Story of Conscientious Objector to be Movie

February 22, 2006 Silver Spring, Maryland, United States .... [ANN Staff]

Desmond Doss receives the Congressional Medal of Honar from President Harry Truman

Doss receives the Congressional Medal of Honor from then-President Harry Truman, who praised the Army medic for his heroism.

Nearly 60 years ago, a young Seventh-day Adventist who refused to bear arms was responsible for one of the greatest acts of heroism by a single person in combat. Now, that story is going to be developed as a major motion picture, and is expected to bring the message of non-combatancy to millions.

Desmond T. Doss, a 24-year-old medic from Lynchburg, Virginia, stayed atop a blood-soaked escarpment on the island of Okinawa on May 5, 1945, lowering down soldiers pinned under a Japanese attack. He was the only person to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, the United States' top military award, for non-combat achievements, in the Second World War.

He rigged a rope and helped 75 soldiers escape a near-certain death during one of the more intense battles of the Pacific campaign.

"Lord, help me get one more. Just ONE more," was Doss' prayer during those hours. After the last man was evacuated, Doss himself made his way to safety.

Filmmaker Terry Benedict produced "The Conscientious Objector," a critically acclaimed documentary that told Doss' story. It has won well over a dozen film festival awards across the United States. Benedict is one of the writers for the movie, along with actor and playwright Robert Schenkkan, whose drama "The Kentucky Cycle" won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992.

Benedict and David Permut, an independent producer, took the project to Bill Mechanic, owner of Pandemonium Entertainment. They set up a deal with Walden Media -- who co-financed and produced "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" with Disney -- and Bristol Bay Productions.

Filmmaker Terry Benedict

Filmmaker Terry Benedict produced "The Conscientious Objector," a critically acclaimed documentary that told Doss' story.

Mechanic, Permut and Benedict will produce the project. Steve Longi will co-produce, Gregory Crosby will associate produce, and Bristol Bay executive vice president Lenny Kornberg will oversee the project.

"I'm very happy that Desmond's story is going to be done as a theatrical film," says Benedict. "I believe it'll serve an important purpose in sharing his beliefs and convictions. The world would be a better place if we all followed in his footsteps. I think the movie will become a classic."

Though known to several generations of Seventh-day Adventists, the story of Desmond Doss has only recently gained a wider audience, thanks to "The Conscientious Objector" and to media interest in his accomplishments. Doss' refusal to carry a weapon during his wartime service as an Army medic earned him harassment and catcalls from his peers in the military, but his example of service above self-interest earned him a nation's thanks, and one of its highest honors.


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