Hail the Conquering Hero (1944)

Passed  |   |  Comedy, War  |  9 August 1944 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 3,024 users  
Reviews: 35 user | 27 critic

Woodrow is discharged from the military for hay fever, but fabricates receiving an heroic honorable discharge before returning home.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Raymond Walburn ...
Mayor Noble
Reception Committee Chairman
Elizabeth Patterson ...
Martha - Libby's Aunt
Georgia Caine ...
Mrs. Truesmith
Al Bridge ...
Political Boss
Freddie Steele ...
Bill Edwards ...
Forrest Noble
Harry Hayden ...
Doc Bissell
Jimmy Conlin ...
Judge Dennis
Jimmie Dundee ...
Cpl. Candida


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


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


Comedy | War


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

9 August 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Herói de Mentira  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on November 5, 1945 with Eddie Bracken reprising his film role. See more »


Early in the movie, in the nightclub, there's a shot of a man sitting at a table eating a sandwich. After a quick cutaway the man is smoking and the sandwich is on his plate...untouched. See more »


Woodrow Lafayette Pershing Truesmith: [after hearing that the town wants to build a statue of him] What do I do now?
Sgt. Heppelfinger: Well, you just let it blow over.
Woodrow Lafayette Pershing Truesmith: Did you ever see a statue blow over?
See more »


Referenced in Aladdin (1992) See more »


Mademoiselle from Armentieres
(Also Called "Hinky Dinky Parley Voo")
Music traditional
In the score several times
See more »

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User Reviews

Sturges' best!
3 May 1999 | by (California) – See all my reviews

A great, great movie; one so-well written and with such astonishing momentum I can watch it twice in one sitting or just sample bits and pieces when I wish. Eddie Bracken, who was pretty hard to take in MIRACLE AT MORGAN'S CREEK, is perfect here. Raymond Walburn's performance is sheer genius; the section in which he dictates his speech first to his son and then his son's fiancee is hilarious -- a masterpiece of verbiage, characterization, and timing. Notice also, the subtle directing, such as when the camera pans in perfect time to catch the re-election poster. Beyond praise.

CONQUERING HERO packs an emotional wallop lacking, I think, in Sturges' other movies -- and I mean emotion other than joy and giddiness, of course. Bracken's speeches which frame the film are beautifully written, directed, and performed; the last speech is terribly moving.

Sturges lost his Paramount deal after this film, and never quite regained his footing. That famous clutch of films culminates here in his best film, and all his ingenuity and grace are firmly in place. God bless Preston Sturges.

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

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