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Blood Oath (1990)

Shortly after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbour in World War II, Japanese troops captured the Australian garrison on the little-known Dutch East Indies island of Ambon, 650 km north-west of Darwin.

The Japanese established a Prisoner of War camp there which would be the scene of atrocities and genocide. Six hundred Australians entered Ambon Island POW camp; three years later, one hundred and twenty were barely left alive.

After the war, the Australian Army held a war crimes trial on the island. Blood Oath is the story of that incredible trial, which herded together the 91 Japanese officers and men who had controlled and run the POW camp.

Bryan Brown plays the prosecuting Australian Army lawyer, Captain Robert Cooper – based on a real-life Australian military lawyer named Captain John Williams, who tried the Japanese at Ambon, and whose son, Brian, wrote the initial script for the film.

40% of the film is set in the courtroom. The courtroom itself was a reconstruction inside the Warner Studios in Queensland (Australia), built from old photographs from Captain Williams’ files.

Baron Takahashi (George Takei) was the commander of the camp but washes his hands of the trial, considering himself above it all. He is an aristocrat and a dilettante and affects the fashionable aspect of being an English gentleman who loves medals and costumes more than the military.

This is not a film for the faint of heart. The storyline (often presented in flashback) is tense and intense, and the final scenes leave us with much to ponder. It’s a wrenching portrait of a terrible time in our history.

Released in some markets as Prisoners Of The Sun.

Captain Robert Cooper
Bryan Brown
Vice-Admiral Baron Takahashi
George Takei
Major Beckett
Terry O’Quinn
Major Roberts
John Bach
Lt. Hideo Tanaka
Toshi Shioya
John Clarke
Sister Littell
Deborah Unger
Private Jimmy Fenton
John Polson
Lt. Corbett
Russell Crowe
Sgt. Keenan
Nicholas Eadie
Private Jim Talbot
Jason Donovan
Captain Ikeuchi
Tetsu Watanabe
Mr Matsugae
Sôkyû Fujita
President of the Bench
Ray Barrett
Lt. Noburo Kamura
Kazuhiro Muroyama

Stephen Wallace