7.8/10
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Hail the Conquering Hero (1944)

Passed | | Comedy, War | September 1944 (USA)
Woodrow is discharged from the military for hay fever, but fabricates receiving a heroic honorable discharge before returning home.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
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Mayor Everett J. Noble
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Reception Committee Chairman
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Aunt Martha
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Mrs. Truesmith
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Political Boss
Freddie Steele ...
Bugsy
Bill Edwards ...
Forrest Noble
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Doc Bissell
Jimmy Conlin ...
Judge Dennis
Jimmie Dundee ...
Cpl. Candida
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Storyline

Having been discharged from the Marines for a hayfever condition before ever seeing action, Woodrow Lafayette Pershing Truesmith (Eddie Bracken) delays the return to his hometown, feeling that he is a failure. While in a moment of melancholy, he meets up with a group of Marines who befriend him and encourage him to return home to his mother by fabricating a story that he was wounded in battle with honorable discharge. They make him wear a uniform complete with medals and is pushed by his new friends into accepting a Hero's welcome when he gets home where he is to be immortalized by a statue that he doesn't want, has songs written about his heroic battle stories, and ends up unwillingly running for mayor. Despite his best efforts to explain the truth, no one will listen. Written by J. Adam Ingle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

MIRACLES DO HAPPEN! (original print ad - all caps)

Genres:

Comedy | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

September 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Herói de Mentira  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies. See more »

Goofs

Camera shadow on the backs of citizens when Woodrow comes out of the house after being nominated for mayor. See more »

Quotes

Train Ticket Clerk: [after Woodrow buys tickets to leave] Where are you going? Thought you was running for mayor.
Woodrow Lafayette Pershing Truesmith: I changed my mind.
Train Ticket Clerk: That's very unusual.
Woodrow Lafayette Pershing Truesmith: Well, this is an unusual case
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Majestic (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

My Ideal
(1930)(uncredited)
Music by Richard A. Whiting and Newell Chase
Lyrics by Leo Robin
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User Reviews

 
Last of the best of Sturges
24 April 2004 | by (Melbourne, Australia) – See all my reviews

The last of the really great comedies that Preston Sturges directed had a more serious undertone than his previous films. This is not to say that Hail the Conquering Hero isn't hilarious though. It is just as intelligent, fast-paced, subversive and witty as could be expected from the writer/director of The Lady Eve and The Palm Beach Story.

Eddie Bracken plays Woodrow Truesmith, a would-be marine who was discharged from service for chronic hay fever. Woodrow, whose father died a hero during WWI, hasn't had the heart to tell his mother about his discharge and has been pretending to still be on the front line. When he befriends a group of marines on leave, they dress him up as a hero and bring him home to make his mother happy, not anticipating that his whole town will give him a hero's welcome.

Considering that the film was made during the war, it is surprising the way it satirises the notion of the war hero as well as the attitudes of those who did not go away to fight. The awestruck townspeople are depicted as being rather gullible while the marines are shown as a tough, cohesive unit, if maybe a bit dishonest and mercenary (and in one case slightly unhinged). The film has fine production values and great performances across the board but it is Sturges' script, with its marvellous characterisations and sparkling dialogue, that really shines. If you like Preston Sturges' other, earlier comedies, this film is essential viewing.


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