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Supplies are dwindling. Troops are hopelessly outnumbered. But even in defeat there is victory. The defenders of the Philippines – including PT-boat skippers John Brickley (Robert Montgomery) and Rusty Ryan (John Wayne) – will give the U.S. war effort time to regroup after the devastation of Pearl Harbor.
Director John Ford's World War II tale knows its battle-scarred topic firsthand. Montgomery was himself a Pacific PT-boat commander and a valorous Bronze Star recipient. Ford filmed the Academy Award-winning documentary The Battle of Midway. And Wayne creates a portrait of patriotic resolve as only he can. They Were Expendable salutes all who expended themselves during some of the war's bleakest hours.