The movie is about one Adnan bin Saidi, a young Malay from Sungai Ramal in Kajang, Selangor who had joined the Malay Regiment just before the Second World War broke out in Asia. By the time the war broke out, he had been promoted to the rank of Second Lieutenant, and was in command of Company C, 1st Battalion, Malay Regiment after the death of the British company commander, Captain H R Rix. His exploits and bravery in combat while leading his men against the Japanese Imperial Army are legendary. The 2 known engagements he was involved in are:
Both battles occurred during the final phase of the Japanese Imperial Army's assault on the city of Singapore during the Battle of Singapore. He later either died of his wounds or was executed after the battle. Three versions of his death are recorded. However, the official version will record that he was executed by Japanese troops in anger for his stubbornness in holding his position and inflicting large casualties on Japanese troops. In the film, General Tomoyuki Yamashita was supposed to have said that if there were ten more Adnans in the British Colonial Forces in Malaya at that time, he would have needed a total of ten divisions to conquer Malaya.
Although not referred to in the film, there is a current theory that the subsequent Alexandra Hospital massacre was directly related to the great frustration felt by the Japanese soldiers due to the heavy losses suffered in overcoming the stout resistance put up by Lt Adnan's Company C on Opium Hill. With the loss of Company C, the remnants of the 1st Battalion withdrew leaving the way clear to the British military hospital at Alexandra and the subsequent massacre of the patients, doctors and nurses within.therefor Adnan