Reap the Wild Wind (1942)

Not Rated  |   |  Action, Adventure, Drama  |  4 June 1942 (Mexico)
Your rating:
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 2,100 users  
Reviews: 39 user | 12 critic

Florida ship salvager, Loxi, falls for Jack, captain of a ship wrecked on the Key West shore. However, their romance is complicated by the arrival of another suitor, and eventually leads to tragedy.


(as Cecil B. De Mille)


(screenplay) (as Alan LeMay) , (screenplay), 5 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lynne Overman ...
Master of the 'Tyfib'
Walter Hampden ...
Commodre Devereaux
Louise Beavers ...
Maum Maria
Martha O'Driscoll ...
Ivy Devereaux
Elisabeth Risdon ...
Mrs. Claiborne
Aunt Henrietta
Victor Kilian ...
Oscar Polk ...
Salt Meat


Clipper ships taking the shortest route between the Mississippi and the Atlantic often end up on the shoals of Key West in the 1840s. Salvaging the ships' cargos has become a lucrative business for two companies -- one headed by a feisty young woman. Then she falls in love with the captain of a wrecked ship while he recuperates at her home. She travels to Charleston and is charming to the man most likely to be head of the captain's company, thinking she will be able to get the captain the position he wants on the company's first steam ship. Written by Dale O'Connor <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Cecil B. DeMille's Greatest Cecil B. DeMille's Greatest (original poster) See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

4 June 1942 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

Cecil B. De Mille's Reap the Wild Wind  »

Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


For the 1954 theatrical re-release, John Wayne was given top billing in the posters because of his increased star status, and Susan Hayward, who had since 1942 become a major star instead of a supporting player, was misleadingly billed second. Formerly top-billed Ray Milland got third billing in the new posters, while leading lady Paulette Goddard was demoted to fourth billing. See more »


The first time Loxi talks to Jack, her hat ribbon repeatedly changes position around her neck, between shots. See more »


Loxi: Where is Captain Jack?
Capt. Phillip Philpott: He's on a diving job. He'll be back this afternoon
Capt. Phillip Philpott: if his hat didn't leak!
See more »


Featured in Road to Bali (1952) See more »


'Tis But A Little Faded Flower
(1860) (uncredited)
Music by John Rogers Thomas
Lyrics by Frederick Enoch
Adapted by Troy Sanders (1942)
Played on piano and sung by Martha O'Driscoll (dubbed)
See more »

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User Reviews

Engrossing seafaring epic, sparked by standout performances and spectacular effects
27 June 2001 | by (Clifton, Virginia) – See all my reviews

Here's a lavish, exuberant tale of the high seas, produced and directed by Cecil B. DeMille, and presented with all the excess and spectacle the great showman built his career on. It involves shipwrecks, deep-sea diving, and giant squids, among other things. It's that rare kind of movie that's genuinely fun to watch, where you find yourself smiling because you're so engrossed in the story and the characters, often in spite of yourself. It's of the Saturday-afternoon-at-the-movies genre, where you leave plausibility at the door and put yourself in the hands of people who know how to entertain.

`Reap the Wild Wind' is the story of a sea captain (John Wayne) whose cargo ships are repeatedly sunk and plundered by a vicious crew of salvagers. When one of his ships is struck down, Wayne is rescued by a spirited southern belle (Paulette Goddard), with whom he falls in love. In order to help Wayne get the command he dreams of, Goddard becomes friendly with an influential lawyer (Ray Milland), and a love triangle develops. Through various turns of events, the two men find themselves on opposite sides of the fight against the raiders, with Goddard caught in between them. The story builds up to a spectacular battle with the squid, which single-handedly won the film an Oscar for its special effects.

The movie is well acted straight across the board. Wayne, having just achieved stardom, has the least colorful role but still registers strongly. Goddard plays her tempestuous role to the hilt, and is a joy to behold throughout. Her character is a welcome variation from the frail, straitlaced heroines of her time – she enjoys salty sea ballads, throws frequent tantrums and is not afraid to get her hands dirty – something of a toned-down Scarlett O'Hara. Raymond Massey is rightly villainous as the chief pillager. The highest acting honors go to Milland, however. His performance as the shrewd but foppish attorney is delightful, stealing scene after scene and providing priceless moments of comic relief, then turning noble toward the end.

In addition, the movie is beautiful to look at. At the time the film was made, color photography was still relatively new and quite costly, so it was generally reserved for epics. You can see every penny of it on the screen here. The direction is brisk and vigorous, and the visual effects are fantastic for that era or any other.

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