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When Willie Comes Marching Home (1950)

Approved | | Comedy, War | February 1950 (USA)
Willie Kluggs enters the service with hopes of going overseas, but his uncanny marksmanship keeps him at home as a shooting instructor... much to his embarrassment.



(based on a story by), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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


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Complete credited cast:
William 'Bill' Kluggs
Yvonne Le Tete
Colleen Townsend ...
Marjorie 'Marge' Fettles
Herman Kluggs
Charles 'Charlie' Fettles (as James Lydon)
Lloyd Corrigan ...
Maj. Adams
Evelyn Varden ...
Mrs. Gertrude Kluggs
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
John Mitchum ...
Schreves (scenes deleted)
Kerrigan (scenes deleted)


When Willie leaves home to join the war effort he is all ready to become a hero, but he is only frustrated when his posting ends up to be in his home town, and he is recruited into training, keeping him from the action. However, when he finds himself accidently behind enemy lines he unexpectedly becomes a hero after all. Written by David Gibson <djg6@ukc.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | War


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

February 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Naš Willy je junak  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


June Haver declined to play the role of Marge Fettles. In response, Twentieth Century-Fox placed her on suspension. See more »


When the P38 Lightning is flying, it produces a single radial engine sound effect. The radial engine has it's own distinct sound. The P38 uses two water-cooled twelve cylinder (V12) engines with a complete different sound than the air-cooled radial engine. See more »


William 'Bill' Kluggs: Somehow that stop-off at Loring Field began to stretch out like a visiting mother-in-law.
See more »


Referenced in Becoming John Ford (2007) See more »


The Army Air Corps Song
Written by Robert Crawford
Played as background at the airfield
See more »

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User Reviews

Piling Up Good Conduct Medals
25 May 2011 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Although John Ford put in some touches that would make When Willie Comes Marching Home an identifiable Ford film, the film while good will never be considered in his top ten. It's more like the kind of service comedy Bob Hope would have done over at Paramount.

Dan Dailey is in the lead here and this would be the first of three films he did for John Ford, the other two being What Price Glory and The Wings Of Eagles. It's also the only one where we saw any of Dan Dailey's singing and dancing talents on display in a number.

Dailey who hails from Punxatawney, West Virginia is having as typical a Sunday as one would have been having in America on December 7, 1941. He's rehearsing with the band he plays trombone in when news of Pearl Harbor comes over the radio. His father William Demarest is head of the Punxatawney American Legion Post and as luck would have it Dailey is the first man drafted in the town.

But he turns out to be so skilled a marksman that he's needed as an instructor. And wouldn't you know it he's stationed at a new base near the old home town where everyone sees everyone else being shipped off to war. It plays havoc with your ego, even his girlfriend Colleen Townsend has her doubts especially since her brother was shipped off to the Pacific.

But within a week fortune both frowns and smiles on Dailey. He gets assigned as a belly gunner in a B-17 crew, gets shot down over France, meets beautiful resistance leader Corinne Calvet and performs a deed that might just change the course of the war. How that all works out you'll have to see When Willie Comes Marching Home.

I wasn't expecting to see Dailey sing and dance, but that's always a treat. He handles the comedy well, but Ford does not do comedy pictures. He's got a lot of rough house comedy in some of his best work, but they're not the center of the plot. This film would have also been better had a director like George Marshall or Frank Tashlin been at the helm. And while Dailey is good, Bob Hope would have made this a classic.

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