During the Christmas season Angelina Jolie’s successful film, “Unbroken,” recorded admirable box office numbers. “Unbroken” has much good to say about the indomitable spirit of Louis Zamperini, a true story about a genuine WWII hero who overcame a plane crash at sea and 47 days adrift — followed by intolerable Japanese POW camps.
But now the rest of the story, as the late Paul Harvey was famous for saying. Although Laura Hillenbrand’s book, “Unbroken,” was the basis for Louis Zamperini’s movie, Jolie inexplicably left out the last three chapters. The Coen brothers, who wrote the screenplay, also excluded the most important part. As Zamperini writes in his own book, “Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In, Lessons from an Extraordinary Life, “ he admits he did not return from WWII an unbroken man. On the contrary, he was so broken by the war he succumbed to alcohol, crippling nightmares and the abuse of his wife.
Zamperini’s wife heard of a young evangelist by the name of Billy Graham who was holding meetings in LA. At one of those meetings, she gave her life to Christ and told Louis she was tearing up the divorce papers. This encouraged Zamperini to attend the meetings which he reluctantly did, and there he was genuinely converted to Christ. He left alcohol, his marriage was restored, and the vengeful nightmares about his Japanese POW camp nemesis, Watanabe, left him.
Zamperini remained faithful to his Lord until death on July 2, 2014.
Theodore H. Loy