Angelina Jolie Directs Louis Zamperini's Incredible Story in Unbroken

02/17/2014 at 09:45 AM EST

Angelina Jolie is bringing the story of an American hero to the big screen.

In Unbroken, the Academy Award winner directs and produces a biopic about the incredible life of Louis Zamperini, a 96-year-old former Olympic runner (in 1936) and World War II prisoner of war. Following a near-fatal plane crash during his time in the service, Zamperini (along with two other crewmen) survived in a raft for 47 days, only to be caught by the Japanese navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.

A preview clip (narrated by Tom Brokaw), blends film footage – in which Jack O'Connell portrays Zamperini – with actual interviews with Zamperini.

The resilience that led Zamperini to the Olympics and beyond cannot be ignored – "Don't give up, don't give in," he says in the clip. "There's always an answer to everything."

Unbroken is due in theaters Christmas Day.

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