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The Fighting 69th (1940)

Although loudmouthed braggart Jerry Plunkett alienates his comrades and officers, Father Duffy, the regimental chaplain, has faith that he'll prove himself in the end.

Director:

William Keighley

Writers:

Norman Reilly Raine (original screenplay), Fred Niblo Jr. (original screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Cagney ... Jerry Plunkett
Pat O'Brien ... Father Duffy
George Brent ... 'Wild Bill' Donovan
Jeffrey Lynn ... Joyce Kilmer
Alan Hale ... Sgt. 'Big Mike' Wynn
Frank McHugh ... 'Crepe Hanger' Burke
Dennis Morgan ... Lt. Ames
Dick Foran ... Lt. 'Long John' Wynn
William Lundigan ... Timmy Wynn
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams ... Paddy Dolan
Henry O'Neill ... The Colonel
John Litel ... Capt. Mangan
Sammy Cohen Sammy Cohen ... Mike Murphy
Harvey Stephens ... Maj. Anderson
William Hopper ... Pvt. Turner (as DeWolf Hopper)
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Storyline

"The Fighting 69th" is a First World War regiment of mostly New York-Irish soldiers. Amongst a cocky crew, perhaps the cockiest is Jerry Plunkett, a scrappy fellow who looks out only for himself. The officers and non-coms of the regiment do their best to instill discipline in Plunkett, and the chaplain, Father Duffy, tries to make Plunkett see the greater good, all to no avail. Behind the lines or in the trenches, Plunkett acts selfishly and cowardly, eventually costing the lives of many of his fellow soldiers. A final act of cowardice leads to terrible consequences, but Plunkett sees in them a chance to redeem himself...if only he can. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Jammed With Action ! . . Loaded With Excitement ! . . . And Every Thrill-Packed Word Is True !


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Hebrew | Latin | Yiddish

Release Date:

27 January 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Father Duffy of the Fighting 69th See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

William Gargan was originally cast as John Wynn. See more »

Goofs

After the skirmish in the woods, an "unconscious" German prisoner obligingly stands on his feet prior to being carried back to the American lines. See more »

Quotes

Father Duffy: [praying] Almighty God, in Thine infinite mercy grant me, thy servant, the wisdom to guide my young flock through the trials of war. Oh, Father, they're so young. So young and they know so little of life and nothing at all of that terrible and bloody altar towards which they move, carrying so eagerly the bright sacrifice of their youth. Their need will be great, O Lord, and I am weak. Therefore, I beseech thee through Thy Son, Christ, our Lord, grant me the strength to keep them steadfast in the...
See more »

Alternate Versions

Up until 2004, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) had been showing an abbreviated 79-minute version of this film, with a different opening set of 13 cast credits and no end credits. The original 90-minute version has 17 end cast credits and was finally shown on TCM in 2004, although it was shown on its sister station, TNT, in the early 1990s. The IMDb cast order is based on the original movie. See more »

Connections

Edited into You're in the Army Now (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

Old Folks at Home (Swanee River)
(1851) (uncredited)
Written by Stephen Foster
Played by the Alabama National Guard Band
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Diddly day it's The Fighting 69th.
17 May 2008 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Jerry Plunket is a street brawling, tough as boots rebel from Brooklyn, he has no time for the traditions of the all Irish 69th New York Regiment, and he has even less time for his army superiors. But as Jerry is about to find out, War has a knack of making or breaking a man......

It's not hard to see why The Fighting 69th was a very popular movie back on its release, coming out as America was about to enter WWII, it's flag waving patriotism targeted its audience with gusto supreme and lashes of Irish sentiment, furthering the cause was in having James Cagney in the critical lead role of Plunkett. Yet oddly, Plunkett is the made up character here, for the story is based on actual characters that the film wishes to honour. Father Duffy {Pat O'Brien} & Wild Bill Donovan {George Brent} being two highly respected men from this actual {and highly acclaimed} fighting unit.

The story follows a now well trodden path, brash cocky man learns lessons the hard way, is there to be redemption come the finale ?, respect, bravery and indeed salvation are all given the once over by the makers here, there are few surprises but the film gets in there, does it's job, and leaves without lingering either side of the good or bad fence. The direction from William Keighley is vigorous, and the supporting players are solid, if unspectacular {haven't we seen this O'Brien turn before?}, but all and everything is second fiddle to the perfectly cast Cagney, bullish and stoic, his turn as Plunkett lifts the film above average, because without him the film would be instantly forgettable.

Enjoyable enough 6.5/10


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