The plot of the reality-based movie "Unbroken" focuses on Louis Zamperini, an American Olympic athlete who becomes a bombardier during World War II. His plane malfunctions and crashes into the ocean. Japanese forces capture Zamperini and another crew member after they have been at sea for 47 days.
After his rescue, the men become prisoners of war, though they end up in different camps. Zamperini goes to a POW camp near Tokyo. A Japanese sergeant, Mutsuhiro Watanabe, runs the prison and takes a personal dislike to Zamperini. This is due, in part, to the American's prior Olympic success. Watanabe beats Zamperini regularly.
Zamperini makes one radio broadcast to ensure his family that he is alive. However, he rejects the opportunity to give another broadcast that he believes is un-American. Under orders from Watanabe, the other POWs beat Zamperini for his disrespect
Zamperini suffers under Watanabe's abuse for two years. Finally, the sergeant is promoted and goes to a different camp. Zamperini ends up there after Tokyo is bombed and the prisoners are relocated. Watanabe continues the abuse.
At one point, when Zamperini has a sprained ankle, Watanabe forces the American to hold a large block of wood over his head for hours on pain of execution. Zamperini does not drop the timber, but he suffers a beating anyway. When the war is over, Zamperini returns home. The movie ends with synopses of the characters' lives after the war. Zamperini ultimately offered forgiveness to his captors.