Destroyer (1943)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, Drama, War  |  19 August 1943 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.6/10 from 827 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 6 critic

Flagwaving story of a new American destroyer, the JOHN PAUL JONES, from the day her keel is laid, to what was very nearly her last voyage. Among the crew, is Steve Boleslavski, a shipyard ... See full summary »


, (uncredited)


(screen play), (screen play), 2 more credits »
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Framed (1947)
Crime | Film-Noir | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Mike Lambert, seeking a mining job, instead becomes the patsy for a femme-fatale's schemes.

Director: Richard Wallace
Stars: Glenn Ford, Janis Carter, Barry Sullivan
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

When retired racket boss John Sarto tries to reclaim his place and former friends try to kill him, he finds solace in a monastery and reinvents himself as a pious monk.

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sothern
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The career of a Nazi officer shown as flashbacks from his trial as a war criminal.

Director: André De Toth
Stars: Marsha Hunt, Alexander Knox, Henry Travers
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Major Jock Sinclair has been in this Highland regiment since he joined as a boy piper. During the Second World War, as Second-in-Command, he was made acting Commanding Officer. Now the ... See full summary »

Director: Ronald Neame
Stars: Alec Guinness, John Mills, Susannah York
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

During WWII, a submarine's second in command inherits the problem of torpedoes that don't explode. When on shore, he is eager to win back his ex-wife.

Director: George Waggner
Stars: John Wayne, Patricia Neal, Ward Bond
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

When the head of a large manufacturing firm dies suddenly from a stroke, his vice-presidents vie to see who will replace him.

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: William Holden, Barbara Stanwyck, June Allyson
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An idealistic rookie cop joins the LAPD to make ends meet while finishing law school, and is indoctrinated by a seasoned veteran. As time goes on, he loses his ambitions and family as police work becomes his entire life.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: George C. Scott, Stacy Keach, Jane Alexander
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

As the US Army approaches Nazi Germany, they recruit German prisoners to spy behind German lines.

Director: Anatole Litvak
Stars: Richard Basehart, Gary Merrill, Oskar Werner
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Set during the Korean War, a Navy fighter pilot must come to terms with with his own ambivalence towards the war and the fear of having to bomb a set of highly defended bridges. The ending of this grim war drama is all tension.

Director: Mark Robson
Stars: William Holden, Grace Kelly, Fredric March
Time Table (1956)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

As a train speeds through the Arizona night, a man posing as a physician holds up the baggage-car crew and escapes with a $500,000 payroll. The fake doctor, Paul Bruckner, leaves the train ... See full summary »

Director: Mark Stevens
Stars: Mark Stevens, King Calder, Felicia Farr
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Montanans Jim Redfern and Mike Evans head into Canada's British Columbia via the Cariboo Trail intent to raise cattle and dig for gold but find trouble instead.

Director: Edwin L. Marin
Stars: Randolph Scott, George 'Gabby' Hayes, Bill Williams
Roadblock (1951)
Crime | Film-Noir | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Honest LA insurance detective Joe Peters becomes corrupt after falling in love with sensual gold-digger model Diane.

Director: Harold Daniels
Stars: Charles McGraw, Joan Dixon, Lowell Gilmore


Cast overview:
Steve Boleslavski (as Edward G.Robinson)
Mickey Donohue
Kansus Jackson
Lt. Cmdr. Clark
Edward Brophy ...
Casey (as Ed Brophy)
Warren Ashe ...
Lt. Marton


Flagwaving story of a new American destroyer, the JOHN PAUL JONES, from the day her keel is laid, to what was very nearly her last voyage. Among the crew, is Steve Boleslavski, a shipyard welder that helped build her, who reenlists, with his old rank of Chief boatswain's mate. After failing her sea trials, she is assigned to the mail run, until caught up in a disparate battle with a Japanese sub. After getting torpedoed, and on the verge of sinking, the Captain, and crew hatch a plan to try and save the ship, and destroy the sub. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

welder | ship | uso | torpedo | ship launch | See All (12) »


You'll Always Remember . . . And Never Forget . . . Destroyer


Adventure | Drama | War


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

19 August 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Destructor  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


During the air attack on the destroyer, U.S. airplanes pose as Japanese planes; specifically, Douglas SBD dive bombers with solid circles painted on their wings, and a Grumman Avenger torpedo bomber.During the strafing runs, close ups of the planes' noses show two machine guns. Both the Douglas SBD and Zero had these, albeit of different calibers. See more »


When searching for Japanese aircraft with the ship's radar, a loud "ping" and echo sound is repeatedly heard. Radar systems do not make noises - this sound effect is from a SONAR system. This mistake is repeated several times during the movie. On other occasions, the same sound effect is correctly used when searching for submarines with the SONAR system. See more »


Steve Boleslavski: Sighted schooners, sank same.
[Said after confiscating two tallboy beer cans in the engine room]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue:

Destroyers --"Tin Cans" as they are affectionately called by those who man them -- are the busy bodies of the Fleet.

Always looking for trouble -- generally finding it.

Proud little ships because they bear the names of great heroes of the Service and keep alive the fighting traditions of our Navy. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Was there a subtle message in this film?
3 August 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Others have commented about the fine cast, good acting and relative action in this film. What many viewers – and most or all of the commenters so far – may have missed is that the story and script for "Destroyer" came from Frank "Spig" Wead. Wead had an illustrious Navy career in WWI and later. He was one of the very first Navy fliers and helped promote naval aviation. In 1926, he broke his neck when he fell down the stairs in his family's new home. His surgery was successful, but he had to walk with crutches or a cane the rest of his life. He retired from the Navy and began writing books and screenplays. The latter were mostly about the Navy and most were made into very good movies.

When World War II broke out Wead was reactivated and helped with the planning and tactics involving naval aircraft in the Pacific. He went to sea and took part in several naval battles before finally retiring in early 1944. During the war and for several years after, he wrote the screenplays for a number of movies that Hollywood produced. Other big movies based on his books and screenplays include "Wings for Men" in 1931, "Test Pilot" in 1938, "The Citadel" in 1938, "Dive Bomber" in 1941, and "They Were Expendable" in 1945. Wead died at age 52 in 1947 after surgery. MGM produced a movie in 1957 about him, "The Wings of Eagles." John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara played Spig and his wife, Min.

Something about this movie, with the fact the Spig Wead wrote the story and screenplay, leads me to believe that there is a subtle message in it. The film came out toward the middle of the war, with two more years to go (although no one could know that at the time). And look at the plot. A new ship is taken out for trial runs and has so many things go wrong that it had to come back for repairs at least three times. We see rivets popping, seams leaking, pipes breaking, motors and other things blowing. As a viewer, I thought that the critics in the movie were right. The ship was a piece of junk – in spite of Edward G. Robinson's pleas to the contrary. And, just think – if that happened with all or many ships, it's a wonder we had a Navy afloat at all to do battle.

But that obviously wasn't the case – as the Navy brass ordered the ship to do mail delivery duty because it was unfit for service in the combat fleet. So, this ship just happened to be a lemon, right? Now think back to the opening scenes where Robinson is a civilian working on the crew that is building this new ship. Remember the several instances when he calls different workers to task for cutting corners? He tells one welder that he can't "cold" weld along a seam. The worker says that he can do that, and Robinson says that it would leak and he urges the guy to do it right. We see a few other subtle little scenes like this. I remember thinking that if that's the way the war-time shipbuilding yards were all working, they were sure doing a lot to help the enemy sink our ships.

But the volume of records and evidence we have show that our wartime industries and workers took pride in doing their jobs right and well. They knew that the planes, and ships, and tanks, and weapons they were making were for the Americans and other fighting men who were defending freedom and our shores with their lives. They were their sons and brothers, husbands and fathers, uncles and cousins, and boy friends and neighbors. So, the workers took pride in what they did and in doing it right.

That's why I think Wead wrote a subtle message into the screenplay – and Columbia kept it in the movie intentionally. It was a message to the home front workers about how important their jobs were and that they needed to do them well. The movie gave a picture of what could happen if the home front workers did sloppy work or cut corners. They would endanger the lives of many fellow Americans. They could cause the loss of ships, aircraft and battles.

If you doubt this, watch the movie again, and watch for those instances of shoddy or faulty workmanship that Robinson points out to his fellow workers. And then watch for the problems they have during their trial runs to get the ship battle ready. I'll just bet that the home front workers who saw this movie in 1943 were more than a little upset at what they saw. And if it had been up to them in real life, all those goldbrickers in the movie shipyard would have been canned.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
DVD available? highwaystar50
Ford was Navy!! nick7dawg
Not a goof. navyvet-1
Sinking Ship ! dcowell-1
Enjoying It Right Now on TCM SevernGuy
Discuss Destroyer (1943) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: