Unbroken is a true story about the life of Louis Zamperini. A man whose life was so overwhelming, they didn’t even have time to tell it all within the 2 and half hour movie! Read on to find out about the film, the man, and the rest of the story…
The Unbroken movie directed by Angelina Jolie-Pitt is based on the Unbroken book by Laura Hildebrand which is based on the unbroken life of Olympic athlete and WWII vet Louis Zamperini.
The story in a nutshell (I’ll try to avoid spoilers): Zamperini is an Italian immigrant child that is frequently getting into trouble with bullies and his own tendency to steal things. His brother notices his getaway speed is lightning fast and encourages him to start running track. His skills grow and he competes in the 1936 Berlin Olympic games. As World War II breaks out, Zamperini joins up and serves as a bombardier. When his plane is shot up, he and his crew fly five hours and crash land at their airfield. On their next mission, they’re given a lemon of a plane which crashes into the ocean. After spending over 4o days floating on a raft at sea, he is picked up by the Japanese. He is held prisoner in POW camps where he is treated brutally but kept alive due to his status as a famous Olympian. He endures months of abuse targeted directly at him because of his fame and attitude. When the war ends he is sent home…
That’s the movie. It’s motivational and well made. For an actress, Jolie does a great job directing. The parts are well acted and you come to despise the Japanese officer known as The Bird. The spirit of this man suffering horrendous torture at the hands of a merciless abuser is awe inspiring.
But there is so much more to tell! In the words of Paul Harvey, “And now, the rest of the story…”
When Zamperini returns from the war he is very much broken. He suffered severely from post-traumatic stress disorder. He had nightmares every single night as his mind replayed the torture he withstood at the POW camp. To cope with the agony he was feeling, Zamperini turned to alcohol. He drank and drank to the point that his wife was ready to leave him. It was at this time in 1949 that a young preacher named Billy Graham brought his travelling revival service to Los Angeles. When Zamperini’s wife asked him to go, he reluctantly went as a last ditch effort to save his marriage but he was not pleased about it. As far as he was concerned, God was responsible for the pain and suffering he endured. On his second night there, during Billy Graham’s sermon about forgiveness, Zamperini became a Christian. As he prayed, he says he knew at that moment that God was helping him. It was then that he truly felt unbroken.
The results of that day changed his life. He felt no more bitterness toward the men that abused him in the POW camp and from that day forward he never had another nightmare about the events. His wife did not divorce him. He went back to Japan and was able to meet with most of his captors (except The Bird). He started a youth camp for troubled boys. He is partially credited along with a few other celebrities for bringing the Billy Graham crusade to national attention. He also ran a leg with the Olympic torch past his former POW camp in Japan at the start of the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, fulfilling a dream to run in the Japan Olympics he had had since they were cancelled in 1940.
His life was just too full to squeeze into a movie. He endured disturbing suffering as many other soldiers did (and still do) and was able to recover from it and find his peace and freedom in his faith. At the end of his life in 2014, he was truly unbroken.
Have you seen this movie? Did you find it inspiring? Did you think it was too preachy? Not preachy enough? Comment me!