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“APOCALYPSE ’45” A Revealing Documentary

Monroe Ozment  Photo courtesy of Discovery




Review by John Delia

There’s been many documentaries on wars, especially World War II that had embedded cameramen and camerawomen into the fighting. You may have seen similar features on “World at War”, but Apocalypse ’45 is one documentary that really stands out as it includes recently released declassified film footage that these very brave photographers shot while under fire from enemy forces. It makes a strong statement for our unwaveringly and heroic American fighters who took down the unyielding Japanese Imperial Military.

Survivors from the 5th Marine Division, who were in the first wave of the Iwo Jima invasion, at the  WW2 Museum. Photo courtesy of Discovery

The film opens with actual footage shot on March 2, 1946 approximately a year after the surrender of Japan. Showing the devastation on the mainland of Japan due to not only the bombing raids, but the Atomic bomb drops, you can see how had it been the other way around, what it may have looked like in America. It then shows what lead up to the action taken by our air forces after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The immediate call to action by President Roosevelt and the sieges, battles and loss of life on both sides and the final orders from President Truman to take the decisive action to end the war are all covered with war action films.

U.S.S Franklin, immediately after direct hit from Japanese dive bomber, March 19th, 1945. Photo courtesy of Discovery

During the film you will hear from 24 Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine soldiers that fought in many of the battles shown in the film. Actually being in those conflicts, it really hits home knowing what they went through to protect our country. One of the men makes the following statement about what he felt being in battle during the Pacific Conflict during World War II. “We were all Americans. We had different religions, different faiths, different political views, but the most important thing of all was being American. We were unified in that. That gave us a lot of strength. We were one in those days. And you know now, at 93 and having been through the war and a couple other wars since, I look back and I still feel the same way. We had a strong belief in this country.”

Graves being dug after battle of Iwo Jima, Spring 1945. 6800 Americans were killed on that small island. Photo Courtesy of Discovery

In the hour and 45 minute film you can see how brave the WWII US fighting soldier was, unflinching and determined to fight for America’s freedom. The speakers during the film range from in age from their 90’s to over 100 and are very sincere and honorable. The film is being released 79 years after we entered WWII and 75 years after the fall of Japan.

Apocalypse ’45 has not been rated by the MPAA, but contains actual battle footage, disturbing images, burials, wounded soldiers, and some language. The film is not for the meek or timid and if shown to teens, an adult should be present. Treat the film as if it had an R rating.

Scene from lost John Ford film footage, Pearl Harbor, April 1942. Photo courtesy of Discovery

FINAL ANALYSIS: A very compelling film that will keep you glued to your seat. (4 out of 5 stars)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Thomas Vaucher,
Directed and written by:  Erik Nelson
Genre: Documentary, War
MPAA Rating: Not Rated, war violence, disturbing images, burials, the wounded
Running Time: 1 hr. 45 min.
Opening Date: August 14, 2020
Distributed by: Discovery, Abramorama
Released in: Select Theaters check your local listings, Discovery Channel Labor Day Weekend.

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