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'Life-Changing': Son of Olympian & POW Louis Zamperini on New 'Unbroken' Film and How Billy Graham Led His Dad to Christ

09-08-2018

The new film, "Unbroken: Path to Redemption" chronicles the life of Louis Zamperini following his return from World War II – the sequel to Angelina Jolie's hit film "Unbroken."

Based on Laura Hillenbrand's bestselling book, the film begins where the 2014 movie left off.

Haunted by nightmares of his time in captivity, Zamperini saw himself as anything but a hero when he returned to the US. His wrathful quest for revenge drove him deeper into despair, putting him and his newlywed wife on the brink of divorce. 

But then his wife Cynthia attended Billy Graham's 1949 Los Angeles Crusade. There she found faith in God and a renewed commitment to her marriage and her husband. 

Her most fervent prayer was for God to help her husband find the peace and forgiveness he so desperately needed.

Their son Luke Zamperini shared his thoughts about the new film with CBN News.

"My opinion's biased because it's a film about my father," said Zamperini. "But I loved it. I think that it tells the climactic portion of my father's life. Having come home from the war, suffering from his PTSD, the fantastic love story between him and my mother, then of course, the challenges of life that he went through."

Will Graham, who plays the part of his own grandfather Billy Graham in the film, hopes the movie inspires those who have suffered trauma in their lives.

"It's for those, and I think for those especially in the military that struggle with PTSD. People who are looking for hope. People who are looking for meaning in life. Those people who feel like God's not on their side. These are all the things that Louis was struggling with in life, and he found the answer to it all in the person and work of Jesus Christ."

Zamperini says his mother is equally a hero for her role in radical change that happened in his father's life.

"My mother, she was going to leave my dad because of his alcoholism through PTSD," Zamperini said. "But she was the one who first encountered Will's grandfather's life-saving message. It changed her life. She found forgiveness at that moment. She came home and forgave Dad for being the rascal that he was. And then she was able to convince him to go to hear Reverend Graham speak." 

He continued, "Of course it didn't take one sermon. She had to con him into going back again. It took a couple sermons for him to get through to him. But eventually he came to faith and it changed his life. He was able to throw off the post-traumatic stress disorder that he had. He was able to go back to Japan and forgive his former tormentors and that's really the crux of this film."     

He believes it's a real-life story that many can relate to.
    
"The first film just didn't have enough time to tell the entire story, so I'm thrilled that we're able to bring this portion of my father's life," he said. "And I think that what people are really going to benefit from is knowing the power of forgiveness through the Lord Jesus Christ. It's a life-changing thing."      

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