Movies

Hacksaw Ridge

The incredible true story of a war hero without weapons

Desmond Doss
Desmond Doss (1919-2006)

Mel Gibson's new movie received a 10-minute standing ovation when it premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September.

Featuring Australian actors Teresa Palmer, Sam Worthington, Hugo Weaving, and Rachel Griffiths, American Vince Vaughn, and staring Andrew Garfield as US Army medic Desmond T. Doss, Hacksaw Ridge opens in cinemas across Australia on November 3.

The American-Australian film is a biographical war film based on the true story of Doss, who in World War II's bloodiest battle saved the lives of 75 men without firing or even carrying a gun.

As a Christian, Desmond refused to kill an enemy soldier or carry a weapon into combat. He was the first conscientious objector in US history to receive the Medal of Honor.

According to the Daily Telegraph, it has been reported that Gibson is now tipped for a Best Director Oscar after the movie received glowing reviews from critics.

Truman and Desmond
President Harry Truman awarding the Medal of Honor to Desmond Doss

"It's a war film," Gibson says about his work, his first dip back into the filmmaking community after a ten-year absence. "But it's a wonderful anti-war statement as well.

"[Desmond] wouldn't take another life, but he wanted to serve his country as a medic. He was persecuted. In boot camp, in the army, they tried to throw him out. They called him a coward, and he just took all the shots."

"While everybody else is taking life, I'm going to be saving it," Desmond says in the movie. "That's going to be my way to serve."

Desmond died in March 2006. He explained in Beyond Glory, an oral history of Medal of Honor winners, that he was motivated by the Sixth commandment in the Bible: "Thou shalt not kill".

"I took it personally: 'Desmond, if you love me, you won't kill'," he felt God telling him.

"From a human standpoint, I shouldn't be here to tell the story," he said of his efforts in the Okinawa battle. "All the glory should go to God. No telling how many times the Lord has spared my life."

This incredible story about a man who would not compromise on his beliefs, to the point where he risked his life stepping unarmed onto the battlefield and ended up a hero, is a must-see – at least according to the Venice crowd who clapped relentlessly as the credits rolled.

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