Film Review: Journey to Royal – A WWII Rescue Mission

HARRISBURG, PA — This documentary directed by Christopher Johnson of Misty Falls Motion Picture Company, and produced by Mariana Tosca, p.g.a. is a remarkable and effective piece of documentary filmmaking that chronicles the incredible stories of the 4th Emergency Rescue Squadron rescue team during World War II.

This film tells the story about Lt. Royal A. Stratton and the rescue mission he flew to save the lives of nine downed B-29 bomber airmen adrift in the dangerous Japanese waters after their aircraft was hit by flak that started a fire in the rear of the plane.

I had never heard about Lt. Royal Stratton before, so for me, the film shines a new light on unsung heroes from World War II that we are forever indebted to.

The story, or rather stories, takes us right into the action with the feature narrative portion to start us off before we jump into the documentary section of the film. The editing is smart and successful which plunges us right into the stressful situation. The documentary portion is not only informative but educational and adds to our understanding of rescue efforts in the Pacific.

The documentary is an effective piece of cinema that informs and educates. Overall, this documentary is a very well-made and incredibly effective piece of filmmaking that is immersive cinematography with gripping action, mixed with firsthand accounts and historical images, showcasing the valor of the squadron who faced overwhelming odds to bring their brothers home.

Highly recommended for those interested in military history and in accounts of bravery in the face of overwhelming odds.

Dr. Zapotoczny is an author, historian, and professor of history. He can be reached at and his website is

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