We Were Soldiers

Cast
Lt. Col. Hal Moore: Mel Gibson
Julie Moore: Madeleine Stowe
Sgt-Maj. Plumley: Sam Elliott
Maj. Crandall: Greg Kinnear
Lt. Geoghegan: Chris Klein
Ahn: Don Duang
Joe Galloway: Barry Pepper
Barbara: Keri Russell
Paramount Pictures presents a film directed by Randall Wallace. Written by Wallace, based on the book We Were Soldiers Once … and Young, by Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore (Ret.) and Joseph L. Galloway. Running time: 138 minutes. Rated R (for sustained sequences of graphic war violence and for language).

Central Theme
Soldiers in Viet Nam were human beings, young, brave, husbands, fathers who faced a determined enemy, knowing they could die, relying on each other, and in the case of this battle, ennobled by a leader of exceptional character and resolve.

Story
Based on a true story. On Sunday November 14, 1965 at 10:48 AM, Lt. Col. Hal Moore and his young troopers touched down at Landing Zone X-Ray in the Ia Drang Valley, a place known as the ‘Valley of Death’. A man of his word, Lt. Col. Moore set foot on the field of battle first, only to find himself and 395 of his men surrounded by 2000+ North Vietnamese soldiers. The ensuing battle was one of the most savage in US History, and the first major encounter between the soldiers of North Vietnam and America. Before leaving for battle, Moore studied the Vietnamese massacre of the French at the same site, and was not reassured when his group was named the First Battalion of the Seventh Cavalry – the same regiment as General George Custer, an unpleasant reminder of previous American military tragedies. Randall Wallace’s treatment allows insight into the familial and even spiritual dimension of Moore and his men and allows us to absorb the human dimension of war more personally. Given the divisiveness of the Vietnam War in American society, this film is respectful of the soldiers who fought there without glossing over the miscalculations of American military command, and displays the highest and best qualities of military command through the exemplary leadership of the big-hearted Lt. Colonel Moore and the crusty but battle-worthy Sgt-Maj. Plumley. The presence of photojournalist and narrator, Barry Galloway, provides a glimpse of a place Americans do not remember and a war we do not understand.

Beliefs num
–Soldiers are human beings, young, brave, husbands, fathers
–Leadership originates in the personal character qualities of the leader and emanates from authority derived from the leader’s exemplary living in a manner consistent with those qualities.
–Effective leadership is a blend of experience, preparation, determination and improvisation in the face of rapidly changing circumstances.
–Civilian society does not and cannot understand the emotional, familial, relational, physical and spiritual demands placed on the soldier and his family.
–A common enemy can unify an ethnically and religiously diverse group of co-belligerents.
–In war soldiers will die.
–The North Vietnamese viewed their victory as inevitable if they were willing to be patient, sustain loss of life on a massive scale and persevere to the bitter end.
–From the outset there was a futility to the Vietnam war.
–Once a nation loses lives in a war, it is difficult to disengage.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–Knowing he thought he was being sent into an ambush, why would Lt. Col. Moore lead his troops into that situation?
–Lt. Col. Moore said he would never forgive himself for the loss of life in this battle. Why would he feel so personally responsible?
–What is the relationship between being a spouse/parent and soldier and how do you sort out the roles?
–How should we pray in war, knowing that our enemy is also praying?
–Can a civilian understand the emotional, familial, relational, physical and spiritual demands placed on the soldier and his family?
–People are debating whether this was an overly patriotic movie or an anti-war movie. What do you think?
–Can the military know in advance whether a war is futile? How?

Provocative Quotes byline
–No. Kill them all and they will stop coming.
==North Vietnamese commander when asked if they should take prisoners after ambushing the French at the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
–Welcome to the new cavalry. We will ride into battle and this will be our horse.
==Lt. Col. Moore introducing his troops to the Huey Helicopter
–We will be landing under fire, gentlemen. Men will die.
==Lt. Col. Moore, preparing his troops
–I don’t want to be a Catholic, I want to be a ‘nethodist like mommy so I can pray whatever I want!
==Lt. Col. Moore youngest daughter at bedtime prayers
–When I pray whatever I want, I thank God for you.
==Lt. Col. Moore to wife
–War is something that shouldn’t happen, but it does. It’s when some people try to take the lives of other people. Soldiers like your dad, it’s my job to go over there and try to stop them
==Lt. Col. Moore to youngest daughter who asked: what is war?
–When the Sioux were born, they would nurse from every woman’s breast in the village. The warrior would call every woman mother and they would call the older warriors grandpa. The point is they fought as family
==Lt. Col. Moore, preparing his troops
–I hope being good at the one makes me better at the other.
==Lt. Col. Moore, when asked by Lt. Geoghegan about being both a father and a soldier
–I know God has plan for me, I just hope it’s to help protect orphans, not make them.
==Lt. Geoghegan to Lt. Col. Moore about his fears of being a new dad and soldier
–And about our enemy’s prayers O Lord? Ignore their pagan prayers and help us blow those little bastards straight to Hell.
==Lt. Col. Moore, praying for victory with Lt. Geoghegan
–We are moving into the Valley of the Shadow of Death where you will watch the back of the man next to you, as he will watch yours, and you won’t care what color his is, or by what name he calls God.
==Lt. Col. Moore farewell speech to troops and family members before leaving for war
–We are going into battle against a tough and determined enemy. I can’t promise that I will bring you all home alive. But this I swear — 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.
==Lt. Col. Moore farewell speech to troops and family members before leaving for war
–Those are my men out there and I’m going to get them.
==Lt. Col. Moore when a group of men are trapped on the knoll
–By the time I need one, there’ll be plenty of them lying on the ground.
==Sgt-Maj. Plumley to Lt. Col. Moore who has suggested he needs to get an M-16
–I am in battle. I object to this order. I will not leave my men.
==Lt. Col. Moore when General Westmoreland wants him lifted out of the battle zone
–Out of the depths I cry O Lord.
==Lt. Col. Moore prays over his dead men beginning with Psalm 130
–I wonder what was on Custer’s mind when he realized he led his troops into a massacre?
==Lt. Col. Moore to Sgt-Maj. Plumley
–I’ll never forgive myself that my men died and I didn’t.
==Lt. Col. Moore to Joe Galloway
–Jack is with God and the angels and heaven is better for it.
==Lt. Col. Moore to Jack’s widow
–Solders are human beings and we tend to ignore that because the rest of society is so removed from what soldiers do and have to do and what they experience. Soldiers come from our society — they are us. They should represent the best and the finest of if America and they do. But we tend forget that and feel that these guys didn’t have families, that they didn’t hurt, that because of their training they are immune to the pains of watching their friends die. What soldiers do at their best is the best quality that America has to offer.
==Randall Wallace about the film
–This film doesn’t try to examine the question of why they were there, but only to confront us with the fact they were there and this is what they did.
==Randall Wallace about the film

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