Unbroken: Path to Redemption Movie Review


   Nicknamed Louie, Louis Zamperini and his family were Italian immigrants living in sunny Torrance, California. An incorrigible troublemaker as a kid, Louie was a magnet for getting into mischief. Serious mischief. 

   That changed when he began to run. Discovering an outstanding ability, he broke records and even ran in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
  When World War II broke out, he became a bombardier and while out on a mission, his plane crashed in the Pacific. Louie spent 47 days on a raft before being captured by the Japanese. He endured horrible tortures at the hands of brutal guards, but his spirit remained unbroken. 

   At the war’s end, he was liberated, returned home, and was reunited with his family. That’s where the movie Unbroken: Path to Redemption begins, though a series of newspaper clippings shown at the beginning of the movie gives us a recap of previous events.
  I think it’s an excellent movie, and here’s why. (Note: this review contains spoilers!) 

It’s a movie about the power of the gospel. 

   Though he was free and back home with his family, Louie realized his struggles were far from over. Every night, his sleep was haunted with terrifying nightmares of his time as a prisoner of war and most of all, of one particularly cruel guard called the Bird. Louie turned to alcohol in an attempt to find relief. 

   There were moments of happiness. He married Cynthia and they had a daughter who was Louie’s pride and joy. But the more he tried to find relief in drinking, things only got worse. He was running out of money, and his life was a mess. The movie powerfully portrays both the happy times with his family and the darkness and despair he experienced. 

   When he was on the raft, Louie had told God, “If You’ll save me, I will serve You forever.” He’d tried to forget that promise, though. Convinced that God was to blame for his troubles, Louie ran from the only One who could save him, instead drinking and making plans to kill the Japanese guard who had so cruelly abused him. 

   Louie’s life completely and utterly changed when he gave his life to Christ. I’ll refrain from giving too many particulars so as not to completely spoil it if you’re not familiar with the story. But at its core, this is a movie about how Christ changes a life. Where once there was darkness, now there is light. Hate was replaced with forgiveness, despair with hope. 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

2 Corinthians 5:17

It also includes some other great themes. 

   Besides the theme of the transforming power of the gospel, one of the other great themes I enjoyed in this movie is the love of family. We see Louie’s parents and siblings’ love and loyalty in the movie. And we especially see his brother Pete’s love for Louie. He’s not afraid to tell Louie the truth and what he knows is best for him even when he doesn’t want to hear it, and is there for him through his struggles. We also see a great example of real love in Louie’s wife Cynthia. After giving her life to Christ, Cynthia sticks by Louie, but she won’t just let him continue down his destructive path. She prays for him, speaks truth to him, and urges him to attend the evangelistic meetings that changed her life. 

It’s kept close to the true story. 

   While a few details are changed or added, the overall story is kept very close to the true story. And that’s part of what I think makes this movie so powerful--it really happened. 

Final Thoughts

   I’d highly recommend this movie, however there are a few content warnings you should be aware of. Louie’s nightmares are a bit, well, scary. Louie and Cynthia kiss a few times (both before and after they’re married), there are a couple of scenes where we see girls in two-piece bathing suits (1940s style), and one or two instances of someone using a mild swear word. And of course we see Louie get drunk, although it’s clearly portrayed as a bad thing and after his conversion we see Louie pour the alcohol down the drain. 

   Even though there are a few things I would have left out or handled a bit differently, I still give this movie 5 out of 5 stars for a powerful portrayal of the true story of how Louis Zamperini’s life was transformed by the gospel of Christ. 


  1. This sounds like a very interesting movie! I love movies that tell inspiring true stories. Thanks for the recommendation!


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