6.8/10
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Too Late the Hero (1970)

A reluctant hero, American Lieutenant Sam Lawson, is secunded to a motley British unit tasked with destroying a Japanese radio on a Philippine island.

Director:

Robert Aldrich

Writers:

Robert Aldrich (story), Robert Sherman (story) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Caine ... Pvt. Tosh Hearne
Cliff Robertson ... Lt. Sam Lawson
Ian Bannen ... Pvt. Jock Thornton
Harry Andrews ... Col. Thompson
Ronald Fraser ... Pvt. Campbell
Denholm Elliott ... Capt. Hornsby
Lance Percival Lance Percival ... Cpl. McLean
Percy Herbert ... Sgt. Johnstone
Patrick Jordan Patrick Jordan ... Sergeant Major
Sam Kydd ... Colour-Sergeant
William Beckley ... Pvt. Currie
Martin Horsey Martin Horsey ... Pvt. Griffiths
Harvey Jason ... Signalman Scott
Don Knight ... Pvt. Connolly
Roger Newman Roger Newman ... Pvt. Riddle
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Storyline

A World War II movie set on a Pacific island. Japanese and Allied forces occupy different parts of the island. When a group of British soldiers are sent on a mission behind enemy lines, things don't go exactly to plan. This movie differs in that some of the "heros" are very reluctant, but they come good when they are pursued by the Japanese, who are determined to prevent them returning to base. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

War. It's A Dying Business.

Genres:

Action | Drama | War

Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 September 1970 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Suicide Run See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,250,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$615,000, 31 December 1970

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,590,000, 31 December 1970
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(video compilation) | (TCM Print)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints)| Mono (Westrex Recording System) (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After the huge success of The Dirty Dozen (1967), MGM asked Robert Aldrich to make another movie for them, preferably along similar lines. Aldrich showed them a draft of the script for this movie, and the company came up with a provisional budget of 10.1 million dollars, which seemed to them a little steep. Aldrich, in the meantime, had become immensely rich from his percentage of the profits for The Dirty Dozen (1967), and had used the money to buy his own studio, and thus have more control over his movies. Rather than argue with MGM, he simply made this movie for his own company instead, and, as he was proud to tell interviewers, for the much smaller budget of six million dollars. See more »

Goofs

Throughout the entire film, Lt. Lawson's wristwatch randomly moves and changes position from his left hand to his right hand and vice versa. See more »

Quotes

Capt. John G. Nolan: [Sarcastically referring to Lawson whom he secunded to the British] They're gonna love him!
See more »

Alternate Versions

When originally released the US and UK versions each had a different survivor at the end of the film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Postgraduate Course in Sexual Love (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

Teddy Bear's Picnic
Written by John W. Bratton
Lyrics by Jimmy Kennedy
Sung by the patrol as it leaves the base
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Unique War Adventure
19 March 2003 | by pchemoc389See all my reviews

Too Late the Hero is a cynical war adventure with a set of rather unsavoury, antagonistic characters caught in an unforgiving, hot environment where they risk being embushed at any time by Japanese soldiers. It manages to stay interesting for two hours until building up into a fabulous, exciting finale. Not a big soldiers action film like The Dirty Dozen or Platoon, Too Late the Hero is nevertheless my favourite of the genre, although it took a couple of watchings to appreciate the simple, yet original, intelligent plot development, the realistic, yet interesting and even at times amusing dialogue and characters (for instance, Caine telling Robertson in his cockney accent: "now what's got you jumping about like a frog with a bullet up his ass..") and the suspenseful and well-made action sequences. It is not always easy for this kind of film to retain a kind of unsentimental realism and be entertaining at the same time. Yet, Too Late the Hero does it. While they are not particularly sympathetic characters (there are none in the film, except maybe for the Japanese major), Cliff Robertson and Michael Caine manage to become likeable anti-heroes in their own way, each giving excellent performances; American Robertson wondering what the hell he is doing among a rough bunch of Brits fighting the Japanese on a Pacific island until he decides to find his destiny as a hero, and Caine as a brash, cynical, rude, insubordinate and altogether hilarious cockney, mainly concerned about saving his skin. Too Late the Hero does not dwell into making an elaborate anti-war statement. It takes for granted that war is hell and any sane man would just worry about surviving like Caine, Robertson or most of the other soldiers on an increasingly suicidal mission - not as the leader of the group, brilliantly played by Denholm Elliott, who appears suspect and foolish for trying to maintain traditional combat values and discipline. The interactions between Robertson and his unfriendly British companions add to the interest and credibility of the film, while the unusual chase through the jungle and its exciting conclusion contribute to its originality. Not the best war film ever, but a unique one.


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