For Your Lenten Friday Night at the Movies VI: “We Were Soldiers”

This is the rare Lent were there will be seven movies (maybe I was skipping the first Friday before?), so we kind of have a bonus one. Tonight is the bonus film. It’s the war movie that I’ve never seen, based on a book I cursorily looked over back when I was in the Marines.

My aunt had sent me a copy for my birthday, but never really read it. That would be We Were Soldiers Once…and Young: Ia Drang – The Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam by Lt. Gen Harold G. Moore (USA) with help from Joseph L.Galloway. Lt. Gen. Moore is still alive today, at age 91.

I was reminded of his story recently when Leah Libresco and Mark Shea shared posts referencing this article about friendships and bonds that form between enemy combatants.  Tissues required. General Moore went back to Vietnam a few times and a friendship was instantly kindled with the enemy soldier who we’ll learn more about in this film, Lt. Col Nguyen Huu An.

I’ll warn folks now that it is rated R for violence. Take a look at the trailer,

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Critics have noted that it’s in the upper echelon of the top 50 Catholic movies of all time. To be on the safe side, it also gets green lights from Metacritic, and Rotten Tomatoes.

Here’s a partial list of the cast,

So we have God and country, soldiers, families, and the honor, and horror of war. There will be death, loss, and battle scars. But there may be fruitful lessons for us to reflect upon too.

Dinner was simple tonight: vegetarian lasagne, garlic italian bread, and a beer. We’re going to crank up the film (streaming on Netflix), maybe take a break will UCLA plays Minnesota in the NCAA Basketball Tournament, then continue on. Feel free to join us, but remember to silence your cell phones.

  • Terry

    I’m surprised no one commented on this. Maybe no one watched it? I find it very hard to watch – not because it’s so bad, but because it’s so good. The ending of the battle is pure Hollywood, but otherwise the film gets very high marks from veterans, and especially from the survivors of Ia Drang. I suppose a lot of religious folks would reject it because of the violence, gore, and language. But I’m not sure this one would have worked at a PG or PG-13 level. My compliments on recommending it. Hope you liked it.


    • Frank Weathers

      I agree. A powerful film. Perhaps it left many speechless because it reminds them that a) we probably shouldn’t have been there in the first place (hindsight is always 20/20, I know) and we seem to have not learned our lessons as we consider further adventures in Syria, etc. , b) overconfidence and underestimating the enemy is a quality we suffer from still, and c) the brutality of modern war is hard to stomach.