All About History

Hacksaw Ridge

What liberties did Hollywood take with the surprising story of a pacifist medic serving in Japan?


Director Starring Country

Mel Gibson Teresa Palmer Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthingto­n, Luke Bracey, United States, Australia 2016 Hacksaw Ridge is based on the true story of Desmond Doss, a combat medic in the

United States Army and the only conscienti­ous objector to receive a Medal of Honor during World War II. He saved 75 men during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.


In the film, Doss meets Dorothy, his future wife, at the hospital where she works as a nurse before World War II. However, this is inaccurate as Dorothy didn’t actually become a nurse until after the war and the couple originally met in church. In reality, Doss did refuse to use a gun as he didn’t want to take a human life. He was called a coward by his fellow soldiers, who frequently insulted and made fun of him. Having said that, the main bully in the movie, Smitty, is a fictional character. The Americans did use cargo nets to help them climb Hacksaw Ridge, and Doss was one of the men to hang them, although this isn’t shown in the film. The on-screen ridge was also a lot taller than the real-life Maeda Escarpment they had to climb. Verdict The final assault at the ridge was delayed so that Doss could read his Bible, as depicted in the film. This is because the assault took place on a Saturday, the day of Sabbath, which is sacred to Seventhday Adventists like Doss as they usually refrain from secular work.

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With minor inaccuraci­es, this gory heroic tale tugs at the heartstrin­gs
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