6.7/10
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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:

ANYBODY CAN START A FIGHT..But these are the guys who can finish it! (Print Ad-Ridgefield Press, ((Ridgefield, Conn.)) 8 February 1940) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Warner Bros. built on Providencia Ranch, California, an exact duplicate of Camp Miles, a training camp in Long Island, New York. See more »

Goofs

After the fight in camp, one of the 69th soldiers refereed to the Alabama boys as "Razorbacks". Razorbacks are from Arkansas, but a young man from New York could have mixed that up. See more »

Quotes

Father Duffy: I don't believe I've met *you* yet...
Jerry Plunkett: [thinks he is talking to a fellow recruit] Oh, I've been around. Plunkett's my name; Jerry Plunkett. "Smilin' Jerry" they call me, on account of my disposition!
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Alternate Versions

The film was colorized in 1987, but TCM does not yet show colorized versions of black and white films. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Shining Through (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Adeste Fidelis (O Come, All Ye Faithful)
(circa 1743) (uncredited)
Music attributed to John Reading
Latin lyrics by John Francis Wade (circa 1743)
English lyrics by Frederick Oakeley (1841)
Played on an organ and sung by the soldiers in church
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User Reviews

 
Father Duffy's Regiment
14 December 2000 | by lugonianSee all my reviews

THE FIGHTING 69th (Warner Brothers, 1940), directed by William Keighley, teams James Cagney and Pat O'Brien for the seventh time on screen. A fine pair of fine Irish actors who were reportedly best friends in real life, they were first united in HERE COMES THE NAVY (1934), followed by DEVIL DOGS OF THE AIR, THE IRISH IN US, CEILING ZERO (all 1935); ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES and BOY MEETS GIRL (both 1938).

In THE FIGHTING 69th, which is based on a factual presentation of the 69th's war record and set during the World War, features O'Brien in one of his best roles as Father Francis Duffy (an actual character), with Cagney playing Jerry Plunkett (a fictional character) from Brooklyn, NY, who joins the regiment. At first he defies authority and feels the world revolves around him, but when it is time for him to go out and face real combat, he changes his tune after hearing the sounds of bombs, seeing the sight of dead bodies around him, and goes into hysterical outbursts, showing that not only is he just a coward, but the one responsible for the death of several of the men in his company. In true Hollywood tradition, coward redeems himself when given a second chance, thanks to the grace of Father Duffy.

Robert Osborne, host of Turner Classic Movies, where this war story is shown, comments that THE FIGHTING 69th was one of the biggest money makers of 1940. With an all-star cast of only male performers, it presents Warner Brothers veteran stock players as George Brent, Jeffrey Lynn, Frank McHugh, Alan Hale, Dennis Morgan and Dick Foran, many playing actual men of The Fighting 69th, especially Lynn as famous poet Joyce Kilmer. In spite of it being historically inaccurate, good acting, humorous moments (especially by McHugh) and serious battle scenes make this still worth seeing. Beware of shorter prints. Originally distributed to theaters at 89 minutes, Turner Classic Movies had acquired a latter reissue 79 minute copy that eliminated the introduction of the main actors as shown through scenes/or outtakes from the movie with their faces over the names and their acting roles, along with some early portions of the story, and the closing casting credits. In order to view the complete print from the 1940 print, a 1990s video copy from MGM/UA had to be purchased or rented. After many years of having the 79 minute print presented on TCM, a complete 89 minute copy finally aired Saturday, July 29, 2006. (****)


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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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