17 user 7 critic

Battle Hymn (1957)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, History | 24 July 1957 (UK)
A remorseful bomber pilot-turned-minister rejoins for the Korean War.



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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mary Hess
Major Frank Moore
Mess Sergeant (as Alan Hale)
Deacon Edwards
General Kim (scenes deleted)
General Timberidge
Simon Scott ...
Lieutenant Hollis
Teru Shimada ...
Korean Official
Major Harrison


Dean Hess, who entered the ministry to atone for bombing a German orphanage, decides he's a failure at preaching. Rejoined to train pilots early in the Korean War, he finds Korean orphans raiding the airbase garbage. With a pretty Korean teacher, he sets up an orphanage for them and others. But he finds that to protect his charges, he has to kill. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

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The true story of Col. Dean Hess, clergyman turned fighter pilot!


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Release Date:

24 July 1957 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

By Faith I Fly  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)| (Western Electric Recording)


(Eastmancolor)| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Neither Richard Loo [Gen. Kom) nor Teru Shimada (Korean official) are visible in the DVD release nor are their characters. See more »


When Skidmore is wounded and coming back to land, the exterior shots show the canopy open, but in the closeups of Don DeFore (Skidmore) the canopy is closed. See more »


Col. Dean Hess: We're hoping to get to Cheju=do, but it seems almost impossible.
Old Man, Lun-Wa: The difference between the impossible and the possible is the measure of a man's will.
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Featured in Rock Hudson: Dark and Handsome Stranger (2010) See more »


Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
Traditional African-American hymn
Composed by Choctaw Indian Wallis Willis prior to 1862
Sung by James Edwards
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

BATTLE HYMN (Douglas Sirk, 1957) **1/2
28 February 2007 | by See all my reviews

This is hardly one of its director's more notable efforts which is perhaps why it took me this long to catch up with it in the first place; a miscast Rock Hudson is defeated by his impossible role of a real-life U.S.A.F. pilot whose accidental bombing of a Japanese orphanage during WWII drove him to take up priesthood; ironically, just as the protagonist struggles with his conflicting vocations (he considers it his duty to re-apply for service when the Korean War comes along), the film can't make up its mind whether it wants to be a biopic, a war epic or a particularly sticky Hollywood blending of religiosity and child interest! In itself, a harmless and typically glossy product of its era with the aerial sequences themselves certainly well done; sleek noir villain Dan Duryea is wasted, however, as a soldier who is particularly beloved by the Korean orphans Hudson and his men stumble upon. Ultimately, the film is perhaps most notable as being one of only four films featuring Anna Kashfi – Welsh despite her exotic name and looks – and best-known for her brief marriage (1957-59) to Marlon Brando.

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