ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Desmond Doss Fought For Life At Hacksaw Ridge

Updated on November 12, 2016

The true stories of heroism during World War II never fail to captivate, as they show the ability of people to maintain their humanity in spite of the violence that surrounds them. The story told in Hacksaw Ridge involves a man who saved troops without firing a bullet. Andrew Garfield stars as Desmond Doss, a young man from Virginia who felt the need to serve in the war after his younger brother, Hal (Nathaniel Buzolic), enlisted. Desmond, though, wished to serve without compromising his beliefs of non-violence he held as a Seventh-Day Adventist. Their sons' decision to head to war does not sit well with their parents, Tom (Hugo Weaving) and Bertha (Rachel Griffiths), the former of whom has seen war for himself. Desmond also leaves behind his fiancee, Dorothy Schutte (Teresa Palmer), a nurse he met and loved the moment he saw her.

Basic training, though, does not go well for Private Doss. His drill instructor, Sergeant Howell (Vince Vaughn), cannot even persuade Doss to even touch a gun. The captain at the base, Jack Glover (Sam Worthington), wants Doss discharged for psychiatric reasons. For failing to follow orders, Doss gets sent to the brig instead of being given a weekend pass, which delayed his intention to marry Dorothy. As he faces trial for his insubordination, they Army gets a reminder that they could be violating his rights over not carrying a weapon. They drop the charges, and allow Doss to get the medic training he was promised when he enlisted. That training is put to its greatest test in the war's final months, especially on Okinawa. He does not retreat from a battle against Japanese troops willing to kill or die to hold the ridge as he tries saving men pinned to their positions by enemy fire.

Hacksaw Ridge marks Mel Gibson's first film since Apocalypto ten years earlier. The film is an engrossing and intense look at a man who stood on principle while doing his part in the war effort. Hacksaw Ridge also gets into a little bit of Desmond's back story of a man who loved adventure and believed in service. Yet, he also made the decison to not touch a gun as the result of one conflict. Gibson also doesn't shy away from graphic details as he shows the finality of this fight for both Americans and Japanese alike. Gibson does offer a little bit of humor in those scenes as Desmond connects with onetime detractor Smitty Riker (Luke Bracey), and Desmond's use of a gun as he takes a still-firing soldier to safety. I wish the screenplay from Andrew Knight and Robert Schenkkan had touched a little more on Desmond's family, especially Dorothy, as the scenes with Dorothy and Desmond are among the highlights of the film.

Garfield delivers well as the private who seldom strays from his beliefs. Desmond always has his Bible and a picture of Dorothy to inspire him. He always offers a prayer to his fellow soldiers as they risk their lives in a different way than he does. In turn, he shows them what kind of a soldier he can be, with training and discipline as his weapons of choice. Though she gets little screen time, I also liked Palmer as the supportive and loving Dorothy, who believes in Desmond and gives him reason to be the best medic he can be. Weaving also makes the best of his short screen time as the embittered Tom, who knows - and still lives - with the horrors of war. Vaughn, Worthington, and Bracey also make solid contributions in support. The Doss brothers and Glover appear in archive footage just before the credits roll.

World War II veterans will soon be unable to tell their stories firsthand. Doss himself passed away in 2006, but his tale of heroism deserves to be told and remembered. Gibson and others make sure Hacksaw Ridge respects the efforts of Doss and the sacrifices all of them made during the war years. The movie shows that a man can do more in battle besides taking lives. Obviously, an Army will not succeed if all of them follow the lead of Desmond Doss. In one battle, Doss made his name as he stayed in a very dangerous place to get as many as he could to safety and, in many cases, proper care. Hacksaw Ridge avoids the necessary cynicism of Flags Of Our Fathers to show a man who had to fight for his beliefs as he fought to make sure as many as he could one day make their way home.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give Hacksaw Ridge 3.5 stars. One man's extraordinary effort to help his unit prevail.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      Pat Mills 

      2 years ago from East Chicago, Indiana

      Thanks Mel. I also hope your Gibson avoids future ranting and raving and shows his talent as an actor and director.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      2 years ago from San Diego California

      You are right that WWII veterans will soon no longer be able to tell their stories. I have one veteran of the 2nd armored division hanging on on my route, 90 something and still walking to the store to buy his newspaper. It will be a shame when these heroes are no longer with us.

      I'm glad Mel Gibson is back in the saddle. Despite his drunken tirades, he is a great director and always gives us a satisfying, sensitive tale. I definitely want to see this one. Great review.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)