, reporter Joseph Galloway (Barry Pepper) photographs the soldiers and jots down notes. The 400 men of the Seventh, like their historical namesake at Little Big Horn, soon find themselves overwhelmingly outnumbered. Roughly two thousand North Vietnamese soldiers surround the American unit. But the men quickly rise to the highest level of nobility and uncompromising valor as they fight to save one another in one of the most savage battles in U.S. history. Despite his civilian status, even Galloway is forced to become a combat veteran. In this first major combat between America and the North Vietnamese, Moore begins to feel like General Custer, but hes determined to live up to his promise of getting his men back home. Moores second in command, Army veteran Sergeant-Major Basil Plumley (Sam Elliott) lends unflagging support to Moore and his men on the battlefield. At home in the U.S., Moores wife, Julie (Madeleine Stowe), offers her support to the wives of the men in her husbands command. This powerful and inspiring film is to the Viet Nam War what SAVING PRIVATE RYAN was to World War II, a tribute to the men who faced the horrors of war with honor, uncommon valor and loyalty to one another.

Based on the biographical history, We Were Soldiers Once...And Young, co-authored by Lt. General Harold Moore and civilian war correspondent Joseph Galloway, the film looks at Americas unpopular war through the eyes of those who fought in it. The characters of the men, their wives, and even the enemy soldiers are portrayals of real people with real emotions. A brilliant strategic battlefield commander, Moore cares deeply for his men, declaring hell be first on the ground and last out, leaving no one behind. And the men respond with self-sacrificing loyalty. Moore is also shown to have deep religious convictions as he prays for both his men and his enemies. But half of this film is about families. In the U.S., Julie Moore holds the women of the post together, even taking the killed-in-action telegrams away from the cold delivery of a cab driver to deliver them herself, even while fearing one might be addressed to her. It is a wonderful and cleansing exoneration to see the American military perform valiantly even in our most unpopular war, but the highly graphic wounds and deaths in the battle scenes are not for the squeamish. Vulgar language used numerous times further detracts from the inspiring characters and action in WE WERE SOLDIERS.

Preview Reviewer: Ed Crumley
Paramount Pictures

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (12) times - Mild 8, moderate 4

Obscene Language: Many (18) times - F-word 4, s-word 10, other 4 (F-word occurs mostly in subtitles for French-speaking soldiers at beginning of film; S-word occurs mostly in the use of a soldiers nickname Snakes***

Profanity: Few (4) times - Regular (GD 4)

Violence: Many times - Moderate and severe (Many soldiers shot or wounded at close range, close ups of battlefield wounds gushing blood, one helicopter crashes after pilot shot, men shot in head/ throat, men on fire from napalm, mans face burning from white phosphorus - man cuts burning flesh off with knife, much screaming in pain).

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Few times (cigarette smoking)

Other: Leader prays with his family, and his men three different times; men urinate on weapons to cool off barrels.

Running Time: 140 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults and mature teens

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