Wake Island (1942)

Approved  |   |  Action, Drama, War  |  11 August 1942 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,295 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 15 critic

December, 1941. With no hope of relief or re-supply, a small band of United States Marines try to keep the Japanese Navy from capturing their island base.



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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Maj. Geoffrey Caton
Lt. Bruce Cameron
Pvt. Joe Doyle
Pvt. Aloysius K. 'Smacksie' Randall
Shad McClosky
Cmdr. Roberts
Mikhail Rasumny ...
Ivan Probenzky
Rod Cameron ...
Capt. Pete Lewis
Bill Goodwin ...
Sgt. Higbee / Narrator
Damian O'Flynn ...
Capt. Bill Patrick
Johnny Rudd


In November 1941, Major Caton takes command of the small Marine garrison on Wake Island. His tendency toward spit and polish upsets the men's tropical lassitude, but Pearl Harbor changes everything. Soon the island is attacked and the Marines pull together day by day; but how long can they hold out? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


America will never forget! See more »


Action | Drama | War


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

11 August 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Heldenlegioen  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film shows the death of the naval commander due to battle wounds with the defense being commanded by marine officers but the factual real life scenario was that Commander Winfield S. Cunningham survived the battle and the war. See more »


During one of the scenes showing the bombardment of the island, the Marine CO has ordered the observation tower evacuated. Later scenes show two men still in the tower when it is destroyed. See more »


Pvt. Aloysius K. 'Smacksie' Randall: Boys, the honeymoon's over. From now on you're marines.
See more »


Referenced in Pulp Fiction (1994) See more »


Marine Hymn
Music by Jacques Offenbach ("Gendarme's Duet") 1867
Heard under opening credirs
See more »

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User Reviews

History Channel debunks this script
4 June 2003 | by See all my reviews

This week the History Channel presented a fine documentary on this action. No question that the Wake Island defenders were heroic in every way, but they did not fight to the last man, as the film implied. The commanding officer surrendered the island to the Japanese after an American admiral decided the Marines weren't worth it and recalled a task force steaming to Wake's rescue. The Japanese decided not to follow their instincts and murder their captives outright, knowing the atrocity would be obvious. Later, when defeat was imminent, the Japanese commander in a rage murdered all the civilians; he was hanged for it. The few surviving Marines endured terrible captivity until the war's end. Six of them were featured in the documentary. Their stories were heart-wrenching.

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