- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 22, 2015

American war hero and Olympic distance runner Louis Zamperini’s life was like “a six-act play,” his son says.

The first three acts of his life were captured in “Unbroken,” the 2014 blockbuster film that covered Zamperini’s childhood, his track star years and the harrowing experiences of being lost at sea for nearly seven weeks and then sent to a Japanese prison camp.

The next important chapters of his life are now available in “Legacy of Faith,” a special edition bonus disc included with Tuesday’s home release of “Unbroken” on Blu-ray and DVD.

The “Legacy of Faith” bonus disc features “90 minutes of rich content from Louie Zamperini, Billy Graham, Greg Laurie and others,” according to Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The bonus disc picks up Zamperini’s life after World War II and chronicles his desperate struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism, the near-collapse of his marriage and powerful redemptive experience with a young evangelist called Billy Graham. It also depicts the war hero’s return to Japan and his astonishing actions there.

Son Luke Zamperini said Thursday that Angelina Jolie’s masterful direction of “Unbroken” set the stage for the materials on the bonus disc.

She made sure the film depicted “my father’s prayer on the life raft in the middle of the horrendous storm — which, to tell you the truth, was the most frightened he’s ever been — where he prays to God, ‘If you get me through this, I will seek you and serve you my entire life,’” Mr. Zamperini said in a recent interview with The Washington Times.

The epilogue of “Unbroken” hints at the outcome, saying, “Louie finally made good on his promise to serve God, and with that forgave his captors.”

That “was exactly the way my father would have liked [the film ending] to have been,” said Mr. Zamperini, chief inspector for training and emergency management at the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety. “He was a subtle guy when it came to sharing his faith. He was not one of these guys who would grab you by the scruff of the neck and say, ‘What are you going to do about Jesus Christ?’

“He would just tell his story — the miraculous things that happened to him: surviving the crash, surviving the strafing at sea, surviving the prison camp, and then, the most miraculous of all, being forgiven by his maker and then turning around and forgiving those who had treated him poorly,” Mr. Zamperini said.

“He would just tell his story and let people’s curiosity get them” about how he could forgive his tormentors, said Mr. Zamperini. “And he would tell them about walking into that Billy Graham tent meeting.

“And so for the [‘Unbroken’] film to end the way it ended and leave people wanting more, I think it’s brilliant. I really do,” Mr. Zamperini said of his father, who died in July at age 97.

The home version of “Unbroken” and its “Legacy of Faith” bonus disc go on sale Tuesday for $27.99 at Family Christian Stores and Mardel Christian & Education stores and online at Christianbook.com, said Matthew Faraci, a spokesman for the faith outreach office of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

“Unbroken” is based on Laura Hillenbrand’s best-selling book, “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.”

The “Legacy of Faith” bonus disc includes “Coming Full Circle” by the Christian Broadcasting Network, a Harvest Crusade interview with pastor Greg Laurie and “Captured by Grace” by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

The “Unbroken” video package is being touted to pastors as fodder for sermons on topics such as hard work, overcoming adversity, forgiveness and “God’s sovereign hand in our lives,” said Chris Stone, founder of Faith Driven Consumer, a consumer advocacy organization that seeks to connect Christians with “faith-compatible” goods and services.

Hollywood already sees the faith-driven consumer as important to its bottom line, Mr. Stone told The Times. A major studio official recently said, “Your audience used to be ‘an audience.’ Now it is ‘the audience,’” Mr. Stone said.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide