Hacksaw Ridge Ending Explained, Cast, Plot, And More

Hacksaw Ridge Ending Explained

The conclusion of “Hacksaw Ridge” encapsulates the culmination of Desmond Doss’s remarkable journey. It features the second and third major skirmishes at Hacksaw Ridge during World War II. The film shows earlier sequences where American soldiers captured Hacksaw Ridge up to a certain point from the Japanese.

However, the Japanese counter-offensive forces the Americans to retreat, with the exception of Doss. His unyielding commitment to his beliefs keeps him on the Ridge, where he demonstrates immense courage and saves numerous lives while under heavy enemy fire.

This powerful ending reaffirms the core themes of the film: Doss’s unwavering faith, his extraordinary dedication to saving lives, and his personal struggles that led him to become the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor. The archival photos and footage at the film’s conclusion poignantly reveal that Doss’s selflessness did not go unnoticed, as he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions, ultimately living a life of love and devotion alongside his wife Dorothy until their passing. The ending of “Hacksaw Ridge” serves as a testament to the indomitable human spirit and the impact of one man’s extraordinary courage on the battlefield.

Hacksaw Ridge Overview

Hacksaw Ridge, a 2016 biographical war film directed by Mel Gibson and written by Andrew Knight and Robert Schenkkan, draws inspiration from the 2004 documentary “The Conscientious Objector,” directed by Terry Benedict. The story revolves around Desmond Doss, a Seventh-day Adventist Christian and pacifist combat medic during World War II, who steadfastly refused to carry or use any weapon.


His unwavering dedication to saving lives earned him the distinction of being the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor, specifically for his extraordinary actions during the Battle of Okinawa. The cast includes Andrew Garfield as Doss, with Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving, Rachel Griffiths, Vince Vaughn, and Richard Pyros in supporting roles.

Filming for “Hacksaw Ridge” took place in Australia from September to December 2015. Upon its release in the United States on November 4, 2016, the film achieved worldwide acclaim, grossing $180.4 million. Critics praised Mel Gibson’s direction and Andrew Garfield’s performance, marking a notable comeback for Gibson’s career, which had faced decline due to controversies.

The National Board of Review and American Film Institute both recognized it as one of their top ten films of 2016. The movie received multiple awards and nominations, including six Oscar nominations at the 89th Academy Awards, with victories in the categories of Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing. Additionally, it garnered Golden Globe nominations and won several Australian Academy Awards, solidifying its status as a cinematic triumph.


Hacksaw Ridge Cast



Andrew Garfield

Desmond Doss

Sam Worthington

Captain Jack Glover

Luke Bracey

‘Smitty’ Ryker

Hugo Weaving

Tom Doss, Desmond’s father

Teresa Palmer

Dorothy Schutte, Desmond’s wife

Rachel Griffiths

Bertha Doss, Desmond’s mother

Vince Vaughn

Sergeant Howell

Ryan Corr

Lieutenant Manville

Richard Roxburgh

Colonel Stelzer

Luke Pegler

Milt ‘Hollywood’ Zane

Richard Pyros

Randall ‘Teach’ Fuller

Ben Mingay

‘Grease’ Nolan

Michael Sheasby

‘Tex’ Lewis

Firass Dirani

Vito Rinnelli

Damien Thomlinson

Ralph Morgan

Matt Nable

Lieutenant Colonel Cooney

Ben O’Toole

Corporal Jessop

Nathaniel Buzolic

Harold ‘Hal’ Doss, Desmond’s brother

Milo Gibson

‘Lucky’ Ford

Goran D. Kleut

Andy ‘Ghoul’ Walker

Hacksaw Ridge Plot

In the year 1925, in Lynchburg, Virginia, a young Desmond Doss inadvertently puts his brother’s life in jeopardy during a playful bout of roughhousing. This incident, coupled with his upbringing as a Seventh-day Adventist, firmly solidifies Desmond’s unwavering commitment to the commandment “Thou shalt not kill.”

Fifteen years later, Desmond finds himself taking an injured man to a hospital, where he crosses paths with a nurse named Dorothy Schutte. Their encounter sparks a romance, and during their courtship, Desmond confides in Dorothy about his deep-seated interest in medical work.

However, the tranquility of their lives is shattered by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which thrusts the United States into World War II. In response, Desmond enlists in the United States Army, driven by his determination to serve as a combat medic. This decision deeply troubles his father, Tom, a World War I veteran grappling with PTSD.

Desmond and Dorothy become engaged amidst the turmoil. Desmond’s journey unfolds in basic training, where he faces ostracization from fellow soldiers due to his steadfast refusal to handle a rifle or participate in Saturday training sessions. Despite relentless efforts by Sergeant Howell and Captain Glover to have him discharged on psychiatric grounds under Section 8, Desmond’s unyielding commitment to his religious convictions prevails. He endures harsh labor and even a severe beating by fellow soldiers, but he refuses to betray his principles or identify his attackers.

After successfully completing basic training, Doss’s unit is granted leave, during which he plans to marry Dorothy. However, his unwavering stance against carrying a firearm leads to his arrest for insubordination. Captain Glover and Dorothy attempt to persuade him to plead guilty, hoping for his release without charges, but Desmond remains resolute in defending his beliefs.

At his court-martial, he pleads not guilty, but before sentencing, his father intervenes dramatically with a letter from a former commanding officer (now a brigadier general), affirming that Desmond’s pacifism is protected by the US Constitution. Consequently, the charges against him are dropped, allowing Desmond and Dorothy to marry.

Doss’s journey continues as his unit is deployed to the Pacific Theater, assigned to the 77th Infantry Division. Their mission involves relieving the 96th Infantry Division tasked with securing the Maeda Escarpment, famously known as “Hacksaw Ridge.” The initial battle is marked by heavy casualties on both sides, during which Doss’s extraordinary bravery saves the life of his comrade Smitty, eventually earning Smitty’s respect.

As night falls and the Americans make camp, Desmond confides in Smitty, revealing that his aversion to firearms stems from a traumatic incident involving his drunken father threatening his mother with a gun. Smitty apologizes for doubting Desmond’s courage, and their bond is mended.

The following morning, a massive Japanese counterattack forces the American troops off the escarpment. Tragedy strikes as Smitty loses his life, and several of Doss’s comrades are left injured on the battlefield. Amidst the chaos, Doss hears the agonizing cries of wounded soldiers and embarks on a heroic mission to save them.

He courageously carries the wounded and even Smitty’s lifeless body to the cliff’s edge, using ropes to lower them to safety, all the while praying for strength to save one more life. The arrival of numerous wounded soldiers who were initially presumed dead stuns the unit below. As day breaks, Doss manages to rescue Howell, and both escape Hacksaw Ridge under relentless enemy fire.

Captain Glover, humbled and remorseful for dismissing Desmond’s beliefs as “cowardice,” acknowledges the significance of Doss’s contributions. He informs Desmond that they are scheduled to retake the ridge on Saturday but promise to delay the operation until after Desmond completes his Sabbath prayers.

With reinforced troops, they ultimately turn the tide of the battle. In a perilous ambush staged by Japanese soldiers pretending to surrender, Doss’s heroism shines as he deflects enemy grenades, saving Glover and his comrades. Though wounded by a grenade blast, Doss’s unwavering courage prevails, and the battle is won. He descends from the cliff, clutching the Bible gifted to him by Dorothy.

The film’s conclusion transitions to authentic photographs and footage, showcasing Desmond Doss receiving the Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman for his remarkable rescue of 75 soldiers at Hacksaw Ridge. Additionally, it includes real-life footage of Doss before his passing, where he shares poignant recollections of his wartime experiences, solidifying his legacy as a true American hero.

Hacksaw Ridge Trailer


What Happens in the End of Hacksaw Ridge?

Towards the end of “Hacksaw Ridge,” Desmond Doss’s unwavering courage and selflessness shine through as he rescues numerous wounded soldiers on the perilous battlefield of Hacksaw Ridge during the Battle of Okinawa. He defies the odds, carrying the injured to the cliff’s edge and lowering them to safety by rope, all the while offering fervent prayers for each life he saves.

As daylight breaks, Doss’s remarkable efforts continue, culminating in the successful evacuation of many wounded soldiers, including his comrades. His extraordinary bravery and determination inspire his fellow soldiers, prompting Captain Glover to acknowledge the profound impact of Doss’s selflessness. The film concludes with Doss receiving the Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman for rescuing 75 soldiers at Hacksaw Ridge, a testament to his unparalleled heroism and unwavering commitment to his principles.

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