They Were Expendable

Synopsis: Shortly after Pearl Harbor, a squadron of PT-boat crews in the Philipines must battle the Navy brass between skirmishes with the Japanese. The title says it all about the Navy's attitude towards the PT-boats and their crews.
Genre: Drama, War
Production: MGM Home Entertainment
Rotten Tomatoes:
135 min

All boats from Brick.

Make them look good. It's the

first time they've seen PT boats.

All boats from Brick.

All boats from Brick.

Nice going.

Brick from Rusty.

That ought to show them.

They maneuver beautifully, sir.

- A splendid-looking lot of men.

- Thank you, sir.

Gentlemen, we're late.

Those boats of yours

maneuver beautifully.

But in wartime, I'm afraid I prefer

something more substantial.

It's wonderful the way

people believe... those high-powered

canoes of yours.

Don't you believe in them, Rusty?

And I let you sell me that stuff

about a "command of my own. "

You skipper the 34 boat,

don't you?

I used to skipper a cake of soap

in a bathtub too.

Secure from inspection.


- Nice show today, fellas.

- Thank you.


Good evening.

I'd like you to meet some boat skippers.

Shorty Long, Lefty Aiken...

What the-?

I want you to meet Andy Andrews.

He just reported. Shorty Long.

- Happy to know you.

- Thank you.

Lefty Aiken.

Where's Rusty?

Looks like he's doing his paperwork.

- Andy!

- Hello, Rusty.

Lefty said you'd checked in.

What'll it be?


Figuring your income tax?

No. I had to work out a smooth line... convince the admiral

I belong on a destroyer.

So you're really quitting

the squadron?

Can't build a Navy reputation

riding a plywood dream.

What are you aiming at?

Building a reputation...

...or playing for the team?

Look, Brick, for years I've

been taking your fatherly advice.

It's never been very good.

From here on in, I'm a one-man band!

Send in your request.

I'll forward it.

How about a beer, Rusty?

Five San Miguels.

Nice music.

Oh the monkeys have

No tails in Zamboanga

Oh the monkeys have

No tails in Zamboanga

Oh the monkeys have no tails

They were bitten off by whales

Oh the monkeys have

No tails in Zamboanga

Oh he won't go back to Subic anymore

Oh he won't go back to Subic anymore

Oh we'll hoist the jib and spank her

And we'll pipe, "All hands, up anchor!"

But he won't go back to Subic anymore

Lucky dog!

Small beer! Small beer!

Very small beer!

Milk! Sarsaparilla! Sarsaparilla!

Ginger ale!

Paint varnish and dash of red peppers!


I want absolute silence.

Boats here has a little speech to make.

I'm not going to make a speech.

Just got something to say.

Tomorrow our old pal Doc here

is going out.

He's being paid off after 30 years.

I know most of you kids got a ways

to go before you find out...

...what 30 years in the Navy means.

It means service.

Tough and good.

It means serving your country

in peace and in war.

So let's raise-

We interrupt this program

for an important announcement.

This morning, the Sunday calm of

Pearl Harbor was broken by the thunder-

So let's raise our glasses

and drink to Doc...

...with all the solemnity that

this occasion demands.

To Doc.

Sorry to have to interrupt you.

Ladies and gentlemen.

I have a very important

announcement to make.

This is official.

The Japanese have attacked

Pearl Harbor.

There are no details.

All Army and Navy personnel

must report to their posts immediately.

I repeat:

All Army and Navy personnel

must report to their posts immediately.

Let's go, Rusty.

Didn't you forget something?

Land where my fathers died

Land of the pilgrims' pride

From every mountainside

Let freedom ring

Hold it.

I don't know. I'm just doing

what I'm told. You know.

Any hot dope, Whitey?

Nothing yet, Brick.

That's probably where they'll attack.

Carry on.

We'll do our best, sir.

This just came in, sir.


You may assume that a state

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Frank Wead

Frank Wilbur "Spig" Wead (24 October 1895–15 November 1947) was a U.S. Navy aviator who helped promote United States Naval aviation from its inception through World War II. Commander Wead was a recognized authority on early aviation. Following a crippling spinal injury in 1926, Wead was placed on the retired list. In the 1930s, he became a screenwriter, becoming involved in more than 30 movies. He also published several books, short stories and magazine articles. During World War II, he returned to active duty. He initially worked in a planning role, but later undertook sea duty in the Pacific, where he saw action against the Japanese in 1943–44 before being placed on the retired list in mid-1945. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "They Were Expendable" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 2 Aug. 2021. <>.

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