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Back to Bataan

138 customer reviews

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(May 04, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

After the fall of the Philippines to the Japanese in World War II, Col. Joseph Madden (John Wayne) of the U.S. Army stays on to organize guerrilla fighters against the conquerors.

John Wayne and Anthony Quinn star in this touching 1945 drama inspired by real-life heroism in the Philippines following General MacArthur's withdrawal in 1942 and the islands' subsequent conquest by the Japanese army. Wayne plays Colonel Joe Madden, an American who stays behind to organize a ragtag guerrilla army in the forests and hills. At his side is Captain Andres Bonifacio (Quinn), grandson of a legendary revolutionary martyred in the nation's old war against Spanish colonialists. Joe, Andres, and their fearless irregulars (with support from a schoolteacher, played by Beulah Bondi) sap the enemy's resolve through hit-and-run missions, but as time passes the locals wonder, with pronounced disillusionment, why America doesn't return with masses of troops and weapons. Wayne's star power is undeniable, and Quinn is very good as a man uncertain of his role or destiny. Edward Dmytryk (Murder, My Sweet), soon to be imprisoned during Joseph McCarthy's witch hunt of Hollywood communists, directs. --Tom Keogh

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: John Wayne, Anthony Quinn, Beulah Bondi, Fely Franquelli, Richard Loo
  • Directors: Edward Dmytryk
  • Writers: Ben Barzman, Richard H. Landau, William Gordon, Æneas MacKenzie
  • Producers: Robert Fellows, Theron Warth
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Turner Home Ent
  • DVD Release Date: May 4, 2004
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001FVE4A
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #221,155 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Back to Bataan" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Alejandra Vernon HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 31, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Some of the most horrific events of WWII occurred in the Pacific Theater, and this film touches on what happened in Bataan, where tens of thousands of U.S. and Philippine soldiers died in captivity, either on the infamous Death March, the appalling POW camps, or the hell-ships.
At the beginning and ending, this film briefly shows some of the survivors, though it is "sanitized", and the men have some flesh back on their bones.
John Wayne is terrific as Colonel Madden, who organizes the resistance fighters, and does his own stunts, some of which must have left him muddy and bruised.
Anthony Quinn is also excellent as Captain Bonifacio, the leader of the Filipino guerillas. Both Wayne and Quinn are at their most handsome and heroic, and make a fine cinematic pairing.
Though the script is sometimes stilted, it is based on actual events and people, and was written as history was happening, taken from the daily newspapers to the screen.
Edward Dmytryk's direction is well paced, and Max Steiner's "stock music" was used, along with an original score by Roy Webb.
Much in this film can be said to be "propaganda", as it is "good vs. evil", with no subtleties or gray areas, but these were the days when Hollywood and patriotism were compatible, a sentiment that filmmakers seem to have lost, and a time that seems long gone.
May we never forget the souls who bravely fought for freedom and suffered so much in Bataan.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By mdnitoil on January 30, 2010
Format: DVD
For those who are curious, The Green Berets has finally gotten a facelift. The two previous releases were non-anamorphic flippers, which is to say that you had to turn the disc over halfway through the movie to see the end. Thankfully, with this release Warners has fixed the old configuration and issued The Green Berets in anamorphic widescreen on one dual-layered side of a disc. So, no more flipping to finish the movie and anamorphic to boot! The remaining movies are identical to their previous releases, including the same extras.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By T O'Brien on May 27, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
Back to Bataan is a flag-waving patriotic movie that was filmed and released as WWII was drawing to a close. The story is about the Filipino people and their fight for freedom from their Japanese oppressors. This is very obvious patriotism with the Japanese portrayed as cowardly murderers and the Americans as noble freedom fighters. John Wayne stars as Colonel Joe Madden, the man selected to help organize the Filipino guerilla movement. His small company wreaks havoc on the Japanese forces in the Phillipines as the war progresses. The young Duke is very good in his role as Madden with Anthony Quinn also excellent as Captain Andres Bonifacio. Also starring are Beulah Bondi, Lawrence Tierney, Vladimir Sokoloff, and Paul Fix. This is a very good movie that shows a part of the war many people do not know about. Check this one out to see an exciting, well-told, adventure story. Classic Duke!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Andrew R. Oerman on August 3, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
B2B was an okay war picture, with action bookending a smaller-scale, human story of loss and pride and redemption.
After a couple of brief but quite cool battle sequences, the movie settles in to its main plot of John Wayne training Philippinos in the art of guerilla warfare against their conquerors, so that the forces of Truth, Justice and the American Way may get `Back to Bataan.' His second-in-command, Anthony Quinn, struggles to come to grips with his heritage of leadership. And Quinn's on-again-off-again love, also the mouthpiece of the Japanese, must decide where her true loyalties lie.
There are moving segments throughout the film, but overall it seemed a tad too limited, too mechanical, often shot on claustrophobic studio sets. The movie closes with the flag-waving return of our boys, comprised largely of stock footage. Some of it is not bad stuff, but it was a slight disappointment.
The film was very good in showing the brutality of the Japanese soldiers toward those they conquered at that time, and the brainwashing that ensued. A schoolyard hanging of the principal when he won't raise the flag of the rising sun is particularly thought-provoking. As are another character's dying words, regretful that he never learned enough about `liberty,' meaning in the grammatical sense; the reply as he breathes his last is: "Who ever learned it so well?"
And The Duke is obviously his same charismatic self, as in Flying Leathernecks or Sands of Iwo Jima or They Were Expendable. Or any other Duke movie, for that matter. Yet I found myself wanting... more. I don't really pop in a rah-rah wartime actioner for long sections of mostly dialogue.
Wake Island was a movie that I thought held similarly high potential and just did not go far enough. B2B reminded me somewhat of that one.
For more, better action in WW2, try plain old `Bataan' instead.
P.S. The final line is classic Duke.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Thibeault on July 22, 2004
Format: DVD
This is the kind of classic John Wayne movie that you think of when you think of the Duke and WWII. I have just about every JW DVD made after Stagecoach that is available and have been waiting for this to come out for some time. The story begins around the fall of Bataan and Corrigador in 1942 and ends with the American return to Letye in 1944. In between the Duke organizes restistance to the Japanese occupation. Wayne's acting is excellent and so is that of Anthony Quinn. The story and soundtrack are very good and the action is pretty intense for its time. If you like Wayne and haven't seen this movie, buy it now. I would put it up with Sands of Iwo Jima, Operation Pacific, They Were Expendable and In Harms Way as one of my favorite JW WWII movies.
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