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“LAST FULL MEASURE” Battlefield to the Capitol

Review by John Delia

A stunner because of the attack during the Vietnam War, yet inspiring that soldiers who fought it deal with it in a dramatic way, the film The Last Full Measure comes to home video. Beyond the doubt there were many devastating battles during the Vietnam War with a devastating loss of life. All who served were heroes for facing the enemy including many that died on the battlefield and others returning wounded physically and psychologically. It was a disconcerting time with the American population in deep disfavor of a war and others feeling depressed over the death toll. Like with all wars and conflicts, many of our fighting troops are awarded medals for their courage under fire, including the person who this story centers on William H. Pitsenbarger.

William H. Pitsenbarger (Jeremy Irvine) enters Operation Abilene in LAST FULL MEASURE from Lionsgate

Those who served with him remember one of the bloodiest battles of the war, Operation Abilene. From the beginning of the fight, the outnumbered American troops were under attack and taking heavy losses. Surrounded, being picked off from the hidden enemy and with ordinance dropping all around them, our brave men fought back in the death trap. From a helicopter Pitsenbarger dropped down to the battle below and with his medical supplies saved over 60 lives before losing his own. For that he was nominated for a Medal of Honor but for reasons unknown the award was downgraded to an Air Force Cross.

Over the 30 years since it happened several of Pitsenbarger’s fellow combat men were still hurt by the wrongful gesture. This is the story of how Master Sergeant Tom Tulley (William Hurt), Ray Mott (Ed Harris), Jimmy Burr (Peter Fonda) and Billy Takoda (Samuel L. Jackson) faced a different battle to fight for the rightful highest recognition of the Medal of Honor for the Pitsenbarger family to cherish for their son’s heroism.

Scott Huffman (Sebastian Stan) and Master Sergeant Tom Tulley (William Hurt) in LAST FULL MEASURE from Lionsgate

But, there’s a lot more to the story including the hard work by a Pentagon Staffer Scott Huffman getting through all the red tape by a government embroiled in politics and world unrest. Director Todd Robinson lays it all out from the persistence of Tom Tulley, government mistakes, military errors, the involvement of the Pitsenbarger family, relaying the answers from powers who would be able to grant the higher honor and flashbacks to Operation Abilene showing the magnitude of the heroism and determination of William Pitsenbarger who saved the men on that day on the bloody battlefield.


“The Women of The Last Full Measure” Featurette
“Medal of Honor Ceremony Shoot” Featurette
“The Others May Live: Remembering Operation Abilene” Featurette
“USAF Museum Screening with Veterans & Pitsenbarger Family” Featurette
“The Music of The Last Full Measure” Featurette
“William Pitsenbarger Tribute” Photo Gallery

Frank Pitsenbarger (Christopher Plumber), Father and Alice Pitsenbarger (Diane Ladd), Mother of William H. Pitsenbarger in LAST FULL MEASURE from Lionsgate

Last Full Measure has been rated R by the MPAA for war violence, and language. There are also war scenes that depict many dead bodies, some of which were used to hide the wounded as the Vietcong advanced during battle. The film will be available on Blu-ray/Digital, DVD and VOD (check your local cable, streaming service, or satellite servers for times and dates.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A very good production and message. (4 out of 5 stars)

Specifications and additional video information:
Cast:  Sebastian Stan, Alison Sudol, Asher Miles Fallica , Christopher Plumber, William Hurt, Diane Ladd, Amy Madigan, Bradley Whitford, Ed Harris, Samuel L. Jackson
Directed and Written by: Todd Robinson
Genre: Drama, War
MPAA Rating: R for war violence, and language
Running Time: 1 hr. 56 min.
Video Release Date: April 21, 2020
Original Theatrical Release Date: January 24, 2020
Language: English
Reviewed Format: Blu-ray
Audio: DTS- Master Audio 5.1
Video: 1080p High Definition, 16×9, Aspect Ratio 2.39:1
Subtitles: Spanish, English SDH
Distributed by: Lionsgate
Released on: Blu-ray/Digital, DVD, VOD

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