Blood Oath (film)
Blood Oath Australian DVD cover
|Directed by||Stephen Wallace|
|Produced by||Charles Waterstreet
|Written by||Denis Whitburn
Brian A. Williams
|Music by||David McHugh|
|Edited by||Nicholas Beauman|
|Distributed by||Roadshow Entertainment|
|Release date(s)|| 26 July 1990
26 July 1990
15 March 1991
|Running time||108 minutes|
|Box office||A$707,194 (Australia)|
Blood Oath is a 1990 Australian feature film, known in some countries as Prisoners of the Sun. The film is based on the real-life trial of Japanese soldiers for war crimes committed against Allied prisoners of war on the island of Ambon, in the Netherlands East Indies (Indonesia), such as the Laha massacre of 1942.
It was directed by Stephen Wallace and co-written by Denis Whitburn and Brian A. Williams. The cast included Bryan Brown, George Takei, Terry O'Quinn, John Bach, John Clarke, Deborah Kara Unger, John Polson, Nicholas Eadie, David Argue and Ray Barrett.
The film was the first film debut for both Russell Crowe and Jason Donovan, in minor roles. It was nominated for several AFI Awards in 1990, including "Best Film". It won the AFI Awards for "Best Achievement in Sound" and "Best Achievement in Costume Design".
- Bryan Brown as Captain Cooper
- George Takei as Vice-Admiral Baron Takahashi
- Terry O'Quinn as Major Beckett
- John Bach as Major Roberts
- Sokyu Fujita as Mr. Matsugae
- John Clarke as Sheedy
- Deborah Unger as Sister Littell
- John Polson as Private Jimmy Fenton
- Russell Crowe as Lt. Corbett
- Nicholas Eadie as Sgt. Keenan
- Jason Donovan as Private Talbot
- Toshi Shioya as Lt. Tanaka
- Ray Barrett as President of the Bench
The film was the idea of Brian Williams, who was the son of Captain John Williams, who had prosecuted Japanese officers in charge of the POW camp at Ambon during the war. He was impressed with the TV series The Last Bastion and approached Denis Whitburn, who had written it with David Williamson, and they wrote the script and produced together. Bryan Brown and Stephen Wallace then came on board the project (although at one point Geoff Murphy was also considered as director).
The movie was shot at the Village-Warner Film Studio on the Gold Coast.
Blood Oath grossed $707,194 at the box office in Australia. Stephen Wallace has said he thought the film would have been better had the writers been more accurate as the truth was more interesting.
The writers announced plans to follow up Blood Oath with a $20 million film about the Cowra breakout, Giants at Dawn, but this was not made.
- David Stratton, The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry, Pan MacMillan, 1990 p47-48
- Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office
- "Interview with Stephen Wallace", Signis, 21 November 1998 accessed 21 November 2012
- Kevin Sadlier, "JAPANESE BACK COWRA POW BREAKOUT FILM", Sun Herald, 31 March 1991 p7
- Prisoners of the Sun at the Internet Movie Database
- Blood Oath at the National Film and Sound Archive
- Blood Oath at Anything Oz or New Zealand Films site