After his girlfriend Jo refuses to make a commitment to their relationship, Al Woods decides to enlist and finds himself in the US Coast Guard. He makes it through basic training but a ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (novel)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Will Stockdale is a country bumpkin drafted into the Air Force and too dumb to realize he's driving everyone around him crazy -- no one more than Sgt. King.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Andy Griffith, Myron McCormick, Nick Adams
The Snake Pit (1948)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A detailed chronicle of a woman during her stay in a mental institution.

Director: Anatole Litvak
Stars: Olivia de Havilland, Mark Stevens, Leo Genn
Girlfriends (1978)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A photographer and her girlfriend are roommates. She is stuck with small-change shooting jobs and dreams of success. When her roommate decides to get married and leave, she feels hurt and has to learn how to deal with living alone.

Director: Claudia Weill
Stars: Melanie Mayron, Eli Wallach, Adam Cohen
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  

Hoodlum Jack Martin is on the lam and robs a small town bank which brings the local cops and local crime boss into the mix.

Director: Walter Matthau
Stars: Walter Matthau, Carol Grace, Bruce MacFarlane
Savages (TV Movie 1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Ben Campbell, a 22 year old gas station attendant in a small desert town, is looking to make some extra money. He is surprised when Madec, a wealthy lawyer, asks him to be his guide in a ... See full summary »

Director: Lee H. Katzin
Stars: Andy Griffith, Sam Bottoms, Noah Beery Jr.
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A housewife's sudden rise to fame as a soap spokesperson leads to chaos in her home life.

Director: Norman Jewison
Stars: Doris Day, James Garner, Arlene Francis
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A brave longshoreman lingers on after being gunned down by 3 racketeers, as a determined assistant D.A. searches hard for fearful witnesses against the men.

Director: Arnold Laven
Stars: Richard Egan, Jan Sterling, Dan Duryea
Fail-Safe (1964)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

American planes are sent to deliver a nuclear attack on Moscow, but it's a mistake due to an electrical malfunction. Can all-out war be averted?

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Henry Fonda, Walter Matthau, Fritz Weaver
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Rick Leland makes no secret of the fact he has no loyalty to his home country after he is court-martialed, kicked out of the Army, and boards a Japanese ship for the Orient in late 1941. ... See full summary »

Directors: John Huston, Vincent Sherman
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Sydney Greenstreet
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A vaudeville duo agree to reunite for a TV special, but it turns out that they can't stand each other.

Director: Herbert Ross
Stars: Walter Matthau, George Burns, Richard Benjamin
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

A con man (Robert Preston) enlists a drunk writer (Tony Randall) to write a fictitious screen play to be funded by a rich but unethical mobster producer. The plot is the story of Adam and ... See full summary »

Director: Morton DaCosta
Stars: Robert Preston, Tony Randall, Giorgia Moll
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

While hospitalized young Billy meets his silent movie idol Tim Bart but then the talkies came, destroying Bart's career. Now Bart must convince his young friend he is still a star.

Director: Harry Lachman
Stars: Richard Dix, Fay Wray, Victor Kilian


Cast overview, first billed only:
Alvin 'Al' Woods aka Onionhead
Stella Papparonis
'Red' Wildoe
Josephine 'Jo' Hill
Harry 'Doc' O'Neal
Ensign Dennis Higgins
Sidney Gutsell
'Windy' Woods
Ainslie Pryor ...
Chief Miller
Sean Garrison ...
Yeoman Kaffhamp
Dan Barton ...
Ens. Fineberg
Lt. J.G. Bennett
Clark (scenes deleted)


After his girlfriend Jo refuses to make a commitment to their relationship, Al Woods decides to enlist and finds himself in the US Coast Guard. He makes it through basic training but a run-in with one of his instructor's lands him as a junior cook on a ship based in Boston. At a bar, he meets the pretty Stella Papparonis and while they see each other regularly, she refuses to stay with him when he rents a hotel room for the night. On board ship, he finds that his direct superior, 'Red' Wildoe, isn't very helpful as far as the galley goes but Al proves to be quite adept at cooking. Al learns a lot about doing the right thing, especially when Stella, now married to Red, starts throwing herself at every man in sight. When the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, life becomes far more serious as well. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

coast guard | based on book | See All (2) »


The Ship's Cook who has the Coast Guard in a Stew!


Comedy | Drama


See all certifications »




Release Date:

25 October 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Zwiebelkopf  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The boot camp scenes were filmed at the Coast Guard Training Center, Government Island (now Coast Guard Island), Alameda, California. See more »


At the end of the movie Woods leaves the bar and walks down the street without his cover (what a hat is called in the military) Even though he is happily distracted by his finace'. Anyone who has been in the service more than a week would never go out of doors without his cover. It's second nature. See more »


Alvin 'Al' Woods aka Onionhead: Now get this straight - I brought you home as a favour to Red. And you might...
Stella Papparonis: Oh, I married the wrong guy. It should have been you. I don't care what you think, but love me, love me, love me.
Alvin 'Al' Woods aka Onionhead: Get away from me! Other guys have had unfaithful wives but you're not even that. I pity Red.
Stella Papparonis: Al! Pity me!
Alvin 'Al' Woods aka Onionhead: For what? For being a cheap, dirty, little tramp?
Stella Papparonis: You think I want to be like this? Don't you think I'd like to be happy and find love like other women? Don't you think I'd like to be satisfied with ...
See more »


You Go to My Head
Music by J. Fred Coots
Played during the opening credits
Also played when Al and Stella are dancing
Played occasionally in the score
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

It's not a comedy but..........
3 December 2006 | by (Oklahoma) – See all my reviews

I have seen the movie a few times over the years, and usually enjoy it for what it is. Its not a comedy, though it has funny moments, and the characters are interesting even though none of them is really appealing. I suppose it would have to be classified as a drama, though it isn't really dramatic in theme or treatment, and it isn't exactly slice of life, its too scatter-shot to be that. A series of incidents that define the character and development of a man from callow youth through cynical adult to something a bit more compassionate and understanding by the end of the movie. This movie was apparently something of a departure for Andy Griffith, as he rarely returned to this sort of material in his career, seeming to prefer a more slapstick, comedic role, but it does indeed demonstrate his capability of handling material outside that venue.

8 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Is this coming out on DVD? kcg
Johnny Mercer songs Piperson
Gary Lockwood is in this as uncredited extra wpglory
Discuss Onionhead (1958) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: