The Long Gray Line (1955)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Comedy, Drama  |  9 February 1955 (USA)
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The life story of a salt-of-the-earth Irish immigrant, who becomes an Army Noncommissioned Officer and spends his 50 year career at the United States Military Academy at West Point. This ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (based upon "Bringing Up the Brass" by), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mary O'Donnell
Old Martin
Capt. Herman J. Kohler
Kitty Carter
Charles 'Chuck' Dotson (as Phil Carey)
William Leslie ...
James Nilsson 'Red' Sundstrom
Abner 'Cherub' Overton
Sean McClory ...
Dinny Maher
Erin O'Brien-Moore ...
Mrs. Koehler (as Erin O'Brien Moore)
Walter Ehlers ...
Mike Shannon (as Walter D. Ehlers)


The life story of a salt-of-the-earth Irish immigrant, who becomes an Army Noncommissioned Officer and spends his 50 year career at the United States Military Academy at West Point. This includes his job-related experiences as well as his family life and the relationships he develops with young cadets with whom he befriends. Based on the life of a real person. Written by Dennis Huffman<>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Warms Your Heart! STIRS YOUR BLOOD! and fires your imagination!


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

9 February 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John Ford's The Long Gray Line  »

Box Office


$1,748,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Walter Ehlers ("Mike Shannon") received the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism on July 9/10, 1944, at Normandy, France. He was a Staff Sergeant in the 18th Infantry Regiment of the 1st Division. See more »


Cadets and officers are shown at chapel on December 7, 1941, a Sunday. An announcement is made that Japan has bombed Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor was attacked at 7:55 AM, Hawaii time, which is 12:55 PM New York time, with chapel services already having concluded. See more »


Jim O'Carberry: This is Marty Maher. Whitey Larson.
Martin 'Marty' Maher: How do you do, sir?
Jim O'Carberry: If you have any trouble with horses, drop around and see Marty.
Whitey Larson: But he's in the infantry!
Jim O'Carberry: Well naturally! He knows horses. You don't think they'd put him in the cavalry, do ya?
See more »


Referenced in A Football Life: The Forward Pass (2013) See more »


Auld Lang Syne
Traditional Scottish ballad with words by Robert Burns
Played at the final parade
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

One of Ford's Finest!!!
7 February 2003 | by (Quincy, Michigan) – See all my reviews

If you like Irish character studies you'll love this movie. This movie follows in flash back 50 years in the true-life story of Irish immigrant Martin Maher. Tyrone Power plays Martin wonderfully. When Martin arrives in America he takes a civilian waiter job at the US Military Academy at West Point. Docked for "breakage", he joins the Army and works at several different jobs at the Point. The last job being assistant to the "Master of the Sword" played by the very versatile Ford stock company player (Ward Bond). At West Point, Martin meets and marries the love of his life Mary O'Donnell marvelously brought to life by Maureen O'Hara. Martin and Mary setup housekeeping and are able to bring Martin's father Old Martin (Donald Crisp) and brother Dinny to America. When Old Martin first meets Mary he is impressed when he asks if she still `Has the Irish' and she is able to speak in Gaelic.

As the movie unfolds you will really care about Martin, Mary, old Martin and the cadets Martin helps through the Academy. Due to talent of the director John Ford and cast, the characters appear to be real people--not just a bunch of actors who made a movie. You'll be fascinated by the class "The Stars Fell On " (graduating class of Generals Eisenhower, Bradley, etc.) This movie will stir up patriotic feelings, but also shows the high cost of war. You will smile and just might shed a tear before this one is over. You will not regret the time spent with Martin Maher--and may find yourself thinking about this movie for a long time after you see it. This is indeed, one of Pappy Ford's finest.

33 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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