The incredible true story that inspired the Oscar-nominated movie Hacksaw Ridge is truly remarkable. It follows the story of Desmond Doss, a World War II combat medic who refused to fight due to his religious convictions, yet still managed to save 75 lives on the battlefield. This act of courage and faith has been celebrated in several books, movies, and documentaries over the years.
Andrew Garfield was nominated for Best Actor at the 89th Academy Awards for his portrayal of Desmond Doss in Mel Gibson’s 2016 war drama, Hacksaw Ridge. The film is based on the incredible true story of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector from World War II who served as a medic in Okinawa.
Garfield immersed himself in the role completely, dropping 30 pounds and reading letters written by Doss himself to get into character. His transformation was so successful that many at first mistook him for an actual veteran when he arrived on set to shoot the movie. Garfield’s dedication certainly paid off: his performance earned him critical praise and helped earn Hacksaw Ridge six Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Picture.
Garfield gave a powerful speech upon receiving his nomination for Best Actor that drew attention to veterans and their struggles with PTSD upon returning home after service: “It’s one thing to give your life and another thing to come home and live with what you’ve seen or done… I just want to honor those men tonight and all of us who have ever served are deeply connected by this experience.
Andrew Garfield as Desmond Doss in Hacksaw Ridge
Doss was haunted by this event for the rest of his life, and it served as a driving force behind his later decision to become a conscientious objector. Despite being brought up in the Southern Baptist Church and denomination which taught him that taking another human life was an unforgivable sin, Doss enlisted in the US Army during World War II. He requested to be classified as a conscientious objector, but his superiors were not sympathetic to his request and he was assigned duties as a combat medic instead.
Despite facing heavy criticism from fellow soldiers due to his refusal to carry or use weapons, Doss remained resolute in his beliefs. He courageously saved countless lives on Hacksaw Ridge despite constant danger from enemy fire; however, there were many times when he had to put himself in harm’s way without having any weapons for protection or defense. On one occasion he even stood between two opposing forces with only a Bible held up against them until they finally agreed to cease their hostilities temporarily. The inspiring story of Desmond Doss shows us how strength of character is often more powerful than physical strength alone.
Doss’ commitment to his beliefs had a major impact on the soldiers in the line of duty
as they were unsure of whether they could trust him due to his refusal to take up arms. Despite his physical and mental strength, Doss refused to carry any weapon or fire a gun, instead relying solely on faith and first aid. This created doubts for the other soldiers who didn’t feel comfortable with someone in their midst who couldn’t protect them if needed, adding an extra layer of vulnerability and fear.
However, what most of these men failed to realize was that despite not carrying any weapons into battle, Doss managed to save many lives by using only first-aid supplies. He single-handedly pulled dozens of wounded men out from behind enemy lines while successfully avoiding enemy contact himself. His bravery and selflessness allowed him to be awarded several accolades including the Medal Of Honor – America’s highest military decoration – making him the first conscientious objector in U.S history to receive such an honor for acts performed during war time.
The film conveys this incredible story perfectly by staying true to history but also making sure that viewers can emotionally connect with what is happening on screen.
In the film, Desmond Doss and Dorothy Schutte meet at a church social. In reality, however, they had known each other since childhood and were reconnected by an old family friend. Their courtship began in 1943 when she was visiting her sister in Lynchburg, Virginia where Doss was stationed for his military training. Besides this change in their origin story, another element altered for the film was a violent fight between Desmond and his father Tom that did not occur in real life.
Tom Doss had been a heavy drinker and sometimes abusive to his wife Bertha; Desmond’s siblings had all left home or moved away as soon as they were able. According to some reports, he would also try to physically punish Desmond but he never succeeded due to his son’s superior strength – something which is not shown in the movie. Instead of any physical altercation occurring between them, it is reported that the two men would have long conversations about faith instead; Tom eventually stopped drinking before passing away from tuberculosis-related complications five years after Desmond returned from war service.
The Conscientious Objector tells the incredible story of Desmond Doss, an unlikely World War II hero who served as a medic while being a conscientious objector. The 2004 documentary covers Doss’s upbringing in Lynchburg, Virginia and his unwavering commitment to his faith which led him to become the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor for his bravery during the Battle of Okinawa. Through interviews with Doss himself, his brother and various veterans he encountered during his service, viewers get an intimate look into what drove him to serve despite not believing in taking human life. His refusal to carry a weapon directly impacted how he was viewed by others—even members of his own unit—but it didn’t stop him from finding ways to help those around him on and off the battlefield. Despite significant criticism from many sides, Doss remained true to himself and ultimately received recognition for all that he had done. The Conscientious Objector provides a powerful reminder about staying true oneself even when faced with immense pressure from those around you.