Only the Brave Know Hell

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Only the Brave Know Hell (released in the United States as The Ravagers) is a 1965 Filipino-American war drama film directed by Eddie Romero and co-written by Romero and Cesar Amigo, starring John Saxon, Fernando Poe Jr. and Vic Diaz. It was produced by Hemisphere Pictures, which consisted of Eddie Romero, Kane W. Lynn and Irwin Pizor. In the Philippines, the Filipino-language version was entitled Hanggang May Kalaban (lit. 'Until There Are Enemies') and the English-dubbed version was entitled Only the Brave Know Hell,[1][2][3][4] both of which were released in February 1965, while in the United States, it was released as The Ravagers in December 1965.

The film is set in the Philippines during World War II. It is about a band of brave Filipino guerrillas who battle with the last remaining Japanese occupation forces.[5] The film was advertised as "the biggest war film ever filmed in the Philippines". Lead actress Bronwyn FitzSimons was the daughter of actress Maureen O'Hara.[6]

It was one of several war movies Saxon made outside Hollywood.[7]


In the year 1945, The commandant of the Japanese forces occupying the Philippines is ordered to transport a shipment of gold bullion back to Japan. The Japanese soldiers take over a convent where the gold shipment is situated, and take a number of nuns and young girls prisoner in the process. Unbeknownst to the Japanese, one of the captive women is actually a female American agent named Sheila (Bronwyn FitzSimons), whom the Japanese have been looking to capture.

Kermit Dowling (John Saxon), an American army officer, together with an ex-convict named Gaudiel (Fernando Poe Jr.), leads a group of Filipino freedom fighters in an attack on the convent. Gaudiel finds himself attracted to Sheila. The guerillas beat the Japanese troops in a fierce battle and liberate the convent, saving the gold shipment.

Production Crew

  • Eddie Romero - Director, writer (as E.F. Romero)[8]
  • Cesar Amigo - Writer (as Cesar J. Amigo)
  • Vic Uematsu - Writer (Japanese dialogue)
  • Tito Arevalo - Music
  • Nonong Rasca - Director of Photography (as Mars Rasca)

See also: Full Cast & Crew on IMDb


  • John Saxon as Capt. Kermit Dowling
  • Fernando Poe Jr. as Sgt. Rubinio Gaudiel
  • Bronwyn FitzSimons as Sheila Ryan (As Bronwyn Fitzsimons)
  • Robert Arevalo as Capt. Araulio
  • Jose Dagumboy as Joe
  • Vic Diaz as Cruz
  • Michael Parsons as Reardon (as MIke Parsons)
  • Kristina Scott as Mother Superior
  • Vic Silayan as Capt. Mori
  • Josephine Sancho
  • Vic Uematsu
  • Angel Buenaventura
  • Pedro Navarro
  • Paquito Salcedo
  • Minda Morena
  • Richard Ray
  • Luis Alba
  • Ann Saxon (uncredited)

Technical Specifications

The film runs for 1 hour and 28 minutes (88 minutes). It was shot in black and white with an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 on 35mm film. Its audio was mixed in Mono. [9][10]


  1. Leavold, Andrew (2006). Strong Coffee with a National Treasure:An Interview with Eddie Romero.
  2. SERVER, LEE; EDDIE ROMERO (1999). "EDDIE ROMERO: Our Man in Manila". Film Comment. 35 (2): 44–51. JSTOR 43455360.
  3. Ching, Mark Angelo. "Fernando Poe Jr: Da King of Philippine movies", PEP, October 17, 2019. 
  4. Benoza, Paulea. "FPJ in retrospect: A guide to Da King's most memorable films", Star Studio. 
  5. Template:Rotten Tomatoes
  6. Dolor, Danny. "FPJ-Saxon starrer: Tagalog, English versions showing simultaneously", The Philippine Star, November 14, 2015. 
  7. Vagg, Stephen (July 29, 2020). "The Top Twelve Stages of Saxon". Filmink.
  8. Full Cast & Crew: The Ravagers. IMDb. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  9. The Ravagers. The Grindhouse Cinema Database. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  10. Technical Specifications: The Ravagers. IMDb. Retrieved 26 April 2021.