Search - Prisoners of the Sun on DVD

Prisoners of the Sun
Prisoners of the Sun
Actors: David Argue, John Bach, Ray Barrett, Andrew Booth, John Clarke
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Military & War
NR     2004     1hr 48min

An oppressive mood hangs over the small island of Ambon, Indonesia, where hundreds of Australian prisoners of war have been massacred by their Japanese guards. World War II is nearly over and two officers, Captain Cooper (...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: David Argue, John Bach, Ray Barrett, Andrew Booth, John Clarke
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Russell Crowe, Drama, Military & War
Studio: Allumination
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 08/24/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 48min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Very good movie in its category
Ratspit | California, United States | 06/25/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Several years ago I found a copy of this movie on vhs and picked it up. As someone who is very interested in the Pacific war, this movie caught my attention. This is a well done Australian movie that is based on a true story. It is about military trials that were held at the end of WWII on the island of Ambon, in Indonesia, to deal with mass atrocities that the Japanese committed against their prisoners. There are some flash backs and a few other scenes with strong imagery and actions in it, but Prisoners of the Sun (originally entitled "Blood Oath" in Australia) is primarily a courtroom drama. It not only shows a glimpse of just how degenerate the Imperial Japanese army was towards its prisoners, but it also shows how governments after the war just wanted to forget and move on quickly in their desire for strategic world building. Thankfully, the Australians have not let the world forget about these atrocities and the terrible price that men paid for freedom.

Yes, a very young Crowe does have a bit part in this movie, but he is not the main character so don't expect a lot of screen time. Bryan Brown is the main character, and there are some fairly lengthy scenes with George Takei (Lt. Sulu from Star Trek). The dvd sounds good and has a decent enough, clear looking picture (full screen though, and I'm not sure if it was in any other form originally). As for dvd extra's, there are a few, a trailer, biographies, a small historical text account of the incident, a more recent interview with Russell Crowe and Bryan Brown in which they appear on a Australian tv show or such together and talk about this film and Crowe's early days as an actor, and a musical video "Memorial Day" sung and performed by Russell Crowe and his band "30 Odd Foot of Grunts". All in all these extra's sounds fairly decent for a little unknown film on a heavy subject. However, this movie first came out on dvd in Australian mate, and there were more extra's to be had there, including a "behind the scenes" that featured some interesting footage, "Ambon Pow's remember", as well as documents and transcripts of the Ambon trials, and more! It would not have been so hard to give us the rest of these wonderful extra's and that's very disappointing. Most of the extra's I have on a vcd copy I obtained from Australia, but there are still things I'm missing as well.

All in all, it's a very good (though perhaps not outstanding) film that shows the slow agonizing process of trying to see that justice happened after the war, and the flimsy results that came from the struggle. Good atmospheric piece that grips you in places, and if you're already interested in the subject matter it will probably keep you very interested. If your not one who is caught up in the subject matter or just want to see a young Russell Crowe, you might want to think a little more about getting this. It is interesting if you like courtroom drama stuff, but I'm sure there are more thrilling courtroom dramas elsewhere. Giving an audience courtroom thrills is not the point of the movie.

For a very thorough, down to earth, documented study of WWII Prisoners in the pacific, read the incredible Gavan Daws book, Prisoners of the Japanese, Pow's of World War II in the Pacific. ISBN: 0688143709"
One Soldier's Faith
Artist & Author | Near Mt. Baker, WA | 10/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There is one aspect of this movie that I haven't seen mentioned anywhere, and I am surprised because it really is central to the story. This movie shows only one Japanese soldier who was executed as a result of the trial. (There were actually six executed by the time the trials were over; 85 went free.) What is interesting about the man who was executed is that he was a Christian, a Roman Catholic. He had already gone home to Japan, and was free. We aren't told if he was a Christian before he went to the island where the prisoner of war camp was located, or if he converted while there, or after he went back home to Japan.

However, he knew that he had executed one of the Australian airmen by beheading so he voluntarily went back to stand trial and to testify. It is subtle, but very clear that he went back because of his Christian faith; that he had to tell the truth and face whatever the consequences may be. While all the other Japanese on trial were lying about the execution of over 300 Australians, this one Christian Japanese soldier told the truth. He could tell the truth because his faith was stronger than his human fear of death. That encouraged one or two others to start to tell the truth. The officer who actually ordered the killings was so angry he tore the cross necklace from this Christian Japanese's neck.

I won't give the outcome of the movie for those who don't know it. However, I will say that the movie ends with the camera focused on this Christian soldier's Rosary/crucifix held in his hands. I would say that without this aspect of the movie, it never would have been made. Who would want to watch a movie where 85 out of 91 brutal, heartless soldiers, killers, on trial went free because of their lying and the politics of the post-WWII period?"
In war often justice is not sweet
BernardZ | Melbourne, vic Australia | 01/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I am not a great fan of Australian movies but this one is good.

The story itself is of a small war crimes tribunal of major significance to Australians but no-one else. In February 1942, about 1000 soldiers mainly Australians were taken by the Japanese to a camp. When the camp was liberated in 1945, only 139 Allied POWs survived. The film focus on the trial after the war mainly from the prosecution trying to pursue a case the public demanded but the Allied leaders found inconvenient and messy. To do this they follow two events that occurred at the camp the mass killing of 300 Australian soldiers and execution of 4 Australian airmen. The tragedy at the end is the man who was executed by the court I think probably should not have been. Even the prosecution did not want him executed. It is a common problem that it is harder in law to convict the person who ordered the event then the one who did it.

The acting, I thought was good.

The big problem when filming such an event is few actors would let themselves become skeletons, which is what the survivors are. So it is going to lack realism and there is nothing anyone can do about that. Even big budget movies have this problem. The filming was interesting mainly because it was done so cheaply. Check out the directors commentary, as he has some interesting comments on this topic.