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WASHINGTON — Troops at Camp Anaconda in Iraq will get an early peak this weekend at a new movie based on a little-known Army Rangers rescue mission in World War II.

The movie, “The Great Raid,” isn’t scheduled to hit theaters in the United States until August, but Miramax Films will hold several special screenings at the Balad Theater on July 16 and 17.

Julie Fontaine, vice president of publicity for Miramax, said the event is part of a pre-release tour for military and veterans organizations. The film and its director, John Dahl, have been to a number of bases and events over the last few months, including a July 5 event at Fort Benning in Georgia.

“We’ve been trying to screen this for as many military personnel as possible,” she said. “We feel like this film pays tribute to the American soldier, and we want to share that.”

The movie, starring actor Benjamin Bratt, follows Lt. Colonel Mucci, who led the 6th Ranger Battalion on a raid of the Cabanatuan Japanese POW camp in January 1945.

The mission rescued more than 500 prisoners of war, most of whom were survivors of the infamous Bataan death march.

Fontaine said Miramax is also planning a special red carpet celebration in Manila with military personnel for the movie’s official premiere, Aug. 12.

Miramax officials are also in discussions to hold similar events with U.S. military as the film rolls out in other countries. Tentatively, it isn’t scheduled to open in Europe until 2006.

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