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Go For Broke (September 22, 1951)

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Go For Broke

Released September 22, 1951: The true story of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team was created in 1943 by special Presidential order, composed entirely of Japanese-Americans that wanted to fight for America during WWII.

Directed by Robert Pirosh

The Actors: Van Johnson (Lieutenant Michael Grayson), Lane Nakano (Sam), George Miki (Chick), Akira Fukunaga (Frank), Ken K. Okamoto (Kaz), Henry Oyasato (Sergeant Takashi Ohhara), Harry Hamada (Masami), Henry Nakamura (Tommy), Warner Anderson (Colonel Charles W. Pence), Don Haggerty (Sergeant Wilson I. Culley), Gianna Maria Canale (Rosina), Dan Riss (Captain Solari), Richard Anderson (Lieutenant), Danny Aredas (Masami's buddy), John Banner (German officer), Hugh Beaumont (the chaplain), Robert Boon (German soldier), Mack Chandler (Texas soldier), Monique Chantal (French girl), Tony Christian (German prisoner), Mark W. Clark (himself, the postscript narrator), Ann Codee (pianist), Albert D'Arno (German soldier), Rene de Loffre (French boy), Josette Deegan (French girl), Edward Earle (the General at the dress parade), Jerry Fujikawa (communications Sergeant), Jack George (the French Priest), Eugene Gericke (Texas soldier), Henry Guttman (German officer), Claude Guy (French boy), Joe Haworth (Texas soldier), Gladys Holland (French girl), Ray Hyke (Military Policeman), Toru Lura (interpreter), Frank Iwanaga (soldier), Tennessee Jim (Texas soldier), Jeanne Lafayette (French girl), Michele Lange (French bar girl), Freeman Lusk (General at the dress parade), Harris Matsushige (soldier), Louis Mercier (French farmer), Richard Monda (Italian boy), Roger Moore (Major), Ernesto Morelli (Italian husband), Rollin Moriyama (Nisei), Tsutomu Paul Nakamura (Sergeant Major), George Offerman Jr. (Texas soldier), Frank Okada (Platoon leader), Robert Otoi (soldier),Walter Reed (Captain), John R. Reilly (Texan), Carmela Restivo (Italian woman), Ned Roberts (German soldier), Mario Siletti (Italian farmer), Robert Spencer (American officer), George Tanaguchi (Ohhara's brother), Paul Togawa (soldier), Harry S. Truman (himself, postscript voice at end), Frank Wilcox (Headquarters General), Larry Winter (German soldier), William Yetter Sr. (German soldier).


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On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor, and declared war on the United States. The next day the United States declared war on Japan. Soon after, amid fear of Japanese spies among the Japanese Americans living on the west coast, most of them were rounded up and put in guarded camps that were very quickly and crudely assembled. In 1943, by Presidential Order, the U.S. 442nd Regimental Combat Team was created and manned by second generation Japanese American boys. This movie celebrates their lives and achievements. Several of the actors are members of the 442, and the battle scenes and the dialogue are very realistic. Van Johnson stars as Lieutenant Michael Grayson, the Texan that trained them, fought with them, and eventually fought for them.

Go For Broke, the motto of the 442, was not a common phrase used in American slang until this movie, before that it was a term used by Japanese Americans only. Since then it has entered everyday language and endures to this day with the same meaning. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt approved the regiment, saying, "Americanism is a matter of the mind and heart; Americanism is not, and never was, a matter of race or ancestry." It is true that there were and still are events that show the racism and bigotry that have always existed where different peoples mingle, this movie accurately portrays one of the proud moments in American history when Americans of different descent worked together for the survival of freedom. They fought the Germans in Italy and France in seven major campaigns, with 9,486 casualties, 18,143 individual decorations and seven Presidential Unit Citations. This is their story, beginning with their training at Camp Shelby in Mississippi. It is not a horrific tale of war, but a realistic tale of the good and bad days of the Japanese Americans that helped bring freedom to Italy and France. Fans of WWII history will treasure this movie, and fans of old movies of any kind will enjoy this adventure through Europe just as much. Your popcorn and soda will disappear quickly as you enjoy this look at 1943 Italy, France, and the Japanese Americans that helped bring freedom to their people.