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Go for Broke! (1951 film)

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Director  Robert Pirosh
Music director  Alberto Colombo
Country  United States
6.8/10 IMDb

Genre  Drama, History, War
Screenplay  Robert Pirosh
Writer  Robert Pirosh
Language  English
Go for Broke! (1951 film) movie poster
Release date  May 24, 1951 (1951-05-24) (New York City)
Cast  Van Johnson (Lt. Michael Grayson), Lane Nakano (Sam), George Miki (Chick), Akira Fukunaga (Frank), Ken K. Okamoto (Kaz), Henry Oyasato (Ohhara)
Similar movies  Fury, Terminator Salvation, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones, Saving Private Ryan
Tagline  The story of Japanese-American soldiers who fought in Europe during World War II

Go for broke 1951 full movie captioned

Go for Broke! is a 1951 war film directed by Robert Pirosh, produced by Dore Schary and featured Van Johnson in the starring role, as well as several veterans of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Henry Nakamura, Warner Anderson, and Don Haggerty amongst its large cast.


Go for Broke! (1951 film) movie scenes

The film dramatizes the real-life story of the 442nd, which was composed of Nisei (second-generation Americans born of Japanese parents) soldiers.

Go for Broke! (1951 film) wwwgstaticcomtvthumbmovieposters4434p4434p

Fighting in the European theater during World War II, this unit became the most heavily decorated unit for its size and length of service in the history of the United States Army, as well as one of the units with the highest casualty rates. This film is a Hollywood rarity for its era in that it features Asian Americans in a positive light, highlighting the wartime efforts of Japanese Americans on behalf of their country even while that same country interned their families in camps.

Go for Broke! (1951 film) Movie Monday Double Feature Only the Brave 2006 and Go For Broke

As with his earlier film script Battleground, in which Van Johnson also starred, writer-director Robert Pirosh focuses on the average squad member, mixing humor with pathos, while accurately detailing equipment and tactics used by American infantry in World War II. The contrast of reality versus public relations, the hardships of field life on the line, and the reality of high casualty rates are accurately portrayed with a minimum of heroics.

Go for Broke! (1951 film) Go for Broke 1951 This Island Rod

In 1979, the film entered the public domain (in the USA) due to the claimants' failure to renew its copyright registration in the 28th year after publication.

Go for Broke! (1951 film) Go For Broke movie posters at movie poster warehouse moviepostercom


Go for Broke! (1951 film) Go for Broke 1951 IMDb

The film begins in 1943 at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, with newly commissioned Lt. Michael Grayson (Johnson) reporting for duty with the 442nd, then in training. He discovers that he has been sent to a unit composed of Nisei; he had expected to return to the U.S. 36th Infantry Division, a Texas National Guard unit with which he had served as an enlisted man. Having joined the war to fight against the Japanese, he is disturbed to find he is expected to fight alongside people whom he sees as Japanese, rather than Americans. From the outset, Grayson runs his platoon rather harshly, including an almost martinet-like insistence upon the strict observance of regulations.

Go for Broke! (1951 film) Go For Broke movie posters at movie poster warehouse moviepostercom

He (and the audience) learn that "Go for broke" is a pidgin phrase (used in Hawaii) meaning to gamble everything, to "shoot the works"—to risk "going broke" or bankruptcy. Eventually Grayson also learns the meaning of the frequently repeated expletive Baka tare, which, loosely translated, means "very stupid."

There is only brief mention of the internment camps from which most of the men have come, but throughout the film there are references to the camps. There are also a few brief references to the distinctions between the Nisei from Hawaii ("Buta-heads") and those from the mainland ("Katonks"). While Buta-heads (the phrase later devolved to "Buddha-Heads") were a key part of the Hawaiian economy and society, Katonks were largely distrusted and disliked by their neighbors.

Arriving in Italy, the unit is joined by the 100th Battalion, the Nisei unit formed in Hawaii before the 442nd was created on the mainland. The troops of the 100th are seasoned veterans and the new arrivals look to them for advice. On the march to the front lines, Grayson inadvertently gets left behind while fraternizing with a signorina, but when he catches up he finds that his platoon has covered for him during an inspection of their positions by the colonel.

Through fighting in Italy and France, Grayson eventually comes to respect the Nisei, and his bigotry fades. Eventually he is transferred back to his old unit, the 36th as a liaison—over his objections—when the 442nd is attached to the larger unit. As he has misjudged the Nisei, they have misjudged Grayson. They eventually learn that he has defended them against bigotry, even getting into a fistfight with an old friend of his from the 36th who had insulted them.

The climax of the movie comes with the "Buddha-heads'" famous rescue of the "Lost Battalion", after the 36th is surrounded by the German army. Then comes their return home, and the award of the eighth Presidential Unit Citation.


  • Van Johnson as Lt. Michael Grayson
  • Lane Nakano as Sam
  • George Miki as Chick
  • Akira Fukunaga as Frank
  • Ken K. Okamoto as Kaz
  • Henry Oyasato as Takashi Ohhara
  • Harry Hamada as Masami
  • Henry Nakamura as Tommy Kamakura
  • Warner Anderson as Col. Charles W. Pence
  • Don Haggerty as Sgt. Wilson I. Culley
  • Gianna Maria Canale as Rosina
  • Dan Riss as Capt. Solari
  • John Banner as a German soldier
  • These actors were actual veterans of the 442nd.

    There is archive footage of Gen. Mark Clark, and Pres. Truman presenting the unit citation.


    According to MGM records the film made $2,531,000 in the US and Canada and $806,000 overseas, resulting in a profit of $761,000.


    The story and screenplay by Robert Pirosh were nominated for an Academy Award in 1951.


    Go for Broke! (1951 film) Wikipedia
    Go for Broke! (1951 film) IMDb Go for Broke! (1951 film)

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