WE WERE SOLDIERS is based on the memoirs of then-Lt. Col. Hal Moore Jr. His WE WERE SOLDIERS ONCE...AND YOUNG is co-authored by Joe Galloway, played in this film adaptation by Barry Pepper.
In "We Were Soldiers," director Randall Wallace presents a careful recreation of the initial phase of the battle of La Drang, the first major clash in Vietnam between American troops and those of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA). It's the harrowing story of a vastly outnumbered and green 7th Cavalry unit choppered into the field on what quickly becomes a suicide mission.
They engage an enemy with 20 years fighting experience that also has the geographical advantage of high ground entrenchment. Reporter/fotog Joe Galloway choppers in just before the worst fighting begins and ends up battling for his life.
On 11/15/65, Col. Moore (Gibson) radios a "Broken Arrow" distress call when his troops are being overwhelmed by sheer numbers and it looks like they'll all get slaughtered just as French forces were a decade earlier. The American response is immediate and decisive. Machine gun fire from helicopter warships in co-ordination with accurate artillery barrages turn the tide of battle and decimate the NVA.
This most graphic of all 'Nam films has a solid hour of horrendous battles that intercut occasionally with scenes of the pressures wives back home must cope with. "We Were Soldiers" is brilliant, bloody, tragic and definitely NOT for the squeamish!
Parenthetical number preceding title is a 1 to 10 imdb viewer poll rating.
(7.0) We Were Soldiers (USA/Germany-2002) - Mel Gibson/Madeleine Stowe/Greg Kinnear/Sam Elliott/Chris Klein/Keri Russell/Barry Pepper/Duong Don/Dylan Walsh