The Fighting Lady (1944)

Approved  |   |  Documentary, War  |  15 August 1945 (France)
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The film follows the WWII exploits of the Essex-class aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-10) (unidentified in the film), in its first major operations following its commissioning in 1943. ... See full summary »


(as Commander Edward J Steichen USNR) , (uncredited)


(narration written by) (as John Stuart Martin) , (narration written by)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins. See more awards »
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Directors: George Gordon, Hugh Harman, and 1 more credit »
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Credited cast:
Narrator (voice) (as Lieut Robert Taylor USNR)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Récitant / Narrator (French version) (voice)
Joseph J. Clark ...
Himself (as Jocko)
Dixie Kiefer ...
Himself (as Dixie)
G.E. Lowe ...
John S. McCain ...
John Meehan ...
E.T. Stover ...


The film follows the WWII exploits of the Essex-class aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-10) (unidentified in the film), in its first major operations following its commissioning in 1943. The life of the crew is documented from July 1943 to June 1944, from its passage through the Panama Canal through assaults on Marcus, Kwajalein, Truk and Tinian Islands, and culminating with the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Spectacular 16mm Kodachrome footage of combat operations and naval aviation is prominent throughout. Written by scgary66

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Photographed in Zones of Combat by Men of U.S. Navy See more »


Documentary | War


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

15 August 1945 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Le combattant  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Some scenes were shot on carriers other than the Yorktown. Early in the film, as the carrier's air group is shown landing on the ship, one can see a blacked-out number "14" on the aft flight deck. This indicates those shots were taken aboard the U.S.S. Ticonderoga (CV-14) - another Essex-class carrier similar to the U.S.S. Yorktown (CV-10). The scene where the plane is dripping burning thermite on the deck after landing was shot on the U.S.S. Bunker Hill (CV-17). Aircraft from the Yorktown can be identified by the diagonal white strip on their tail's vertical stabilizer. See more »


Narrator: [commenting on the Japanese pilots] These little monkeys are fancy fliers.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Most of the credits appear as if they had been typed out on a teletype machine. See more »


Features Home in Indiana (1944) See more »

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User Reviews

Try to ignore the poor quality print and enjoy.
2 March 2013 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

"The Fighting Lady" is a documentary about an Essex class aircraft carrier during its tour in 1943-1944. The film is narrated by Robert Taylor--who was a lieutenant in the Naval Air Corps. Interestingly, there was a French version and it was narrated by Charles Boyer. It won the Oscar for Best Documentary. The ship was apparently the USS Yorktown--but not the original one (it was lost as a result of damage sustained at the Battle of Midway in 1942).

As you watch the film, you will no doubt notice that the print is in terrible condition, as the print is a bit blurry and the color is very faded. Perhaps it's made worse because originally it was shot on 16mm film stock.

The film is particularly interesting for historians, navy and aircraft buffs and perhaps for folks who lived through the war. Otherwise, I doubt if the average person would enjoy the film very much or rent it or buy it in the first place. It isn't that it's poorly made--it's that it's just very dated and the narration a bit dry. But, if you can look past this, it is a very good film from start to finish.

By the way, there were only two films nominated in this category for 1945--this one and "Resisting Enemy Interrogation"! Both are quite interesting and well made--and interesting peeks into the Americans in WWII.

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