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Movie Analysis: “Hacksaw Ridge”


Hacksaw Ridge is the story of a Seventh Day Adventist infantryman, Desmond Doss, who refuses to carry any weapon as he serves in the United States Army. He enlists as a combat medic after the Pearl Harbor attack. His infantry is supposed to ascend the Maeda Escarpment which the soldiers called Hacksaw Ridge. The enemy launches an attack the next day and forces the American soldiers off the escarpment. Doss hears the cries of the injured soldiers and returns to the battlefield to aid them. He carries the soldiers to the edge of the cliff and lowers them down one at a time. He is awarded the Medal of Honor for the rescue of the 75 soldiers (“Hacksaw Ridge”). The movie is a perfect example of the external and internal conflicts that everyone faces. It demonstrates the importance of faith in human life and how it influences the actions of humans. The movie also incorporates allusion to the biblical tales, as its theme bears a heavy semblance to them.

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Life is a complex process consisting of numerous ups and downs. The unpredictable nature of life means that a significant number of events are unplanned and can never be mitigated by the person affected. Encountering these new events each day probes the person affected to respond to the problem. The response depends on the circumstances surrounding the person at that particular point in time. Conflict occurs when there is a failure of resolution of the problem (Tiffany). The individual fails to decide on which course of action to take. This results in internal feelings of distress, anxiety, depression, or even aggression. Depression and aggression mainly develop when the task seems insurmountable. These are the wrong ways of handling any conflict. In the movie, Desmond responds to every conflict in a coolly, assured manner. When Pearl Harbor is attacked, he does not join the Army to seek revenge. He instead enlists to provide medical support for his fellow countrymen. It is his belief in ensuring the preservation of life that drives him to the battlefield. Internal conflicts eventually manifest externally. Doss is a prime case of how a consistent set of beliefs can provide comfort when faced with challenges and the need for consistency. These beliefs can be used regularly for solving any issues. You do not need to change your winning formula even when faced with greater odds. If all these are observed, conflict/ war can be easily avoided/ won. Through the resolution of his internal conflicts, he inspires the soldiers to have the strength to face the current external conflict.

Faith is almost quintessential in every human’s life. The mystery of the origin of life is almost always attributed to a supernatural power in the different societies present in the world. Religion has been the human response to creating an explanation for their existence. The top hierarchy of humans compared to the other species as always led to the questioning of their purpose. Purpose cannot be random hence it is assigned by a powerful being. As people are raised right from childhood and told these beliefs, they usually become a dominant feature of their adulthood. The lessons learned become their guiding principles throughout their lives. Few people might change their beliefs during their lives, emphasizing the firm foundations of religious beliefs. The beliefs are usually unshakable even with limited physical evidence. Doss’ family is Adventist. Adventists by the nature of their denomination are very observant of their faith. When his brother almost dies from playfighting, the commandment ‘Thou shall not kill’ becomes a mantra to him. This is a sacred oath which he vows not to break as it designates all human life as sacred, enemy, or friend. His religious upbringing and his close shaves with violence solidify this decision. When he was young, he once held a gun to his drunken father who was threatening his mother. This belief is further reinforced when he almost shoots his drunken father who was threatening his mother. His aversion to weapons implies he believes that the handling of weapons holds an almost seductive power that prompts the holder to use them. To avoid falling into temptation, he vows never to hold a weapon. His belief against firearms bears a similarity to the passages in the Bible that tell sinners to cut out whatever parts that makes them sin. This further stresses his faith and belief in the Bible, the Word of God.

The movie bears an allusion to the Biblical tales especially those of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Doss sends himself to war without any regard for himself to ensure that his countrymen are safe and receive medical treatment in the combat zones. This is similar to Jesus’ coming to save the world. He held little regard for His life knowing he would be killed by the same people that he was trying to save. During His life, Jesus is mocked and castigated by the community. However, he sticks to his path, even with the full knowledge of His impending crucifixion. These stories both bear selfless protagonist who has already defined their roles in life. Desmond’s persistence of his beliefs can be correlated with various stories in the Bible. For instance, in the tale of Job, he is subjected to a lot of trials but fails to buckle under the pressure (“Job Is Faithful to God”). Doss is beaten by his fellow soldiers, he is almost jailed, and he runs to the frontline and still refuses to carry a weapon. The stories are similar in the strength of their main characters and their will even in the greatest of challenges. Furthermore, in the movies, when Desmond is injured after saving his captain, he is seen clutching his Bible as he is taken to for treatment. The Word of God is a source of strength for him and helps him through his recovery. In all biblical tales, the main characters sought their strength by invoking the power/ name of God.


The film is successful in delivering its message even though it is based on a true story. It employs various literary tools to enhance the power of the message. The Christian background of the character and the close symbolism between his troubles and Biblical tales serve as an inspirational tool to believers worldwide. The message of pacifism present in the film resonates with an increased number of people who might not be necessarily Christian. It is a classic example of how people can determine their fate based on their terms. The pure, open nature of Doss highlights the ideal demeanor expected for peace in the world to thrive. The film is a story about the strong will of man and his ability to do the impossible.

Works Cited

  1. “Hacksaw Ridge.” IMDb, 2016.
  2. Job Is Faithful to God.” Jehovah’s Witnesses, 2019, Web.
  3. Tiffany, Derville (2013). “Internal Conflict Management and Decision Making: A Qualitative Study of a Multitiered Grassroots Advocacy Organization.” Journal of Public Relations Research, vol. 25, no. 4, 2013, Web.

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"Movie Analysis: “Hacksaw Ridge”." StudyCorgi, 30 Dec. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "Movie Analysis: “Hacksaw Ridge”." December 30, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Movie Analysis: “Hacksaw Ridge”." December 30, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Movie Analysis: “Hacksaw Ridge”." December 30, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Movie Analysis: “Hacksaw Ridge”'. 30 December.

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