Too late for heroes - line up to die

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German title Too late for heroes - line up to die for
(alternative title: Okinawa suicide mission )
Original title Too Late the Hero
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1970
length 145 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Robert Aldrich
script Robert Aldrich,
Lukas Heller ,
Robert Sherman
production Robert Aldrich,
Walter Blake
music Gerald Fried
camera Joseph F. Biroc
cut Michael Luciano

Too Late for Heroes - Too Late the Hero (Original title: Too Late the Hero ) is a 1970 war film directed by Robert Aldrich with Cliff Robertson and Michael Caine in the leading roles. The location of the film is an island in the Pacific region during the Second World War.


Lieutenant Lawson is a member of the US Navy and is seconded to an island in the New Hebrides as a linguist, where he is supposed to support a British military operation. A US Navy convoy is scheduled to pass the north coast of the island, which is controlled by the Japanese, in the near future. The aim of the operation is to destroy the Japanese radio transmitter in order to prevent the convoy from reporting. In addition, Lawson is said to send a fake radio message that is supposed to lull the Japanese into safety.

The commanding officer of the command company is Captain Hornsby, who repeatedly risked the lives of his men through reckless orders. Private Hearne is the group's medic and struggles to convince the company that it makes sense. When the command finally reached the Japanese outpost, great losses were already to be lamented. While trying to destroy the radio transmitter, the soldiers discover a previously unknown Japanese airfield. The Japanese resistance forces the command to withdraw, pursued by Major Yamaguchi, who wants to prevent the other side from finding out about the secret airfield. Only Lawson and Hearne reach the open field that surrounds the British military base again. Lawson was fatally struck by a bullet while attempting to cross the field and get to safety.


Filming began in January 1969 and lasted six months. Too late for heroes was mostly filmed in the Philippines .

The day of the first performance was February 5, 1971 in the FRG.


For the lexicon of international film it was a “hard-staged adventure film, which the doubts about heroism as well as the bloody events serve to create tension”.

Roger Greenspun of the New York Times stated that the film had actually intended to "portray war as an inconclusive system of deceptions," but undermine that intention itself and "instead content itself with portraying the usual jungle war". Variety called the film "a decent melodrama against the backdrop of World War II".

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. David Bishop: Starring Michael Caine . London 2003, ISBN 1-903111-57-9 , pp. 212ff.
  2. Bishop 2003, p. 214.
  3. See locations on , accessed on June 8, 2019.
  4. ^ Lexicon of International Films . Volume VZ, Hamburg 1995, p. 6668.
  5. Too late for heroes - line up to die. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed June 8, 2019 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  6. ^ Catholic Institute for Media Information (KIM) and Catholic Film Commission for Germany (ed.): Lexicon of international films. The complete range in cinema, television and on video . Volume VZ, Rowohlt, Hamburg 1995, ISBN 3-499-16357-8 , p. 6668.
  7. Roger Greenspun: 'Too Late the Hero,' Film of War in Pacific, Opens . In: The New York Times , May 21, 1970, accessed June 8, 2019.
  8. See Too Late the Hero . In: Variety , 1970, accessed June 8, 2019.