Once Were Enemies (2013) Movie Script

[intense burst of jingly music]
[gently lapping waves]
[serene music]
[ominous music]
[machine gun fire]
[machine gun fire]
- No place on this island,
there was actually,
that wasn't a front.
[whooshing flame]
[tense music]
- [Veteran] Sixty years
ago I probably thought
I'd never want to
see this place again.
[tense music]
- The least I can
say is rest in peace.
[tense music]
- [Historian] We had
two of the best units
fighting against each other.
[machine gun fire]
- We killed 52
Japanese soldiers.
This sounds kind
of cold blooded,
but it's one of the best
experiences I had on the island.
- [Veteran] Thank
god for the peace.
[reverent music]
- Came here when
I was very young,
and started exploring,
and I've spent many hours
in the Marine Corp archives
studying, researching
and exploring the island
in a battle survey.
So this is really neat to have
the opportunity to be here
with a couple of veterans
who actually fought here.
[reverent music]
Bill Cumbaa was an
officer, a platoon leader,
in the 7th Marines.
He lasted an entire battle.
And very rare for a
platoon leader to last
without getting hit.
His perspective of the battle
is different from Lee Smith's.
The thing that's
really neat about this
is Lee Smith's tank is
still on the island.
It'll be neat to see him climb
in that tank after 60 years.
[faint public address
- It's fantastic!
Who would have
thought 60 years ago
I probably thought I'd never
want to see this place again.
And now I'm so excited about
coming back I can hardly wait.
- [Eric] A little bit
different [laughing].
- [Lee] Very very different.
- [Eric] A little grown up.
A little more greenery
than you remember, huh?
- Back in the, not, not just
a little bit, a lot more.
[booming artillery fire]
Actually the bombardment
just took the,
the forestry right off.
- [Eric] You can see remnants.
- [Lee] The Japanese docks.
- [Eric] One, two and three.
- What is it?
- The Land of Enchantment?
- The Land of
Enchantment, right.
Peleliu's the Land
of Enchantment.
- Don't you see this beach
looks so much different today,
60 years later.
- [Bill] A whole lot better.
- [Lee] Oh, a lot better.
[machine gun fire]
- One of the main
things that I remember
is a particular cave
that we were assigned,
actually we were assigned
to take a certain ridge,
and by the time we worked
our way up to the ridge,
it was getting dark, and
I knew it would be suicide
if we tried to climb that ridge.
And we dug foxholes
along East Road.
[machine gun fire]
We started getting fire
from the top of the ridge.
Japs were all over the ridge,
just firing point blank at us.
And if we exposed ourself
the least bit, we got hit.
[machine gun fire]
A Japanese soldier
had been in a foxhole
right by the side of the road.
He would jump up and
throw himself on the
track of the tank,
and pull the pin
on his explosives
and blow himself to
kingdom come of course,
and also disable the tank.
In the meantime we
were hunkered down,
you know, couldn't
expose a finger.
Finally the third tank
did make it to us, and I
said "It might be a good idea
"to put a few shots
of the 75mm cannon
"into the mouth of the cave."
And we killed 52
Japanese soldiers
running out of that cave.
And there was actually a mound
of dead Japanese soldiers--
- Right on top of the other.
- One on top of the other.
This sounds kind
of cold blooded,
but it's one of the best
experiences I had on the island
because as you know, on the
type warfare we were having
on Peleliu, you
had to dig 'em out,
the enemy out one at a time.
[gently lapping waves]
- [Eric] See that one shell
hit, that's probably from the
75 right there.
- It hit there.
- Yeah I imagine
so, it, probably,
aimed a little high, and...
Right now there's the
mouth of the cave.
- [Bill] Right there.
[tense music]
[whooshing flame]
- See it was torched,
you can see the color,
it looks kind of blackened.
- Oh yeah.
- Yes.
- [Eric] From the fire.
I'm gonna help you
down, you guys.
- Oh good.
- [Eric] So let
me get down first.
- Of course, they were
running out of here
just a few, just
where we passed by.
- [Eric] Well you can tell
just looking in here Bill,
there's all kinds,
- Yeah.
- everything's torched.
- [Bill] Gracious alive.
- [Eric] There you
go, step, good, good.
Okay, good job.
- [Lee] Okay, here you go.
- [Eric] Okay, oop, [chuckling],
got you, I got you.
- Are you sure?
- [Eric] Get your
bearings, right there.
- [Lee] Okay.
- [Eric] Look at that,
see how it's scorched?
See the metal scorched?
Just amazing.
- What you're seeing...
- Look at the tabi,
look at the tabi here,
it's all scorched black,
the Japanese shoe.
- Yeah.
- Oh yeah, look at that.
- [Eric] I guess this
cave burned for two days,
according to the report,
the official reports.
- [Lee] You know this is
where the big toe was,
and then the rest of it--
- You got it, yup,
exactly, that's right.
Now come and take
a look over here.
I'll kind of support you so
you don't slip on the rock.
This is where the cave goes
completely through the ridge.
It's actually on
a staggered level.
Now that's a good
drop, 40 feet at least.
See it going down there.
- Man look at it.
- [Lee] Yeah, some kind of
opening where it goes on.
- [Bill] I wonder
how many square feet
there is in this thing.
It would hold a
bunch of ammunition.
- Oh man.
- Or anything else.
- This and that, look at that.
- [Eric] I found
this key in one of
the crevices of the cave here.
- Well I'm satisfied
there were people
actually living in here.
- [Lee] Oh yeah.
- [Eric] This is evidence
that the cave cooked off.
You can see it, 20mm
projectile that exploded.
- Back in '44, a
few days afterward,
they said that this smoked
and exploded for 48 hours,
after we fired the
75 millimeters.
- That's confirmation
right there.
- And that is really.
- I mean look at the
black timbers in here
and the walls, that means
this thing was smoking.
But over here you can
actually see a bomb,
the remains of
one that exploded.
So perhaps this is a
ammunition storage cave,
and that's why they ran
out of here so fast.
- That certainly explains
why they were coming out
as fast as they could
possibly make it.
- You have a good idea where
he fought in the ridges?
- Oyama.
- Oyama.
Which is the Japanese term
for the southern ridges.
Oh, looks, uh, okay...
[speaking foreign language]
Oh, he was an officer.
It shows his rank as an officer.
He was in the last
command post cave.
This color bearer, was
with the Colonel Nakagawa.
He would have destroyed the
regimental colors on Peleliu
in the last command post cave.
That's where he probably died.
That picture I have at home.
Picture of Colonel Nakagawa
and his color bearer.
And those were the
ones who were killed
in the last command post cave.
[distant chirping bird]
This is overwhelming,
it blows my mind.
[poignant music]
- This is all the
caves on Peleliu.
[speaking foreign language]
All these are caves,
all the, okay?
Now the last command post cave,
here's a picture of it.
Colonel Nakagawa's last
command post cave.
[speaking foreign language]
A communication cave,
and this is where
Colonel Nakagawa shot himself.
[speaking foreign language]
His brother was
definitely part of the
elite Japanese Army, one
of the best regiments.
You should be very proud
that he fought with
the best of the best,
and went up against
the best marine regiment,
the 1st Marine Division.
So you had two of the best units
fighting against each other.
Tell him I'd be honored
to take him to the cave.
- Now this is a
great day because
we can take him back to the cave
and we can take Mr. Sushita
back to his cave, too.
[poignant string music]
Here's an archival
picture taken in 1944
right after the battle.
And this is the last pocket
of Japanese resistance.
It's no easy task,
like Bodman was saying,
because it's very
rugged terrain.
So of course they held
out in all the caves
that lined the bases of
the ridges and sometimes
at the top of the ridges.
And it shows the
valley, it's denuded,
there's no vegetation,
it's all blasted clean.
And here it is, uh,
today, and you can see
it's very disorienting,
there's a lot of jungle growth.
[speaking foreign language]
The valley we're
entering is called
Death Valley by the Americans.
[speaking foreign language]
This is a Japanese memorial,
at the entrance to the valley.
A valley that the
Japanese heavily defended,
it was their last
stand, was right here,
and the last command post
was deep in this valley.
[singing bird]
Americans had a very tough
time getting through here.
They couldn't because
of stiff resistance.
You can see some of the
artifacts they've found
around the caves in this area,
there's many caves that
are lining the valley here.
- [Eric] It's very slippery.
[chattering in foreign language]
Be careful of the
rocks and the roots.
[distant droning aircraft]
- [Eric] This is a napalm bomb.
Jelly-gasoline, dropped
from the airplanes.
So this is what they burned
the foliage and caves...
- [Eric] A Japanese cave.
[gasps of awe]
[machine gun fire]
[booming cannon fire]
[heavy breathing]
- Last command post.
[speaking foreign language]
This was the communication
cave, where the last message
was transmitted to
Koror, a Sakura Sakura.
[wooden drumbeat]
Perhaps one of these
canteens is his brothers?
[speaking foreign language]
[wooden drumbeat]
[gently lapping waves]
[suspenseful music]
- [Lee] Oh, [mumbling].
[speaking foreign language]
- A concussion grenade.
A Japanese hand grenade.
[rattling metal]
[speaking foreign language]
This is quite an honor,
it's amazing, it's...
Never dreamt this would happen,
to be in here in the same cave
that his brother
probably died in.
[speaking foreign language]
Japanese radio set.
[speaking foreign language]
There were bones
found in this cave and
the adjacent cave
that you were just in.
Both caves had remains.
It's a, it looks like a
toe, toe, from the toe.
[speaking foreign language]
- I guess it's trite to say it,
but the serenity is
just overwhelming.
[distant surf]
[lapping waves]
Now if you see where those
breakers are out there,
about halfway the distance
between us and them,
is when the fire first
started being laid out,
it was just a steady line,
and then we'd just
keep moving forward,
and getting those that
where in ahead of 'em.
[booming artillery fire]
And the ships stayed
18,000 yards offshore
to get away from the
Japanese artillery.
[machine gun fire]
- [Bill] Those that
were lucky enough to be
ahead of the firepower
got on the shore,
and established a beachhead.
- And here's a
picture of the sand,
this is right where
we're standing.
Of course that point
would be over there.
Burning amphibian tractors
on the shoals right here,
and of course, marines
pinned down right here,
probably crawling to safety,
to get off the beach,
trying to get off the beach.
And you can just
imagine the gunfire.
[machine guns firing]
- The noise, was tremendous
because the height of the
fighting was in progress.
I mean it was war.
I frankly didn't know how I
was going to handle combat.
And then when I came
in there were several
dead marines that I had to
step over to get on shore.
[machine gun fire]
It was strange to say maybe,
but that gave me a
feeling of confidence.
After I got past those poor
marines that didn't make it,
I said, "Well I can
handle what ever's ahead."
Wouldn't it be great,
if everybody that
had landed that day
or tried to land that day
could be standing here with us?
- Yes.
- Instead of the
- What an honor that be to
- two of us.
- all, yes.
- [Bill] Thank
god for the peace.
[gently lapping waves]
- Let's see...
- The least I can
say is rest in peace.
- When I think of the rich
lives that you and I lead,
were privileged to have,
having survived the war,
and to think of the
guys we left behind
that never had a
chance, they died.
The very prime,
- Yeah.
- [sobbing] of life.
[chirping birds]
[gently lapping waves]
- The opportunity
that came that,
for the 60th anniversary
here on the island,
of the landing, that I could
come back and see my tank.
- Yeah.
- Just hope that, uh,
it's still good shape.
[poignant music]
- This is the moment
you've been waiting for,
60 years, to see your
tank, and now we're here.
- [Lee] Can't hardly wait.
Watch a log here.
- Watch your step you guys,
a lot of twigs,
branches and coral.
Have a look at this!
That is one big cannon.
That's a 13mm right there.
Anti-aircraft cannon.
They had a top clip, they
put a clip in the top--
- [Lee] Yeah and you
see, brass is still here.
- This sucker is still loaded!
What happened?
It didn't look like
it didn't eject.
- [Lee] No that means
failed on an automatic
and maybe the oper,
hand operator.
- The Japanese emplaced
these on the beaches,
this is what they
shot at boats with.
There's a couple of them on
White Beach still emplaced.
[machine gun fire]
This is the ribs here
of the air cooled.
This is a flash suppressor,
so when the Japanese
fired the gun
the Americans couldn't
see the flash.
This whole area was a
Japanese defensive position,
it had three cannons and
several anti-aircraft guns.
[machine gun fire]
So the mount was right here,
and it must have taken a hit,
because this is bent and
the gun's over here now.
Either someone moved it or
it was blown over there.
[distant birds singing]
- [Bill] Hold on to me...
[tense music]
[wooden drumbeat]
[wooden drumbeat]
- [Eric] I got a visual
on Lady Luck you guys!
Careful, watch your
step, loose rocks.
- Yeah I can see the rear of it!
- Be careful, come on this way.
See, well I don't
see where I see D12
where I scraped it off,
maybe it's on the other side.
- It, it, it's a, I
can see part of it.
- Well, let's go
on the other side,
- Very little bit left.
- a machine gun tripod it
looks like, 30 caliber.
- That's something,
ain't this amazing!
This thing's still,
this-this, still this good,
after so long!
[distant animal cries]
- [Eric] Now the valves--
- [Lee] Well the engine's out,
the transmissions are all in it,
see the floor's all rusted out.
[chirping birds]
The mortar that did the damage
that caused all this thing,
it landed in this position
and the tank just raised up,
in the explosion, and the
superstructure underneath,
for the gun emplacement,
was just blown away.
And we slid forward
and down, and right...
- Probably well camouflaged.
- [Lee] Oh yes, probably
a foot or more of...
- Dirt on top of it,
to, to, conceal what it was.
- Yeah [chuckling].
- How did you happen
to find this, Eric?
- Just hiking around, I
came to the tank, and, uh,
I tried to research
it for many years,
and I took a machete and I
started scraping the turret
and revealed D12, which
was painted up there,
and so I knew which tank it was.
- Looking good.
[tense music]
D is Dog Company, D Company.
[rumbling and rattling]
- 60 years later, this
is quite a sizable jungle
that we're in and
some huge trees.
Do you remember,
had all, had all
of this growth been leveled
by the pre-invasion bombardment?
- And when you look at these
trees, where'd they come from?
They weren't here then!
- Conceivably, you
could have run over some
fairly good size, treelets
anyway, [laughing].
- Well, you're
looking at a vehicle
that when it's completed
is 31-foot long,
10-foot one inch wide,
and 10-foot one inch high.
That's a good size
piece of material,
especially if it
was coming at you.
It'd scare the living
daylights out of you.
[rumbling and splashing]
Even our own troops.
[rumbling and rattling]
But you see how thin that
is, you could actually,
30 caliber shoot
through the pontoons
and into the inside.
We didn't have much armor
for the side, but the front.
[whooshing rockets]
- Looks like you left it
in first gear there, Lee.
[laughing] I'm just kidding,
I don't now anything
about these levers, but,
your levers are right here,
where you would
have drove the tank.
[speaking foreign language]
[tense music]
- There's the slot
if I can get it open.
It's all rusted shot.
And you can look out of that
slot when you're driving,
and when you lose the
periscope you can use that.
I would raise that
up and I could either
throw a grenade out through that
or use my Thompson
submachine gun
for something in front of me.
That's the tow hitch,
and when I knock a tree
down I hit it right there.
[rumbling and clattering]
It's amazing.
You did your job well, Lady.
You're still looking good,
I don't care what
anybody else says.
To me you're great.
- [Eric] And a shell casing.
[uplifting music]
[tense music]
[tense music]
[distant bird calls]
[tense music]
[gently lapping waves]
- I understand
that maybe a couple
of the Japanese soldiers
who were on Peleliu
are going to be here.
I'm looking forward to
meeting with these people
and probably having
an interpretor,
that we can actually
talk to them,
but just patting
them on the back
and smiling, that
says a lot in itself.
- And remember, you
got to bow, remember?
- Oh, oh yes,
- Oh yes, we got to bow.
- I forgot about that.
[speaking foreign language]
- My name is
[all greet and chatter]
[nervous laughter]
- I'm Bill.
- I'm Bill.
- Bill.
- Bill, I'm Bill.
[speaking foreign language]
- I'm Bill.
A great, a great moment.
- Lee!
I'm Lee.
[speaking foreign language]
[chatter and laughter]
We, we've been
waiting to meet you.
[speaking foreign language]
- I was looking for
this moment, 10 times,
more than you guys!
[speaking foreign language]
This is, uh, this was him.
- [Lee] Oh really?
- [Interpretor] And this is
Semika, Commander and General.
[speaking foreign language]
- When you were down
in the cave, and we
were dropping bombs
from planes,
[droning aircraft]
[whistling bombs and explosions]
shooting these heavy
guns from the ships,
[booming artillery fire]
did it bother you
down in the cave?
- [Lee] What is that?
- Ahhh!
[speaking foreign language]
- [Lee] The little oblong?
- [Lee] Big gun?
[speaking foreign language]
- Jungle, so you
must walk little bit.
But I can walk,
can you go with me?
- I can, I can walk!
- If you go slow,
if you go slow.
- I'm just a kid!
I'm just a kid, now
you, you're 84, I'm 83!
[grunting with effort]
- Hey!
- Look at that work!
[speaking foreign language]
- [Lee] Yes.
- Yeah that's a mammoth.
[speaking foreign language]
- [Lee] Man.
I would have brought
[mumbling], Lord here I come.
- When you think of
this fortification here,
and to think on
this small island,
there are hundreds and hundreds,
maybe not just like it,
but just as formidable,
it's incredible.
[whooshing flames]
- You know, if we get
permission from the government,
that the president
and the governor,
to open up a cave, would
you be ready to do it?
- I hope it works out that way.
- There's a lot of sealed
caves on the island,
that, they've never opened one.
Now it seems like we have
permission to do such,
and they have over 9000
Japanese missing in action here.
Several of them were
sealed in the caves.
We'll go up right in
here, this is the draw.
Okay watch out for those
mimosa thorns you guys.
Don't forget they shelled this
area for almost three months.
[booming artillery fire]
So, just watch where you step.
I'll point out any
ordnance I see.
Especially mortar rounds, so...
Watch your step
it's very slippery.
- [Crewman] That's a lamp.
- Huh?
- Lamp.
- Lamp?
- Yeah, camp lamp like this.
- Good eyes Godwin!
Here we got a 60mm mortar round
and a live Japanese
hand grenade.
This one still
has the pin in it.
Look at the pin, right there.
60mm, these are all over
the place, everywhere.
Oh you guys, come here come
here come here, look at this!
Part of the, look at
this, part of the wreckage
of that plane that was
shot down over the ridges.
The wings right on the other
side of the ridge here.
[droning aircraft]
[heavy machine gun fire]
[chirping birds]
Throughout the valley here
is wreckage of the plane.
There's pieces everywhere.
We can find the exact aircraft
and the crew members
who were on this plane.
They were all killed of course.
I got 16956, this is
huge find, a huge find!
This is a 30-caliber
machine gun ammunition case.
Yeah, okay, ammunition 30.
So this is machine gun,
used all over the place,
but this one's in
really good shape.
Has its lid on, it's
in fantastic condition,
considering it's been almost
60 years, almost to the day.
Here's a helmet in
between the draw here,
American helmet,
obviously a casualty.
A lot of Americans
were shot, machine gun,
right through the valley.
This is a trap in here.
[machine gun fire]
But as they descended this
hill to assault this ridge,
this is Brother number
one, the Japanese laid down
a murderous crossfire
right here you guys.
- [Crewman] Oh you can just
- Right through here, and
- look at the terrain, this
is one...
- they forced the Americans
back up this ridge.
The horrific
casualties right here.
[machine gun fire]
Guys this cave right here,
obviously served as a
machine gun position.
I could tell by the way
the coral's stacked up here
there's a deep cave,
and my goodness,
that field of fire was
right down the draw.
No doubt, right here and
right here were positions.
Very well protected.
Now here's the cave you guys.
Now this one I'd
really love to open.
Could be a time capsule.
[poignant music]
The cave's right over here.
How you guys doing?
All right.
So this is a sealed cave, right,
adjacent to the
pillbox, or casement.
This served as a shelter cave
for this Japanese gun crew.
- It looked like every
time we would look up there
there would be
another piece of fire,
another location of fire
coming back at us, so,
[machine gun fire]
it wasn't even a safe
point then, to be,
because like, like you know,
there's no place on this island
there was actually
that wasn't a front.
- [Soldier] Come on get up!
[machine gun fire]
Come on, you're all right!
[machine gun fire]
[tense music]
[tense music]
[whooshing flames]
- [Soldier] Fire in the hole!
- [Eric] This is the cave,
and let's get started.
You have to be very careful
of live ordnance here.
I think if we clear
initially the top soil,
just be careful
what we're doing.
- [Crewman] Stones or roots?
- [Digger] Yeah, roots.
- [Crewman] Roots?
[speaking foreign language]
- [Godwin] There are bones
in there, skulls in there.
[tense music]
[tense music]
[tense music]
- [Eric] We got,
uh, we got bones.
- [Crewman] What
do you think Eric?
- Oh I see Japanese
helmets, part of a skull,
a bayonet, a bayonet
scabbard, mess tins,
tins of food, I count
three helmets down here.
Ammunition, two hand grenades
with the pins still in them,
and a gas mask canisters
and of course human remains.
Just a time capsule of
September 15th, 1944.
I feel like I'm in a tomb.
[tense music]
I got to get out of there guys.
It's a tomb, I don't
feel right in there.
[heavy breathing]
I'll take one last picture.
Oh my god.
[booming artillery fire]
[booming artillery fire]
- Nobody can question
that the Japanese
were experts at
defensive warfare,
there's no question about it.
This is a formidable,
formidable position,
- Tough problem
position, I tell 'ya.
- And I think we
could put some more of
our biggest stuff on this,
it wouldn't have taken it out.
[poignant music]
[laughter and chatter]
[speaking foreign language]
[speaking foreign language]
[reverent music]
[chirping birds]
[distant animal calls]
[reverent music]
[intense burst of jingly music]