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Blood Oath is a 1990 Australian feature film, known in some countries as Prisoners of the Sun. The film is based on the real-life trial of Japanese soldiers for war crimes committed against Allied prisoners of war on the island of Ambon, in the Netherlands East Indies (Indonesia), such as the Laha massacre of 1942.

Blood Oath
Australian DVD cover
Directed byStephen Wallace
Produced byCharles Waterstreet
Denis Whitburn
Written byDenis Whitburn
Brian A. Williams
Music byDavid McHugh
CinematographyRussell Boyd
Edited byNicholas Beauman
Distributed byRoadshow Entertainment
Release date
  • 26 July 1990 (1990-07-26) (Australia)
  • 26 July 1990 (1990-07-26) (U.S.)
  • 15 March 1991 (1991-03-15) (UK)
Running time
108 minutes
BudgetA$10 million[1]
Box officeA$707,194 (Australia)

It was directed by Stephen Wallace and co-written by Denis Whitburn and Brian A. Williams. The cast included Bryan Brown, George Takei, Terry O'Quinn, John Bach, John Clarke, Deborah Kara Unger, John Polson, Nicholas Eadie, David Argue and Ray Barrett.

The film was the first film debut for both Russell Crowe and Jason Donovan, in minor roles. It was nominated for several AFI Awards in 1990, including "Best Film". It won the AFI Awards for "Best Achievement in Sound" and "Best Achievement in Costume Design".



The film was the idea of Brian Williams, who was the son of Captain John Williams, who had prosecuted Japanese officers in charge of the POW camp at Ambon during the war. He was impressed with the TV series The Last Bastion and approached Denis Whitburn, who had written it with David Williamson, and they wrote the script and produced together. Bryan Brown and Stephen Wallace then came on board the project (although at one point Geoff Murphy was also considered as director).[1]

The movie was shot at the Village-Warner Film Studio on the Gold Coast.[1]

Box officeEdit

Blood Oath grossed $707,194 at the box office in Australia.[2] Stephen Wallace has said he thought the film would have been better had the writers been more accurate as the truth was more interesting.[3]

The writers announced plans to follow up Blood Oath with a $20 million film about the Cowra breakout, Giants at Dawn, but this was not made.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c David Stratton, The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry, Pan MacMillan, 1990 p47-48
  2. ^ "Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2010.
  3. ^ "Interview with Stephen Wallace", Signis, 21 November 1998 Archived 20 December 2012 at accessed 21 November 2012
  4. ^ Kevin Sadlier, "JAPANESE BACK COWRA POW BREAKOUT FILM", Sun Herald, 31 March 1991 p7

External linksEdit