Hacksaw Ridge is a 2016 biographical war film about the World War II experiences of Desmond Doss, an American pacificist combat medic who was a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, refusing to carry or use a firearm or weapons of any kind. Doss became the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor, for service above and beyond the call of duty.
The film was directed by Mel Gibson and written by Andrew Knight and Robert Schenkkan, based on an earlier documentary about Doss. The film stars Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving, Rachel Griffiths and Vince Vaughn. It was released in the United States on November 4, 2016, has received very positive reviews, gained or been nominated for numerous awards, and grossed $120 million worldwide.
While growing up in Lynchburg, Virginia during the Great Depression, young Desmond Doss nearly kills his brother Hal, hitting him with a brick. This traumatizing experience, along with a talk from his religious mother, firmly reinforces his belief in the Sixth Commandment of the Old Testament. Years later, Doss saves a man who becomes injured by a car and while taking the man to hospital, is instantly smitten with a nurse, Dorothy Schutte. They soon begin dating and fall in love, and Doss begins to learn about medicine from her work.
With the majority of his town, including his brother, enlisting in the Army to fight in World War II, Doss is motivated to sign up as well. His father, a troubled veteran from the First World War, is deeply upset as he expects to lose his sons just as he lost his boyhood friends. Because of his beliefs as a conscientious objector, Doss intends to serve as a combat medic. Before he leaves for training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, he asks for Dorothy’s hand in marriage, and she accepts.
Doss is placed under the command of Sergeant Howell, and while he excels physically, he immediately becomes an outcast among his fellow soldiers when he refuses to handle his rifle nor train on Saturdays, as he is a Seventh-day Adventist. After Howell and Captain Glover fail to get Doss discharged for psychiatric reasons, Howell worsens Doss’ conditions by putting him through grueling labor and turning his fellow soldiers against him by mistaking his beliefs for cowardice, intending to get Doss to leave of his own accord. Despite being beaten one night by his fellow soldiers, he refuses to disclose the identities of his attackers. He continues training.
Doss’ squad is temporarily released from training, and Doss intends to marry Dorothy, but he is arrested for insubordination for his refusal to carry a firearm. Dorothy visits Doss in jail, and tries to convince him to declare a guilty plea in his upcoming trial so that he can be released without charges, but Doss is still unsure, not wanting to compromise his beliefs. At his trial, Doss pleads not guilty, and before he is to be sentenced, his father barges into the courtroom with a letter from his former commanding officer (now a Brigadier General) stating that his son’s refusal to carry a firearm is protected by the US Constitution. The charges against Doss are dropped, and he and Dorothy are promptly married.
Doss’ unit is assigned to the 77th Infantry Division and sent to the Pacific theater to participate in the Battle of Okinawa. At Okinawa Doss’ unit is informed that they are to relieve the 96th Infantry Division, which was tasked with climbing the cliff face of the Maeda Escarpment, nicknamed “Hacksaw Ridge”, to take on the Japanese forces stationed there. Because the Japanese forces are dug in on the ridge artillery bombardments from the escort ships of the US Navy’s Fast Carrier Task Force have not had much success in softening up the landing zone. Consequently, US Forces have been pushed off the ridge three times, in each case taking heavy casualties. In the initial fight, losses are heavy on both sides, and Doss is successful in saving several soldiers, including ones whose injuries appear too severe for them to survive. The Americans bivouac for the night, and Doss spends the night in a foxhole with Smitty, a squad mate who was the first to call Doss a coward. Doss tells Smitty that he nearly shot his drunken father after he threatened his mother with a gun, revealing his aversion to holding a firearm. Smitty apologizes for doubting his courage and the two make amends.
Source Page – Wikipedia