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The Cockleshell Heroes (1955)

Approved  |   |  Action, War, Drama  |  27 March 1956 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 985 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 3 critic

During WW2, German ships are "safely" docked upriver at Bordeaux, but the British send a team of kayakers to attack them.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Cockleshell Heroes (1955)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Major Stringer (as Jose Ferrer in closing credits)
Victor Maddern ...
Sgt. Craig
Marine Clarke
David Lodge ...
Marine Ruddock
Peter Arne ...
Marine Stevens
Marine Lomas
Graham Stewart ...
Marine Booth
John Fabian ...
Marine Cooney
John Van Eyssen ...
Marine Bradley
Robert Desmond ...
Marine Todd
Walter Fitzgerald ...
Gestapo Comdt.
Karel Stepanek ...
Assistant Gestapo Officer
Beatrice Campbell ...
Mrs. Ruddock


A Royal Marine Reserve Major must work with a veteran Captain and a group of incorrigible recruits to attempt what is generally regarded as a suicide mission: the covert destruction of an entire German shipyard in occupied France. Written by Anthony Hughes <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Ten Brave Men Started Out on the Most Desperate Adventure of the War!


Action | War | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »




| |

Release Date:

27 March 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cockle Shell Heroes  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to 'Daily Variety', during April and May of 1955, there was four weeks of location filming for this movie in Portugal, situated in the environs of the Tagus River. See more »


The explosives had 15 minute fuses. They were captured, taken to German headquarters for questioning and brought outside to be shot before the explosions went off. See more »


Captain Thompson: I've never seen such an appalling exhibition in my life.
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Crazy Credits

Closing credits: The Producers gratefully acknowledge the assistance given to them in the making of this film by THE ROYAL MARINES and other branches of THE ROYAL NAVY. See more »


Featured in Breakfast: Episode dated 31 March 2011 (2011) See more »


A Life on the Ocean Wave
Music by Henry Russell
Arranged by John Addison
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User Reviews

A Fine Film
3 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I was ten-years-old, growing up during the war in England, when this, and other raids were being made against the Nazis.

In 1955, I had completed a three-year enlistment with the U.S. Marines, and therefore extremely interested in commando-style warfare.

"Cockleshell Heroes" was entertaining, even though Columbia Pictures capitalized on a suicide mission and glorified it, thus overlooking the rugged training, and horrible cost in lives.

Nonetheless, glory aside, the film triumphantly displays loyalty, dedication, that is the trademark of the Royal Marines. But after reading the first person account of the raid, you don't really appreciate what these heroic men did until you read the book.

The first misconception given in the film is that this was a commando unit, when in fact, the dozen selected, were regular Marines who volunteered. The hardships endured don't come across as hard in the movie as they do in the book. The loss of food, inability to move for hours at a stretch, not able to relieve themselves, are just a few of the oversights that would have shown the ruggedness of the mission.

However, even with some sour notes, I still like the film for showing the Marines as one of the best fighting forces in the world.

20 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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