6.2/10
1,058
47 user 7 critic

'Gung Ho!': The Story of Carlson's Makin Island Raiders (1943)

The true story of Carlson's Raiders and their World War II attack on Makin Island.

Director:

Writers:

(story) (as Lt. W.S. LeFrancois U.S.M.C.), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

With Prime Video

WATCH NOW
ON DISC

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Go for Broke! (1951)
Certificate: Passed Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The story of Japanese-American soldiers who fought in Europe during World War II.

Director: Robert Pirosh
Stars: Van Johnson, Lane Nakano, George Miki
Destroyer (1943)
Adventure | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A new World War 2 battleship fails its fighting trials so it is assigned to mail runs , but the crew ends up having to engage Japanese planes and a submarine, anyway.

Directors: William A. Seiter, Ray Enright
Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Glenn Ford, Marguerite Chapman
Mystery | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Ranch hand Rocklin arrives in town to start his new job but his employer has been murdered and the locals don't seem too friendly.

Director: Edwin L. Marin
Stars: John Wayne, Ella Raines, Ward Bond
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

During WWII, a platoon of American soldiers trudge through the Italian countryside in search of a bridge they have been ordered to blow up, encountering danger and destruction along the way.

Director: Lewis Milestone
Stars: Dana Andrews, Richard Conte, George Tyne
The Big Lift (1950)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Experiences of two Air Force sergeants during the 1948 Berlin Airlift.

Director: George Seaton
Stars: Montgomery Clift, Paul Douglas, Cornell Borchers
Men in War (1957)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

During the Korean War, a battle-worn lieutenant and his platoon are behind enemy lines, and have orders to march to Hill 465 for possible relief.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Robert Ryan, Aldo Ray, Robert Keith
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

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.

Director: William Keighley
Stars: James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, George Brent
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In 1885, a Texas Ranger travels to Canada to arrest a trapper who's wanted for murder and who's stirring up the Natives in a rebellion against the Canadian government.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Gary Cooper, Madeleine Carroll, Paulette Goddard
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Inspired by Churcill's Dunkirk speech, brash, undisciplined bush pilot Brian MacLean and three friends enlist in the RCAF but are deemed too old to be fliers.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: James Cagney, Dennis Morgan, Brenda Marshall
Unconquered (1947)
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Intrepid frontiersman Chris Holden foils the political and personal ambitions of renegade Martin Garth in the Ohio Valley following the French and Indian War.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Gary Cooper, Paulette Goddard, Howard Da Silva
Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

During the California Gold Rush, Boston pharmacist Tom Craig sets up shop in Sacramento where he clashes with local town crook Britt Dawson.

Director: William C. McGann
Stars: John Wayne, Binnie Barnes, Albert Dekker
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

During the early days of the Korean War, U.S. Army colonel Steve Janowski is one of the military advisers training the South Korean army and he's tasked with evacuating American civilians from the war zone.

Director: Tay Garnett
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Ann Blyth, William Talman
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Lt. C.J. Cristoforos
...
Leo 'Transport' Andreof
...
Larry O'Ryan
...
Capt. Dunphy
...
'Gunner' McBride
...
Lt. Roland Browning
...
'Pig-Iron' Matthews
...
Rube Tedrow
...
Kathleen Corrigan
...
Cmdr. Blake
...
Kozzarowski
Harold Landon ...
Frankie Montana
Edit

Storyline

Seven weeks after Pearl Harbor, volunteers form the new 2nd Marine Raider Battalion whose purpose is to raid Japanese-held islands. The men selected come from different walks of life but have toughness in common. Under command of Colonel 'Thorwald', they're trained in all imaginable forms of combat. Then, after a perilous submarine journey, they face a daunting first mission: to annihilate the much larger Japanese garrison on Makin Island, in a lengthy battle sequence. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

island | mission | battle | combat | marine | See All (59) »

Taglines:

THRILLS! EXCITEMENT! ACTION! (original ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

20 December 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gung Ho!  »

Box Office

Budget:

$866,898 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the first film appearance of the M1 Garand, the standard rifle of the U.S. Army and Marines during WWII and Korea. See more »

Goofs

The U.S. Marines were not issued Garand semi-automatic rifles until after the Guadalcanal invasion, so it might be thought that the Raiders would have been using M1903 Springfield bolt-action rifles in the raid on Makin in August, 1942. However, since James Roosevelt, the President's son, was a member of the raiding party, the Makin raiders were issued the most up-to-date weaponry, which included the Garands. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Loose Women (1997) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Ding Hao!
8 November 2001 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

Of the two Marine Raider Battalions made famous by their exploits at Guadalcanal and elsewhere, Edson's First and Carlson's Second, the Second was by far the ideologically weirdest. Both were thought of -- and thought of themselves -- as elite units, but in many ways they couldn't have been more different. Edson was a by-the-book military man who took marinehood several powers beyond the norm. They were looked at askance by other members of the military. Edson's emphasis was on combat performance locked into a rigidly authoritarian cast structure.

But Carlson's (here Thorwald's)background, temperament, and training methods were revolutionary, in a literal sense. Between the wars, Carlson had taken a kind of vacation from the Marine Corps and spent it studying the Chinese Communists and learning from them, especially the development of what they called "Gung Ho," which translates as something like "good public spirit" but has been degraded in meaning over the years until, when I was in the military, it had all the pejorative value of "chickenshit." Carlson was a committed leader, openly concerned about his men's welfare, what William James would have called "tender minded." His outfit, men and officers alike, lived together in both training and combat, suffered the same hardship, ate the same food, held bellyaching sessions in which anyone could say anything, good or bad, about anyone else, as close as you get to group therapy. The movie soft pedals much of this, and God forbid the word "communism" should be spoken aloud.

The Raider Battalion's most famous engagement was the raid of Makin Island in the Gilberts (pronounced more like "Moggin" than what it looks like). It wasn't the unqualified success the picture gives us. After the rubber boats reached shore and the attack was initiated, resistance increased and it looked like the raid would fail, so Carlson called for a retreat back to the boats. Unfortunately, as Carlson had foreseen, the heavy surf flooded outboard engines and overturned many of the craft, drowning numbers of men. As it turned out, however, the Japanese had more or less disappeared and the mission was accomplished, except that nine of the men who had not been killed in combat or drowned had gotten lost in the dark or wound up on another atoll. They were later rounded up, taken to Kwajalein and beheaded.

The raid did no long-term damage except to convince the enemy that the Gilberts would soon be invaded (which was true) and that fortifications should be reinforced (which they were). I love this movie. It has every cliché in the book. Brawling rivals, a Jewish sidekick called "Transpawt" by Randolph Scott, treacherous Japs, stupid Japs, Marines throwing knives with deadly accuracy, one of our boys can beat a dozen of theirs, explosions galore filling the air with flying balsa wood, bayonets, judo, interesting rifle-shot sounds, Japanese pilots giggling maniacally while they unknowingly slaughter their own soldiers -- ding hau!

The crowning moment: Colonel Thorwald begins one of those patriotic speeches about how we have to win the war, and the peace that will follow too, and turns mid-way through the speech and looks directly through the camera lens at the wartime audience, and the image on screen becomes a sinking ship flying a Japanese flag. Could there be anything better if you're seeking patriotic laughs from a movie? Shortly after Guadalcanal, the Raider Batallions were both disbanded, the Corps believing that since every Marine was elite anyway the Corps had no need for whole outfits of them.


30 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?