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The Wackiest Ship in the Army (1960)

 -  Comedy | War  -  29 December 1960 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 1,158 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 6 critic

Lieutenant Rip Crandall is hoodwinked into taking command of the "Wackiest Ship in the Navy" - a real garbage scow with a crew of misfits who don't know a jib from a jigger. What none of ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (screen story), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Wackiest Ship in the Army (1960)

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Credited cast:
Ens. Tommy J. Hanson
John Lund ...
Lt. Cmdr. Wilbur F. Vandewater
Chips Rafferty ...
Tom Tully ...
Capt. McClung
Joby Baker ...
Josh Davidson
Warren Berlinger ...
Radioman 2nd Class A.J. 'Sparks' Sparks
Patricia Driscoll ...
Mike Kellin ...
Chief Mate Jack MacCarthy
Lt. Dennis M. Foster
Alvy Moore ...
Seaman J. Johnson
Joseph Gallison ...
'Cameo' (as Joe Gallison)
Teru Shimada ...
Maj. Samada
George Shibata ...
Capt. Shigetsu
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Richard Quine ...


Lieutenant Rip Crandall is hoodwinked into taking command of the "Wackiest Ship in the Navy" - a real garbage scow with a crew of misfits who don't know a jib from a jigger. What none of them knows, including Crandall, is that this ship has a very important top-secret mission to complete in waters patrolled by the Japanese fleet. Their mission will save hundreds of allied lives - if only they can get there in one piece. Written by A.L.Beneteau <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

navy | army


RiCKY NELSON Your No. 1 Singing Star hits the high C's in...The WACKiEST SHiP in the ARMY See more »


Comedy | War


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

29 December 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Wackiest Ship in the Army  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)


(Eastman Color)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


As Lemmon and Nelson are training the crew in how to unfurl the mainsail, you can see the stern of the USS Fletcher in the background. The Fletcher earned 15 battle stars in WWII and Korea. She was one of the most decorated destroyers to serve in the South Pacific. She was scrapped in 1972. See more »


In the scene where the Japanese reconnaissance plane photographs the ship, he uses an American made Graflex K-20 aerial camera. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: If you remember Pearl Harbor, you'll recall that in the year that followed the Japanese were almost invincible. Early in 1943, however, they were checked. Stopped cold by the Marines at Guadalcanal, the Navy in the Coral Sea, and the Allied armies in New Guinea. This was a period of far-reaching decisions, desperate strategies, and incredibly daring counter-strokes - not the least of which involved two bright young naval officers...
See more »


Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Operation Double 007 (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

A film of two halves – neither of which are awful but neither of which are any good
10 July 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

When Lieutenant Rip Crandall is offered his first command he jumps at the chance. However when he arrives at his 'ship' he finds that the Echo is more of a tub than a destroyer – being practically a yacht! With an inexperienced or inept crew and a second officer who has barely ever been on water for any length of time, Crandall is ready to drop out until guilt gets the better of him and he decides not to leave the young Ensign Hanson carrying the bag. After a few days of intensive and quite unsuccessful training, Crandall's ship sets off on its mission.

Starting out with a credit sequence and opening 10 minutes that suggests that the film may be as 'wacky' as the title suggests, it gradually settles into humour that is rather basic but passable before going for a more traditional plot that lacks humour and fails to really be that interesting. In some regards the turn away from the 'wacky' first few minutes was a relieve because I really don't like things that knowingly describe themselves as 'wacky' (personal ads with the words 'bubbly' or 'wacky' are generally my idea of hell) and the humour at the start of this just seemed too forced. However once it settles, it settles into humour that isn't very funny but is amiable enough. This continues with the usual 'training' stuff and 'mishaps' that passes for entertainment just about but then in the final 30/40 minutes it tries to actually have a plot – and falls to pieces as a result.

By this point I didn't really care about the plot more than a basic description and it was too late in the day to try and suddenly become engaging or exciting. The film also completely drops the humour (for what it was) and creates such a sudden change of tone that its like watching another film – something that damages it even further. Of course, its not awful, its just a film of two halves, neither of which are much cop but neither of which are really bad. The cast doesn't help much either since most of them are fairly average and just play to the level of the humour. Lemmon tries hard but cannot do much other than his usual stuff – which isn't as good when it is built on material like this. Nelson is about as wooden as you could get and only has presence when he is given a musical number – he was a singer after all and never really convinced me as an actor. The support cast are pretty average and you can see their basic characters in almost any other 'useless ensemble crew' movie that you can pick.

Overall this is a strange film that doesn't really work. It tries to be wacky and funny but the material is weak and it never really gets going, with the humour tailing off with every passing minute. When it eventually drops off altogether, the plot becomes more of a traditional war story but by then it is too hard to really care what is going on and it more or less fails too. As a total film it is a strange split; neither of the two halves really work but neither of them are bad. The end result is a film that is just about passable but one that will disappoint many who view it regardless of their expectations.

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