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Flying Leathernecks (1951)

 -  Drama | War | Action  -  28 August 1951 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 2,850 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 15 critic

Major Kirby leads The Wildcats squadron into the historic WWII battle of Guadalcanal.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (story), 1 more credit »
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Title: Flying Leathernecks (1951)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Capt. Carl 'Griff' Griffin
Don Taylor ...
Janis Carter ...
Joan Kirby
...
MSgt. Clancy, Line Chief
William Harrigan ...
Dr. Lt.Cdr. Joe Curran
James Bell ...
Colonel
Barry Kelley ...
Brigadier General
Maurice Jara ...
Shorty Vegay
...
Lt. Bert Malotke
James Dobson ...
Lt. Pudge McCabe
Carleton Young ...
Col. Riley
Michael St. Angel ...
Capt. Harold Jorgensen, Ops. Officer (as Steve Flagg)
Brett King ...
1st Lt. Ernie Stark
Gordon Gebert ...
Tommy Kirby
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Storyline

Major Daniel Kirby takes command of a squadron of Marine fliers just before they are about to go into combat. While the men are well meaning, he finds them undisciplined and prone to always finding excuses to do what is easy rather than what is necessary. The root of the problem is the second in command, Capt. Carl 'Griff' Griffin. Griff is the best flier in the group but Kirby finds him a poor commander who is not prepared to the difficult decision that all commanders have to make - to put men in harm's way knowing that they may be killed. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From Guadalcanal to Okinawa...the Marine air-devils blazed a trail of glory...while the women they left behind fought battles of their own! (1956 reissue poster) See more »

Genres:

Drama | War | Action

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 August 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Devil Dogs of the Air  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(archive footage)| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The squadron's designation in the movie was VMF-247 "Wildcats" but in the movie was based on VMF-223 "The Bulldogs". VMF-223 was a Marine fighter squadron that flew Grumman F4F Wildcats. They were also formed at MCAS Ewa on Oahu and was the first fighter squadron at the Battle of Guadalcanal. The unit still exists to this day as VMA-223, or Marine Attack Squadron 223. Based at Cherry Point, NC, it is comprised of AV-8B Harrier (V/STOL) jets and is under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 14. The unit has flown in every major conflict from WWII to Iraq and Afghanistan. See more »

Goofs

Early in the movie, it states the date was summer 1942. This would make the planes and insignia incorrect. After Pearl Harbor, the insignia removed the red circle inside the white star, but didn't have the white sidebars. Further, the planes shown are Grumman F6F Hellcats. In 1942 the Navy/Marines used the Grumman F4F Wildcat. The Hellcat didn't tangle with Japanese planes until the later half of 1943. See more »

Connections

Featured in The John Wayne Anthology (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

 
FLYING LEATHERNECKS (Nicholas Ray, 1951) **1/2
26 May 2007 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

I had previously watched this one on TV, but I recall being underwhelmed by it: I liked the film better a second time around, but it’s clearly no classic (despite director Ray and co-star Robert Ryan’s involvement); contrary to Ray’s best work, which is marked by his personal touch, he’s strictly a director-for-hire on this particular title.

The film is one of several war-themed Wayne vehicles from this era, a good number of which I’ve yet to catch up with – FLYING TIGERS (1942), THE FIGHTING SEABEES (1944), BACK TO BATAAN (1945) and OPERATION PACIFIC (1951). It’s similar to Wayne’s FORT APACHE (1948), where he’s now portraying the martinet role played in that John Ford cavalry picture by Henry Fonda – though he’s well-matched with the long-suffering Ryan (cast against type as an overly sensitive executive officer dedicated to his squad). The latter element, then, links the film with such archetypal flying pictures as ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS (1939) and TWELVE O’CLOCK HIGH (1949) – where the group leader is constantly forced to make tough decisions in which the life of his men has to be put in jeopardy. For this reason, too, Wayne’s a generally glum presence here – apart from his interaction with Jay C. Flippen as an amiably roguish old-timer; from the remaining supporting cast, Don Taylor is equally notable as the wise-guy crew member who happens to be a relative of Ryan’s.

The action sequences are exciting (domestic asides are unsurprisingly dull but thankfully brief).even if utilizing an astonishing amount of grainy WWII stock footage which, while giving it a sense of raw authenticity, also tends to stick out rather too obviously alongside the soft yet agreeable Technicolor adopted for the rest of the film! In the end, FLYING LEATHERNECKS may be corny but it’s reasonably enjoyable – and occasionally stirring – for all that.


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