The Fighting 69th (1940)

Passed  |   |  Action, Adventure, Biography  |  27 January 1940 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 1,291 users  
Reviews: 25 user | 18 critic

Although loudmouthed braggart Jerry Plunkett alienates his comrades and officers, Father Duffy, the regimental chaplain, has faith that he'll prove himself in the end.



(original screenplay), (original screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Father Duffy
George Brent ...
'Wild Bill' Donovan
Jeffrey Lynn ...
Joyce Kilmer
'Crepe Hanger' Burke
Lieutenant Ames
Lt. 'Long John' Wynn
William Lundigan ...
Timmy Wynn
Paddy Dolan
Henry O'Neill ...
The Colonel
Captain Mangan
Sammy Cohen ...
Mike Murphy
Harvey Stephens ...
Major Anderson
Private Turner (as DeWolf Hopper)


"The Fighting 69th" is a First World War regiment of mostly New York-Irish soldiers. Amongst a cocky crew, perhaps the cockiest is Jerry Plunkett, a scrappy fellow who looks out only for himself. The officers and non-coms of the regiment do their best to instill discipline in Plunkett, and the chaplain, Father Duffy, tries to make Plunkett see the greater good, all to no avail. Behind the lines or in the trenches, Plunkett acts selfishly and cowardly, eventually costing the lives of many of his fellow soldiers. A final act of cowardice leads to terrible consequences, but Plunkett sees in them a chance to redeem himself...if only he can. Written by Jim Beaver <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Jammed With Action ! . . Loaded With Excitement ! . . . And Every Thrill-Packed Word Is True !


Passed | See all certifications »




| | |

Release Date:

27 January 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Father Duffy of the Fighting 69th  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60-minute radio adaptation of the movie on April 6, 1942, with Pat O'Brien reprising his film role. See more »


After the skirmish in the woods, an "unconscious" German prisoner obligingly stands on his feet prior to being carried back to the American lines. See more »


Jerry Plunkett: If they don't let us at those Boches pretty soon, I'll have to carve me up a top-sergeant!
Terence 'Crepe-Hanger' Burke: Don't mind him sarge, he's his own worst enemy!
Sergeant 'Big Mike' Wynn: Not while *I'm* alive, he ain't!
See more »


Referenced in Shining Through (1992) See more »


Silent Night, Holy Night
(1818) (uncredited)
Music by Franz Gruber
Lyrics by Joseph Mohr
Played on an organ and sung by the soldiers in church
See more »

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User Reviews

A WW I movie made during WW II. It explains the patriotic elements in this movie.
7 September 2006 | by (Groningen, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

This movie is just like most of the other movies from the '40's. It isn't too expensive or impressive looking but the movie serves its purpose.

Calling this movie a masterpiece would be an offense to other- true brilliant war movies. The movie remains way too simple and predictable for that. It doesn't make this movie as powerful as it perhaps could had been with a better story-flow and storytelling in general.

The movie its story is pretty simple and it mostly relies on themes such as comradeship and courage during a war situation. It provides the movie as a whole with a sort of patriotic undertone that however never really fully distracts from the movie. The movie still works well and at times also effective but it isn't all too impressive or memorable. Probably the only thing that makes this movie still a true recommendable and above average one, is the presence of James Cagney, in the main lead.

The rest of the acting is a bit bland and typically '40's over-the-top at certain points. Basically the James Cagney character is the only interesting one because of this but he honestly is not powerful or likable enough in his role, to carry the entire movie on his own.

It's sort of nice to see a movie focusing on WW I for a change. There really aren't that many WW I movies around, even though it was a really interesting time period with more than enough great and powerful stories to tell.

The movie is certainly not bad looking but it uses a bit too much stock-footage with as a result that the movie looks a bit cheap and perhaps even a bit silly. Further more the movie is also filled with a couple of odd and misplaced sequences (mostly patriotic and moralistic ones) that don't help to make this movie the easiest or most pleasant one to watch.

Good enough to watch it and effective at some points but for most part the movie remains nothing more than a distant and simple WW I movie.


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