Radio Show

‘Unbroken: Path to Redemption’


Luke Zamperini, Will Graham, and actor Samuel Hunt, three stars of the new film “Unbroken: Path to Redemption,” stop by the studio to discuss the movie’s themes of faith and healing. “Unbroken: Path to Redemption” follows the story of Olympian Louis Zamperini’s (Luke Zamperini’s father) return to the United States after being a prisoner of war during World War II.

Father Dave mentions that this movie is a follow-up to the film “Unbroken” directed by Angelina Jolie and asks Luke to explain how this new film picks up the story. “The film by Angelina Jolie covered my father’s life from when he was a punk kid running on the streets of Los Angeles up to his athletic career and into the military where he crashed at sea and floated for 47 days in a life raft and was imprisoned by the Japanese. And it ends with him coming home from the war. But that’s where his story really takes off. … He gets home from the war, and it covers his battle with post-traumatic stress disorder, and it also covers his romance with my mother and how they got married. Their marriage begins to suffer because of his PTSD, and of course, it culminates with him walking into a little circus tent in Los Angeles in 1949 where he heard the preaching of Billy Graham and came to faith and was able to go back and forgive his former tormentors.”

Father Dave says that at the time, no one knew what PTSD was. “They had no idea what it was,” Luke says. “They thought maybe it was shellshock or battle fatigue. He went into the VA hospital, and they couldn’t help him. He went to a psychiatrist, and they couldn’t help him. My dad was a really resourceful guy, very resilient. Obviously, he needed to be that way in order to survive what he survived. But he met his match with his PTSD. … He couldn’t overcome this, so he tried self-medicating with alcohol. Of course, it made it worse, and his life was really spiraling out of control. And it was when my mother had enough and told him she would divorce him that someone invited her to go to that church tent meeting.”

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Father Dave asks Will Graham what it was like to play his grandfather, Billy Graham, in the film. “It was a great opportunity. Not just to play my grandaddy because, in a sense, when I preach I feel like I’m not doing it to preach my grandaddy, but to please our Heavenly Father. But to be a part of a bigger story of Louis Zamperini and be a part of that incredible story and have God use my grandfather to touch his life. That was a great honor.”

Luke explains the legacy his father leaves behind. “After he forgave his former captors, he came back home and started Victory Boys Camp. It was a non-profit dedicated to helping at-risk youth. … When my father passed on, my family decided to carry on his work. We took over Victory Boys Camp and rebranded it the Louis Zamperini Foundation. I go into correctional facilities and talk to the kids who go to high school and any place where I’m welcome to speak. And we have discovered that the book “Unbroken” is being taught in public high schools across this country. And as they teach it, they’re reading the chapters on his coming to faith and forgiving his captors, and it’s turning out that it’s changing the lives of the kids who study it. So, we’ve partnered with a teacher we found in Texas who has done the most incredible job in making this curriculum very immersive, and we’re going to be putting out an official Unbroken Curriculum this spring for teachers to use nationwide.” (Original Air 9-10-18)

“Unbroken: Path to Redemption” is in theaters now. Find it in a theater near you.