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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

For the 1948 re-release Dennis Morgan bumped George Brent, who was no longer with Warners, from top star billing and moved from seventh to third spot. 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

Jerry Plunkett: If they don't let us at those Boches pretty soon, I'll have to carve me up a top-sergeant!
Terence 'Crepe-Hanger' Burke: Don't mind him sarge, he's his own worst enemy!
Sergeant 'Big Mike' Wynn: Not while *I'm* alive, he ain't!
See more »

Alternate Versions

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

Connections

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

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User Reviews

There were a lot of movies like this around 1940.
9 March 1999 | by eye3See all my reviews

On the one hand, it's James Cagney's street tough in olive drab. He even gets the death sentence but, for propaganda purposes, he's allowed a "hero's death" instead of a coward's.

Which brings me to my main point ("on the other hand"): with World War II raging overseas and the lurking possibility of the U.S. getting caught up in it, Hollywood produced a bumper crop of neo-patriotic propaganda pics in 1939-1940. The enemies differed from pic to pic but the message in all of them was "1) WE are all on the AMERICAN (or, at least, the Anglo-Saxon) side, & 2) the AMERICAN (Anglo-Saxon) side is the side of GOOD."

For example: Another Cagney pic, "Captains of the Clouds," Spencer Tracy in "Northwest Frontier," Cary Grant in "Gunga Din" or Henry Fonda in "Drums Along the Mohawk." Many of them were portrayed as "Boys' Tales of Adventure" but, given the context of the times, the subtext in all of them are unmistakeable ... ... yet, 60 years later, they're still fun.


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