I had heard about the movie, due out at Christmas, for several months. It was during the Christmas-New Year’s week off when I had the opportunity to see “Unbroken” at the theater.
We had all heard the amazing story of the life and adventures of Louis Zamperino. As I write this, over a month later, I see that the movie is still showing in theaters, which makes a statement of its own.
I won’t attempt to add what’s already been written about the sheer power and force of this remarkable movie. If you didn’t know, the book “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption” was written by Laura Hillenbrand, and upon its publication in 2010, spent more than 180 weeks on the New York Times bestseller hardcover list, which has only been done by three other non-fiction titles.
When the movie finished, the one word I heard from our group was a breathless, “Wow.” It took a moment to rise from our seats, because this was one of those rare movies which you “experience,” and, just watch, stunned, amazed, unable to move during or immediately after. What you see on the screen just, well, “holds” you, silently, taking in every detail, every moment. In our group was a pilot, who spoke these two sentences as we sat there, trying to regain our senses: “You really felt like you were inside that airplane,” and “That’s the best movie I’ve seen in a long time.”
The performances and direction were superb, and you really felt like you were there … inside that airplane, inside that raft, and … inside that prison … I have to admit that there was one moment, when I felt I was inside that raft with them, that I literally almost jumped out of my seat, but I spent most of the movie leaning back, just staring … often in unbelief at what I was witnessing … what I was seeing … what I was experiencing …
It is definitely not to be seen by children, as they would not understand the cruelty … but, then, neither can I … but … boy, do we ever need to see more heroes portrayed on the screen. By that, I mean real heroes.
The “Survival, Resilience, and Redemption” from the book title is a great description. As we exited the screening room, and as I stood in the darkened hallway, as we waited for the ladies to return, I was asked a single question from a gentleman who was in our party:
“Would you have forgiven them?” That was it … just a single question, but it carried the weight of the entire message of the movie.
Would I have forgiven them? Could I have forgiven them? How could Mr. Zamperino forgive them? I knew the answer to that already, but it was only a day or so ago when I discovered what “had happened” to Louis Zamperino … something so transforming that he would go back to Japan … just to forgive and witness to his former captors … What I didn’t know was “When did this happen? What were the circumstances?
I had always wanted to include a biography of Louis Zamperino with this writing, but I found something I thought was even better, and I wanted to share that with you.
I found this video from CBN, which features “The Rest of the Story” in Mr. Zamperino’s own words, and I’d like to share that with you now:
Now, here is a rare video from The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, taken from a crusade in 1958, in which Dr. Graham introduces Louis Zamperino, who gives his testimony from the Billy Graham pulpit:
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