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For other meanings see Purple Heart .
The Purple Heart is a 1944 Americanmarker war film directed by Lewis Milestone.

It is a dramatization of the trial of a number of US airmen by the Japanesemarker during the Second World War. It is loosely based on the trial of eight airmen who took part in the April 18, 1942, Doolittle Raid {Three were executed and one died as a POW}.

It starred Dana Andrews as the leader of the downed crew, and was directed by Lewis Milestone. Eighteen-year-old Farley Granger had a supporting role.

Plot summary

In April 1942 the crew of a downed American B-25 Mitchell bomber are captured in a Wang Jingwei controlled section of China by a Chinese collaborator. The story relates the torture and hardship the men endured while in captivity, and their final humiliation: being tried, convicted and executed as war criminals. Throughout, the American stalwarts are subjected to mistreatment and systematic abuse by the inhuman General Mitsubi (Richard Loo) who ultimately chooses to shoot himself, in the face of his captives' unshakable resolve and the realization that the Japanese warlords are doomed to destruction.



The film is heavy throughout with patriotic bombast and the ham-fisted stereotypical portrayal of all Japanese (usually by actors of non-Japanese origin) as sadistic tyrants. At the time of its release, the war in the Pacific was still raging and there was little concern for such racist excesses. The December 7, 1941marker, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbormarker was still fresh in the minds of the American public. In later years, many of the principal players, including Dana Andrews, came to express regret over the more distasteful aspects of the film although they also pointed out that the Japanese were guilty of waging aggressive war and large scale atrocities based at least partially on their own racism and perceived superiority over people of other nationalities. At the time of production, the US government and the movie studios felt it necessary to pull out every stop to whip up an intense hatred and thirst for vengeance against an enemy that proved to be fanatical in its resistance.

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