Independent Lens: Red White Black & Blue (2006)


Bill Jones and Andy Petrus in front of the Japanese monument on Attu. (photo by Tom Putnam)
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Date Added: 12 years ago.

Documentary Description

In a secret battle that cost thousands of lives but was never revealed to the American public, the Japanese army invaded Alaska in June 1942. Sixty years later, two veterans embark on an intense and emotional journey, returning to their former battlefield. "My job was to kill Japanese, and that's what I did." Bill Jones and Andy Petrus are the two toughest 85-year-olds you've ever met. Together, these life-long friends fought 3,000 Japanese in a secret Alaskan invasion during World War II. Now, 60 years later, these two forgotten heroes embark on an intense and emotional journey back to the remote Aleutian island of Attu, where they relive the brutal 19-day battle that the American government kept secret. As Bill and Andy retrace their steps over this desolate, untouched battlefield -- a living museum littered with crashed airplanes, collapsing buildings, and unexploded bombs -- the line between past and present begins to blur and long-forgotten memories resurface with moving force.

Red White Black & Blue isn’t just one soldier’s story -- it is the story of every solider who faces an enemy he does not understand and returns home with scars that are slow to heal. Walk through one of the bloodiest battles of World War II with the soldiers who lived it. Through their eyes you'll experience the complicated, and sometimes contradictory, mindset of a nation at war and what it really means to be an American hero. Red White Black & Blue is the first feature-length documentary to tell the story of the Battle of Attu, one of the bloodiest battles of World War II and the only invasion of the United States since the War of 1812.



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