Mister Roberts (1955)

Unrated  |   |  Comedy, Drama, War  |  4 December 1955 (Japan)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 12,426 users  
Reviews: 80 user | 24 critic

Comedy-drama about life on a not particularly important ship of the US Navy during WW2.


(screenplay) (as Frank Nugent) , (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mannion (as Phil Carey)
Nick Adams ...
Robert Roark ...
Bookser (as Pat Wayne)
Tige Andrews ...
Wiley (as Tiger Andrews)


Mister Roberts is aboard a US cargo ship, working in the Pacific during the Second World War. He'd do anything to leave the quiet of the ship to join in the "action". Trouble is, the captain of the ship, is a bit of a tyrant, and isn't willing to sign Roberts' transfer requests. Also on board is Ensign Pulver, who avoids work as best he can, whilst living off the riches of his buying and selling. Roberts and the crew are in constant battle, even over the smallest of disagreements. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Six-Year Stage Smash on the Screen! See more »


Comedy | Drama | War


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

4 December 1955 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Keine Zeit für Heldentum  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$21,200,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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Did You Know?


A number of modifications to the AKL exterior appearance were made for the film. The "palm tree" was located on a "deck" built for the movie by extending the small deckhouse of the AKL and building movie set ladders to the bridge and main deck. The crew, when going below to their berthing compartment, are shown in the movie to be descending into the cargo hold. See more »


When Roberts is talking to the sailors inside after his confrontation with the Captain about his letter requesting a transfer, all the sweat stains on his shirt have disappeared. See more »


Doug Roberts: Doc, he lies in his sack all day long, bores me silly with great, moronic plots against the captain. He's never carried out one of them.
Ensign Pulver: I haven't, huh?
Doug Roberts: No, Frank, you haven't. What ever happened to those marbles you were gonna put in the captain's overhead so they'd roll around all night and keep him awake?
Ensign Pulver: Now you've gone too far. Now you've asked for it.
[Pulls out a box]
Ensign Pulver: What does that look like? Five marbles. Got another one in my pocket. Six marbles. I'm looking for marbles all day long!
See more »


Featured in James Cagney: Top of the World (1992) See more »


Music by James P. Johnson
Words by Henry Creamer
Published by Warner Bros. Inc. (ASCAP)
Performed (whistled) by Jack Lemmon (uncredited)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Well done story of the under-appreciated support personnel who also serve during times of war.
12 August 2004 | by (Mesa, Arizona) – See all my reviews

'Mister Roberts' is one of two movies that I sometimes name as my all-time favorite movies. The other is 'The Adventures of Robin Hood' with Errol Flynn. I definitely believe that this is one of Henry Fonda's finest roles.

When my now nineteen year old nephew was younger, he would ask to watch my copy of 'Mister Roberts' on VHS just for the hilarious scene where Pulver blows up the laundry and the ship starts to fill up with soap suds. I have a copy of the play which includes pictures from when Fonda played the role of Doug Roberts on stage, and there are some differences from the play, but those differences certainly work in this movie.

I can't imagine better casting for any of these parts--

Henry Fonda as Doug Roberts

Jack Lemmon as Ensign Pulver

Ward Bond as Dowdy

William Powell as Doc

This is an excellent story of a man who yearns to serve in a war, but yet not to be a hero. He just wants to do his part, and he thinks that in order for his part to be important he has to be in combat. It takes him a while, and a few lectures from Doc, to realize that what he and the crew on the 'bucket' on which they serve do a necessary and important job even as they sail from boredom to tedium and back again, as Roberts says in his letter to Pulver in one of the movie's last scenes. The men are bored, and they can't stand their captain; and during the scene where the captain calls them to their battle stations after finding his special palm tree missing most of them aren't even sure where their battle stations are! The character of Doc has never even seen a battleship and he's in the navy. The entire movie is worth just the scenes of the crew returning from liberty, the making of the scotch, and the soap suds incident.

For a while when I was up at Northern Arizona University I had these lines from the opening scene as part of my answering machine message:

"Now here this. Now here this. Revelry. I repeat...revelry! Attention all hands..."

I recommend this movie very highly and rate it nine out of ten stars!

23 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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