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Flying Leathernecks (1951)

Approved  |   |  Drama, War, Action  |  28 August 1951 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 3,169 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 16 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
Edit

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 »
Edit

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

John Wayne's character in this movie, Major Daniel Xavier Kirby, was based on Captain John Lucien Smith, USMC Ace who was Commanding Officer in the Marine Fighting Squadron 223 at Guadalcanal in 1942 during World War II. Smith was a Medal of Honor recipient in 1943 and a leader of the "Cactus" Air Force. Smith, a wildcat fighter pilot, shot down nineteen Japanese airplanes over Guadalcanal in 1942. Smith's achievements and commendations were well known to the public prior to this film being made. Smith was eventually promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and likewise, Wayne's Kirby character is also promoted to the same rank in this movie. Moreover, there is also a physical likeness and resemblance between Wayne and Smith. See more »

Goofs

A couple of the Grumman F6F Hellcats in the close support strafing run weren't the proper plane. They were Curtiss SB2C Helldivers, not an ideal close support aircraft with the big Wright R-2600 18 cylinder engine in the nose. The tails were distinctively different and rather unique to any airplane. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Majestic (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A hell of a way to run a war.
11 August 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Flying Leathernecks" takes an old theme, namely, a struggle between commanders and their subordinates about how to conduct a mission, but treats it rather lamely compared with other films. "Leathernecks" tries to cover too much territory in advancing the cause of air combat Marines as a documentary and establishing a personal story line within a Marine unit.

A subplot concerning one commander's over-identification with his men has resonances with "Twelve O'Clock High," but is not explored to the extent of the latter picture. Again, the result of trying to cover too much ground in one film.

Two Clark Gable pictures, "Command Decision" and "Run Silent, Run Deep," are much stronger in their depiction of such conflict. Even better still are films like "The Caine Mutiny" and "Crimson Tide."


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