Donovan's Reef (1963) Poster


In a fight with Lee Marvin, John Wayne underestimated an uppercut. He crashed through a table and fell down. Director John Ford decided to leave the scene in the movie.
Patrick Wayne, John Wayne's son, has a small cameo - he plays the Australian Shore Patrol officer who breaks up the final fight.
Jack Warden, who played Elizabeth Allen's father, was only nine years her senior in real life.
Actor John Qualen dubbed the voice of the sailor who yells "Man overboard!" in the opening scene, though it is not Qualen on-screen.
During the scene where Amelia is wishing to "charter the Araner", Donovan states that he owns the Araner and a boat named the Inisfree. Inisfree is the name of the village in Ireland in which The Quiet Man (1952), another John Wayne / John Ford film, takes place. Araner is the name of John Ford's personal yacht, which is the actual ship used in this film.
Actor Mickey Simpson is sometimes mistakenly credited as the mate hit with a mop by Lee Marvin in the opening scene. It is not Simpson but Duke Green.
Ameilia asks the captain "to charter the Araner." That was the real name of John Ford's yacht, which is the yacht used in the movie.
The term "shanghai'd" dates back to the 1840s. Skippers of the China Clipper ships had trouble getting sailors to man the ships because most preferred to join the gold rush. Crooked bartenders would, for a price, slip a likely man a "Mickey Finn" (chloral hydrate) in his drink to knock him out. The man would wake up later "shanghai'd" and on his way to China as a deckhand.
This is the technically last movie that John Ford and John Wayne worked on together, although Wayne later provided the voice-over narration for Ford's documentary Chesty: A Tribute to a Legend (1976).
In the beginning, Gilhooley tells the captain who "shanghai'd" him that they were supposed to be at the island "on the 7th". Taking into account the time-line of the movie, ending on Christmas, that would make Donovan and Gilhooley's birthday as December 7th, the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
"Boats" is Navy slang for the rating of *Boatswain's Mate*. "Guns" is Navy slang for the rating of *Gunner's Mate*.
In the movie Donovan and Gilhooley are supposed to share December 7th for their birthday. In real life, Mike Mazurki (Sgt. Monk Menkowicz) was born December 25, 1907.
John Wayne's character's full name is Michael Patrick Donovan. However, he is rarely referred to by his given name. He is called either "Guns" or, occasionally, "Donovan" by most people throughout the movie. His full name is used only once, by Amelia when reading from the monument. He is called "Mike" several times, including the Captain of the Araner, LaFleur and Andre. As "Michael" by Sister Angelique (in French), Sister Mary Margaret, Andre and by Amelia on several occasions. Most notably Amelia, during their last scene, where she addresses him as "Michael" three times and "Michael Donovan" once.

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