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71: Into the Fire (Korean: 포화 속으로) is a 2010 South Korean war drama film directed by John H. Lee. The film was made in commemoration of those who fought during the Korean War, to raise awareness of the existence and importance of the student-soldiers during that period.

71: Into the Fire
71 Into the Fire.jpg
Teaser poster
Hanja 속으로
Revised Romanization Pohwa sogeuro
McCune–Reischauer Pohwa sokŭro
Directed by John H. Lee (Lee Jae-han)
Produced by Choi Myeong-gi
Jeong Tae-won
Written by Lee Man-hee
Kim Dong-woo
John H. Lee
Jeong Tae-won
Starring Cha Seung-won
Kwon Sang-woo
Choi Seunghyun (T.O.P)
Kim Seung-woo
Music by Lee Dong-joon
Cinematography Choi Chan-min
Edited by Choi Min-yeong
Kim Chang-joo
Taewon Entertainment
Distributed by Lotte Entertainment
Release date
  • June 16, 2010 (2010-06-16)
Running time
120 minutes
Country South Korea
Language Korean
Box office $420,967,660[1]

The film is based on a true story of a group of 71 undertrained and underarmed, outgunned student-soldiers of South Korea during the Korean War, who were mostly killed on August 11, 1950, during the Battle of P'ohang-dong. For 11 hours, they defended the local P'ohang girls' middle school, a strategic point for safeguarding the struggling Nakdong River perimeter, from an attack by overwhelming North Korean forces, specifically the feared 766th Unit.



South Korean student Oh Jang-beom is a volunteer militia soldier in a battle inside Yeongdeok, North Gyeongsang Province during the Korean War, serving as an ammunition and litter bearer under the charge of regular army Captain Kang Suk-dae. As the city is overrun by the North Korean forces of the elite 766th Unit, 5th Division, North Korean People's Army, he is impressed into a squad of South Korean soldiers led by Lieutenant Kim Jun-Seop attempting escape. However, the unit is eventually cut down to only Lt. Kim and Jang-Beom. A North Korean suddenly shoots and bayonets the lieutenant; Jang-beom, due to his inexperience, is unable to save him, fumbling with trying to load his rifle. They are saved by other South Koreans, and barely manage to climb into one of the last trucks out of the town to a hospital in Pohang, where Lt. Kim dies with a guilt-ridden Jang-beom at his side.

Capt. Kang orders Jang-beom to lead a newly-raised student-soldier unit, as he is one of only three of the local student-soldier volunteers with combat experience, and all the regular soldiers are needed at the Nakdong River in the impending battle at the Pusan Perimeter. The unit is joined by three young criminals led by Ku Kap-jo, who challenges Jang-beom's command. While training the students, Jang-beom reflects in a letter, wondering why the war is being fought. The next day, while on patrol, they are attacked a North Korean sniper. They impulsively give chase, and the sniper leads them into an ambush. The students suffer heavy casualties before disengaging. During the shootout, Jang-beom and Kap-Jo encounter a North Korean child soldier, whom Kap-jo kills over Jang-Beom's orders to spare him. The students' morale is decimated by the disastrous encounter. The students' call for aid to Capt. Kang is fruitless, as Capt. Kang and the regular forces are pinned at the Nakdong. Kang pleads with superior officers to help the students, but they refuse to divert men and resources from the critical Pusan front. They do, however, give Kang permission to go, and he eventually manages to round up vehicles and a small force of South Korean Army soldiers to relieve the school.

One of the student soldiers, Dal-Young, is captured by the 766th Unit and is interrogated by Major Park Mu-Rang, commanding the 766th. Being a father, Park Mu-Rang sympathizes with the student, orders his return to the school and goes there himself to assess the students' strength. There, he tells Jang-Beom that he and his men will, in 2 hours, capture the school, and offers to spare the defenders' lives if they raise a white flag in those two hours. Kap-Jo beats Dal-young and fights Jang-beom before deserting with a friend, Chang-wu, for the Pusan Perimeter. Shortly after leaving, the two encounter a North Korean truck filled with supplies and weapons, stuck in a road.

The remaining students prepare to defend the school under Jang-beom's leadership, raising not a white flag of surrender but the South Korean national flag, while Major Park makes his own preparations for the assault. When the attack begins, the students are able to inflict devastating casualties on the North Koreans, but the Communist forces are too many and far superior in quality, and they quickly overwhelm the students. Suddenly, the North Korean supply truck roars in, driven by Chang-wu and Kap-jo, carving their way through the North Koreans, killing many with a machine gun and halting their attack. The other students unload the truck and its valuable weapons.

The North Koreans deploy a tank. Under its cover, the 766th's men reach the school building and kill off most of the students. Oh Jang-Beom and Gu Kap-Jo take shelter in a classroom. Kap-Jo reveals to Jang-Beom that he isn't actually a student; his family was far too poor, and he has been living off the streets. Yet, he is throwing his lot in with other, actual students in defending their nation. Jang-Beom empathizes with Kap-Jo and they reconcile their differences. The two students throw themselves back into the fray, as the Northern soldiers break inside, fighting their way to the roof of the building, where the others have fitted machine-guns. By now, Jang-beom's veteran friends from Yongdeok, Dal-young the captured student, and Chang-wu, Kap-jo's fellow criminal, have all been killed. On the roof, Jang-beom and Kap-jo use the weapons there to gun down the relentless waves of North Koreans.

Just as Jang-beom and Kap-jo begin running out of ammunition, Capt. Kang and the South Koreans arrive. They destroy the North Korean tank before advancing to clear out the attackers. At the roof, as Jang-beom collapses from exhaustion and his wounds, Major Park bursts onto the roof and kills Kap-jo in front of Jang-beom, too weak to warn his friend. While Park gloats, Jang-beom quietly loads his rifle with the round that he had previously failed to save Lt. Kim with at Yeongdeok, and shoots Park just as Park also shoots him; Park prepares to finish Jang-beom, but Capt. Kang arrives and shoots Park dead. Jang-Beom dies from his wounds as Kang comforts him.

Out of the 71 students, 48 died defending the school. The movie ends with a flashback, with an Army photographer taking a group picture of the student-soldiers before the regular troops leave for Pusan, and the surviving student-soldier veterans, now old, reflect on their experiences.


Production and releaseEdit

The film's first working title was 71, then Into the Gunfire. Filming began on December 1, 2009, with help from Ministry of National Defense (T.O.P. was injured during the filming[2]), and finished on April 13, 2010.

The movie opened in South Korean theaters on June 16, 2010. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray by Cine Asia on March 14, 2011.


During its theatrical run, the film drew 3,358,960 admissions at the box office, making it the fifth highest-grossing film of 2010.[3]



External linksEdit