Best Movies by Farr
They Were Expendable Poster
Released Runtime Category
1945 135 War
Director Language
John Ford English
Robert Montgomery, John Wayne, Donna Reed, Jack Holt, Ward Bond, Marshall Thompson

They Were Expendable

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What's it About

This is the inspiring true story of the PT boats — and the men who commanded them — during the dispiriting early days of the Second World War in the Pacific. Frustrated Skipper John Brickley (Montgomery) and his right hand man, Rusty Ryan (Wayne), initially have considerable difficulty convincing the Navy brass of the PT boats' value to the war effort. In the face of reversals and retreat from the Japanese, these valiant, steadfast officers are forced to hunker down and wait for the opportunity to show the world what the PTs can really do. Eventually, these nimble craft will play a vital role in turning the tide in the Pacific theater, allowing General MacArthur to fulfill his famous promise to return there in glory.

Why we love it

The legendary director John Ford delivers a powerful human tale of faith and hope sustained during the darkest days of the war for the Allies. Montgomery (father of Elizabeth from "Bewitched," and a decorated PT boat captain himself during the conflict) delivers a remarkably human, unmannered performance as the embattled but stoic Brickley, while the Duke cements his own growing stardom with a charismatic turn as Ryan. Donna Reed also makes for a bewitching love interest as the nurse who falls for Rusty. One of Ford's real gems, too often overlooked.

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BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"