The Airmen and the Headhunters

The Airmen and the Headhunters

DVD - 2009
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This long-lost story of heroism, perseverance, and ingenuity follows the tale of lost WWII soldiers, their unlikely rescue and companionship with the Dayak tribe in Borneo, and their eventual rescue conceived by an eccentric British major: an airway built out of bamboo in the middle of the jungle.
Publisher: [Arlington, Va.?] : PBS Distribution, c2009.
Edition: Widescreen version.
ISBN: 9781608831371
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (ca. 60 min.) : sd., col. and b&w ; 4 3/4 in.
Additional Contributors: Radice, Mark 1973-


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May 11, 2017

Part of the PBS series Secrets of the Dead (I have found most of the episodes fascinating!) This episode examines U.S. airmen who were shot down during WWII on the island of Borneo (north of Australia). They were found by local tribes people who looked after them and protected them from the Japanese. The locals had a historical tradition of headhunting but it lapsed when they converted to Christianity. A British officer who had spent time in Borneo as an anthropologist was recruited to search out missing Western soldiers in the rough interior of Borneo. He allowed the locals to collect heads of Japanese soldiers who were killed - the locals were excited about restoring their traditional rite of headhunting and the western soldiers were thankful for their assistance. As one rescued U.S. airman recalled, if the Japanese caught us, they would have tortured us and killed us. A grim reality of war. This episode has several Airmen who survived and provide commentary. It also has several local tribesmen giving testimony about their actions. Overall, an interesting and fascinating episode for anyone who enjoys history and/or true life stories.

Mar 21, 2017

A unique WWII story. Not as horrific as it sounds; ALL of that war horrific, and this was part of that war.

Oct 11, 2014

Alright as it was - a documentary examining Airmen in Borneo during World War II.
Be cognizant of the headhunters and rituals - really eye-opening!

Jan 14, 2014

This is a 2009 54-minute documentary about the American airmen parachuted down in Borneo and the local headhunters in 1944.
As the World War II raged across the globe, an incredible drama unfolded in the remote jungles of Borneo.
A US bomber was hit by Japanese anti-aircraft fire.
As the plane went down, the surviving crew ejected and parachuted into the wilderness.
Pursued by Japanese soldiers, they waere taken in and protected by members of the Dayak tribe who were infamous
for their grisly custom of hunting and smoking enemy heads.
Harder to believe than a fictional Hollywood survival movie, their true tale is one of courage and compassion from the most unlikely sources.


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