Uncommon Valor (1983)

Uncommon Valor (1983)

Taglines: “C’mon… we’re going home.”

A group of Vietnam War veterans re-unite to rescue one of their own left behind and taken prisoner by the Vietnamese. Led by his father (a retired Marine Colonel) and supported by a rich businessman whose son is also a POW, the group engages in a dangerous and violent adventure trying to rescue the POWs and at the same time re-direct their lives.

Uncommon Valor is a 1983 American war film written by Joe Gayton and directed by Ted Kotcheff, about a U.S. Marine officer who puts together a team to try to rescue his son, who he believes is among those still held in Laos after the Vietnam War. The film stars Gene Hackman, Fred Ward, Reb Brown, Robert Stack, Michael Dudikoff, and in an early screen appearance, Patrick Swayze.

About the Story

Taking place in the early 1980s and set in the context of the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue, retired Marine Colonel Jason Rhodes (Gene Hackman) is obsessed with finding his son Frank, listed as “missing in action” (MIA) since 1972. After 10 years of searching Southeast Asia and turning up several leads, Rhodes believes that Frank is still alive and being kept in Laos as a prisoner of war.

After petitioning the United States government for help, but receiving none, Colonel Rhodes brings together a disparate group of Vietnam War veterans, including some who were a part of Frank’s platoon: Wilkes (Fred Ward), a “tunnel rat” who suffers from PTSD; “Blaster”, a demolitions expert (Reb Brown); and “Sailor”, a mental case with a heart of gold (Randall “Tex” Cobb). Additionally, two helicopter pilots, Distinguished Flying Cross recipient Johnson (Harold Sylvester) and Charts (Tim Thomerson), join the group. Former Force Recon Marine Kevin Scott (Patrick Swayze) joins the team and later turns out to be the son of a pilot who was blown up with a grenade in Vietnam and listed as MIA.

With the financial backing of rich oil businessman McGregor (Robert Stack), whose son served in Frank’s platoon and is also listed among the missing, the men train near Galveston, Texas, before embarking on their trip to the Laos camp in an attempt to bring back the POWs. However, the CIA, fearing an international crisis from Rhodes’ actions, intercepts him in Bangkok and confiscates his weapons and equipment.

Still determined to rescue their comrades, the team members put together their expense money given to them by McGregor, and Rhodes contacts an acquaintance of his, deposed local drug baron Jiang (Kwan Hi Lim), who joins the expedition with his two daughters Lai Fun (Alice Lau Nga Lai) and Mai Lin (Debi Parker) and manages to supply them with outdated but capable World War II weapons. In the course of the expedition, Charts gradually forms a relationship with Lai Fun.

Uncommon Valor Movie Poster (1983)

Uncommon Valor (1983)

Directed by: Ted Kotcheff
Starring: Gene Hackman, Patrick Swayze, Robert Stack, Reb Brown, Fred Ward, Alice Lau, Jane Kaczmarek, Gail Strickland, Gloria Stroock
Screenplay by: Joe Gayton
Production Design by: James L. Schoppe
Cinematography by: Stephen H. Burum
Film Editing by: Mark Melnick
Set Decoration by: John H. Anderson, George Gaines
Art Direction by: Jack G. Taylor Jr.
Music by: James Horner
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: December 16, 1983