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The Great Raid (2005)



Average Rating: 5.3/10
Reviews Counted: 120
Fresh: 44 | Rotten: 76

Though the climax of the film -- the actual raid -- is exciting, the rest of it is bogged down in too many subplots and runs on for too long.


Average Rating: 5/10
Critic Reviews: 31
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 22

Though the climax of the film -- the actual raid -- is exciting, the rest of it is bogged down in too many subplots and runs on for too long.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 16,584

My Rating

Movie Info

John Dahl directed this war drama based on the true story of one of the most daring military actions of World War II. In the waning days of World War II, General Douglas MacArthur chose to make good on a pledge that he made in 1942 -- that he would return to the Philippines after he and his troops were forced to retreat. However, MacArthur's determination was more than a matter of pride. Over 500 American soldiers were being held in Cabanatuan, a notoriously brutal prisoner of war camp in the

Dec 20, 2005


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All Critics (124) | Top Critics (32) | Fresh (44) | Rotten (76) | DVD (15)

While one might have wished for a better movie, and a few smarter decisions regarding the screenplay, generally it's a riveting, even inspirational account of an American feat of arms about which few know but about which many more should.

August 12, 2005 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Feels less like a rousing action adventure than a military-sponsored lesson in invincible patriotic payback.

August 12, 2005 Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Comment (1)
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Dahl's approach may be somewhat pedestrian, but he tells his story clearly and with few unnecessary detours.

August 12, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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The story line is telegraphed from word one and the meticulous unfolding plot plods ahead inexorably without the slightest bit of suspense.

August 12, 2005 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This smart, unhurried drama plays out like a retro version of Saving Private Ryan.

August 12, 2005
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A great story filled with real heroics deserves better than this.

August 12, 2005 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Undeveloped secondary characters and awkward pacing thwarts the movie from achieving its '60s war film ethos similar to "The Great Escape."

April 15, 2009 Full Review Source: | Comments (2)

Instead of a tribute to a fine chapter in the annals of the Greatest Generation, we have a second-rate romance right out of a cheesy, pulp fiction novel.

May 25, 2007 Full Review Source: Princeton Town Topics
Princeton Town Topics

A well-produced, rousing feature based on one of those forgotten World War II episodes that make for great cinema.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

While the historical events depicted were unusual and cause for genuine celebration, the film that depicts these events is a dull, by-the-numbers set of war-movie clichés.

September 25, 2006
Christianity Today

It moves slowly and methodically, showing us the minutest particulars of every facet of the operation. There's more here than we need to know.

December 28, 2005 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

The Great Raid has one amazing action sequence. You just have to watch the whole story in order to earn and appreciate it.

December 25, 2005 Full Review Source:

The true story part of it works. The spy and romance stuff doesn't.

December 16, 2005 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

It couldn't hold my attention despite the event being such a celebrated one in American history.

December 1, 2005 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

More of a skimpy skirmish that lasts way too short and has too little peril to be great

September 1, 2005 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

War is hell, and so are some war movies.

August 25, 2005 Full Review Source: Boulder Weekly

Might have gotten some attention if John Wayne had been around to star in it

August 22, 2005 Full Review

This is strictly for WWII buffs.

August 20, 2005
Greenwich Village Gazette

For a man dying of malaria, Fiennes shivers impressively but also talks too much.

August 19, 2005 Full Review Source: New Times
New Times

[D]eliciously old-fashioned... Like in how Dahl assembled a cast of perfectly 1940s faces that pop off the screen with a suave anti-Technicolor urgency...

August 18, 2005 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

Raid may move, but it isn't particularly moving.

August 16, 2005

John Dahl's solemn staging of the rescue mission will likely earn him points from military aficionados, but The Great Raid is terminally dull.

August 16, 2005 Full Review Source: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

The three unwieldy story lines might even have daunted someone like David Lean. They utterly defeat director John Dahl, a director used to working in miniature

August 15, 2005 Full Review Source:

'Nothing in our lives will ever be as important as this,' says Lt. Bratt, in a pep talk that some of his boys might have found more depressing than motivational.

August 15, 2005
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

The Great Raid works well as a film when it concentrates on the planning and completion of the mission.

August 14, 2005 Full Review Source: Entertainment Insiders
Entertainment Insiders

There are the makings of a fine, moving, epic war film here, but thanks to the inclusion of enough chatty exposition to sink the Bismarck, again, and some just plain silly casting choices, The Great Raid is anything but.

August 14, 2005 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Audience Reviews for The Great Raid

Now don't get me wrong this is not Private Ryan,Schindlers list, or Bridge on the River Kwai. What the movie is is a good, true story about a small raid in the Pacific campaign. The mission is to help free 500 POW's from the Japanese before the Japanese try to kill the prisoners. It's well done, and well acted. I enjoyed it.
October 29, 2010

Super Reviewer

Although this movie has received criticism for its stereotypical and possibly xenophobic depiction of the Japanese treatment of allied POW's in the second world war, it is in fact a very accurate, fact-based retelling of the events surrounding one of the greatest morale building events for a battle weary America in the second world war. Filmed in the classic style of the WWII movies of the fifties, it is fast paced and does reflect the unfortunate attitude of the Japanese to the prisoners of war, which they held in contempt for the shame of allowing themselves to be captured.

War is hell, but this fact should not detract from the history portrayed, which is accurate. The allies were ultimately the winners in the most destructive war in human history, but individual stories of heroism and courage continue to ring true to one's spirit. especially in our difficult times.

Fine individual performances do justice to the real people who made in through this hellacious experience.

July 17, 2008
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

A stunning and triumphant action-packed adeventure. Powefrul and herioc. A truly effective story. One of the finest war films since Saving private Ryan. It's The Great Escape meets The Thin Red Line. Roushing, thrilling and exhilerating. The cast is remarkable. Benjiamin Bratt and James Franco are simply great. Joseph Fiennes is remarkable
February 10, 2008

Super Reviewer

The film tries to diverge into three different story arcs and while in the hands of capable director's would be a feasible mission, here it really distracts and muddles the film. The film drags along and is split between the different groups and is divided and doesn't flow cohesively Several of the casting choices are odd and distracting to the narrative as well and not until the actual raid itself does the film get exciting. There are some good dramatic scenes in the first half of the film but the pacing was all over the place and the multiple arcs made it choppy. the film simply covers an important event historically and doesn't add anything special or original to it and does a poor job at simply following a cohesive storyline.
November 27, 2013
Chris Browning

Super Reviewer

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