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71 Into the Fire (2010)

71 Into the Fire is a 2010 South Korean war film written by Lee Man-Hee and directed by Lee Jae-han. The film was made in commemoration of those who fought during the Korean War, to raise awareness of the existence and importance of the student-soldiers during that period.

The film is based on a true story of a group of 71 undertrained and undergunned student-soldiers of South Korea during the Korean War, who were mostly killed on August 11, 1950, during the Battle of P’ohang-dong. For 11 hours, they defended P’ohang-dong girls’ middle school, a strategic point for safeguarding the Nakdong River, from an attack by overwhelming North Korean forces. These 71 teenagers, most of whom had never shot a gun before, managed to hold out against the advancing North Korean army for 11 hours. Their heroic defense of the area was actually a turning point in the Korean War. 71: Into the Fire tells the story of these student-soldiers over the course of that fateful day.

Oh Jang-beom is forced into becoming the leader of the student-soldier unit, simply because he is one of only three of the students who has combat experience (his combat experience was ammunition running between stations – not actual fighting). The rest of the student-soldiers have not even fired a weapon – that’s how little training these young men had. This lack of experience and training makes the story even more amazing and inspiring.

71 Into the Fire 2010

71 Into the Fire 2010

100,000 South Korean students volunteered to fight in the war. This film was made as a commemoration of their sacrifices and was released during the 60th anniversary of the Korean War.

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