Heroes for Sale

Synopsis: The saga of Tom Holmes - a man of principles - from the Great War to the Great Depression. Will he ever get a break? His war heroics earn fame and a medal for someone else, and his wounds result in a morphine addiction that costs him a job, his reputation in his home town, and months in a clinic. He goes to Chicago, where he's enterprising and dedicated to his work and his fellow workers, but an invention he champions results in the opposite of his intentions, leading to loss of life and an unjust imprisonment. After release, during the Depression, he must face local "red squads" and vigilante groups jousting out jobless men. Will anyone see his true heroic character?
Genre: Drama, War
Director(s): William A. Wellman
Production: Warner Bros.
Rotten Tomatoes:
76 min

These three shell holes are 1 o feet apart.

Split up your men

and put some of them in each hole.

That's the heinie gun nest

in front of the holes?

Yep, then you fan out from the shell holes

and attack with grenades.

- Looks like suicide, doesn't it, sir?

- Suicide or not, it's orders.

- I don't like this.

- Neither do I.

- How many men shall I take?

- Nine or 1 o.

That's all I can afford to lose.

I'll go over this once more

to make sure everybody understands.

The object of this raid

is to take prisoners or a prisoner.

Preferably an officer.

Take these three men

and go into the nearest shell hole.

Yes, sir.

Wells, you take those three men

into the furthest shell hole.

It'll take you longest to reach your objective,

so we'll be waiting for your signal.

Tom will go with me

into the middle shell hole.

Two parties of four

will attack from the sides...

...while Holmes and I attack

from the center.

Remember, each man's life

depends on all of us.

If any one of us fails in his duty,

we'll probably all fail.

We leave in exactly 2o minutes.

- Heard from your mother lately, Tom?

- Got a letter yesterday.

I haven't heard from my folks

in over a month.

Mother wrote me she'd seen your dad

in the bank. Says he's looking swell.

You scared, Roger?

- Unofficially, yes.

- Me too.

Only you can make mine official.

All right, Roger. Come on.

- Come on.

- No! No!

You dirty, yellow son of a...

- Aah!

- Come on, Fritz.

All right, we're going places.



Take him in.

I'm gone.

More coffee, lieutenant?

Nobody will know

how you got back in one piece.

It took plenty of nerve, no fooling.

- Listen, I didn't do anything...

Never mind the old modesty.

This is too big to knock down.

But, really, I'm not entitled to...

- You're entitled to all decorations in the box.

And you'll get them.

- Attention.

- At ease.

I just heard about it. Congratulations.

Thanks, major.

There's your man and an officer too.

Now that the armistice has been signed,

there's been an exchange of prisoners.

You will be returned to your own lines.

That's good news, doctor.

You are in great pain. Hmm?

- Yes, sir.

- Naturally.

The x-ray shows you still have

steel splinters in your spinal column.

- Yes, sir.

- To remove them now...

...would be a dangerous

and a difficult operation.

You have not the strength.

We have not the facilities for doing it.

For some time,

this has helped you to endure your pain.


When you can no longer bear the pain,

take one of these.

That will be a godsend, doctor.

Goodbye, sir.

Hello, boys.

I brought you something to smoke.

Take a handful.

Much obliged, Major Winston.

Smoke, buddy?

What's the use

if you can't see the smoke?



But didn't I hear them call you

Major Winston?

That's right.

I heard you were onboard.

I'm sure lucky

to have a chance of meeting you.

It must be great to be going home

with a Distinguished Service Cross.

Just lucky, that's all.

- Major.

- Yeah?

Have you got it on?

No, but I have it with me.

I used to think about getting one.

Let me sort of touch it, will you?



Roger. Oh, Roger.


Gee, I'm glad to see you.


Tom, I can't believe...

You were killed.

I saw you die.

They had me out there

among the clouds...

...but I bounced back just to fool them.

And look at you, a major.

All covered with decorations.

Tom, come down in my stateroom.

We've got to have a talk. Now. Come.

And there... There I was...

...everybody making a hero of me.

I accepted it because...

Because I didn't have guts enough

to refuse it.

It went on and on.

The honors piled up.

And every one I got

made it more impossible to tell the truth.

I couldn't let go.

I'm not fooling myself.

I know that all my promotions

and decorations belong to you.

I know that I've stolen the credit

from a real hero.

Sometimes it almost drove me crazy

when I thought you were dead.

How do you suppose I feel now

knowing you're alive?

Under the same conditions...

...I probably would have done

just what you did.

And there's nothing we can do about it.


Unless you make me

the laughingstock of the world.

You know I wouldn't do that.

Besides, you're just the man for medals

and all that sort of thing.

You look the part.

I just don't.

- Oh, but, Tom, I've done you a terrible...

- Listen.

Listen, Roger.

I've been in the shadow of death

for so long...

...that nothing in life

seems very important anymore.

I hear he captured a whole

machine-gun nest single-handed.

You have to do that to get

the Distinguished Service Cross.

Yes, sir, Roger is a fine boy.

I always said so.

How do you do?

- Attention.

Attention, please. Please, everybody. Heh.

Mr. Roger will be right down, folks.

He wants to shake hands

with everyone, personally.

Here he comes now.

- Now, move right over there.

Hang on a minute.

About ready? Hold it, major, will you?

Just as you are.

Much obliged, major.

Now let's get one of you alone

at the bottom of the stairs.

Tom, I've got an extra blanket

for your bed.

Just a second, Ma.

What made you lock the door, dear?

Why, I'm so excited about getting home,

I guess I don't know what I'm doing.

It's just too wonderful.

Now, what are you crying for?

We're together again.

You look as if

you'd been through so much.

You look so tired.

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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