Onionhead (1958)

 |  Comedy, Drama  |  25 October 1958 (USA)
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Reviews: 13 user | 2 critic

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)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Alvin 'Al' Woods aka Onionhead
Stella Papparonis
'Red' Wildoe
Erin O'Brien ...
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
Mark Roberts ...
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 »


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 ...
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Where Am I? (Am I in Heaven?)
Music by Harry Warren
Played when Al runs into Stella at the tavern
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User Reviews

Loss of Hair and Laughs
26 May 2014 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

It's springtime in 1941, at an Oklahoma college. Older-looking and ardently amorous student Andy Griffith (as Alvin "Al" Woods) fails to get his kissing partner past first base. Unable to score, he decides to drop out and join the US Coast Guard. After training, Mr. Griffith is stationed at a Boston, MA harbor. He is made assistant cook to gruff, light-haired Walter Matthau (as "Red" Wildoe). They have some very un-funny drunk scenes and both go for pretty Felicia Farr (as Stella). In real life, she will marry actor Jack Lemmon. After the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, Griffith's ship is called into service. "Onionhead" refers to a recurring subplot about Griffith going bald, although he has one of the best heads of hair in the cast. Considering the personnel involved in making this film, it's a disappointment and most interesting for that observation.

**** Onionhead (10/1/58) Norman Taurog ~ Andy Griffith, Walter Matthau, Felicia Farr, Ray Danton

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