6.2/10
1,111
45 user 7 critic

'Gung Ho!': The Story of Carlson's Makin Island Raiders (1943)

Approved | | Drama, History, War | 20 December 1943 (USA)
The true story of Carlson's Raiders and their World War II attack on Makin Island.

Director:

Ray Enright

Writers:

Lucien Hubbard (screenplay), W.S. LeFrançois (based on the factual story "GUNG HO" by) (as Lt. W.S. LeFrancois U.S.M.C.) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ON DISC
ALL

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Go for Broke! (1951)
Certificate: Passed Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The story of Japanese-American soldiers who fought in Europe during World War II.

Director: Robert Pirosh
Stars: Van Johnson, Lane Nakano, George Miki
Aerial Gunner (1943)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Old rivals are pitted against each other in basic training and fight for the same woman.

Director: William H. Pine
Stars: Richard Arlen, Chester Morris, Amelita Ward
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

During WW2, the U.S. Navy implements a new idea of forming construction battalions that also are fighting units, in case of Japanese attack.

Director: Edward Ludwig
Stars: John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Dennis O'Keefe
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The story of a Canadian WWII naval vessel, with a dramatic subplot concerning her first captain.

Directors: Richard Rosson, Howard Hawks
Stars: Randolph Scott, James Brown, Ella Raines
Wake Island (1942)
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

December, 1941. With no hope of relief or re-supply, a small band of United States Marines tries to keep the Japanese Navy from capturing their island base.

Director: John Farrow
Stars: Brian Donlevy, Robert Preston, Macdonald Carey
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

As the US Army approaches Nazi Germany, they recruit German prisoners to spy behind German lines.

Director: Anatole Litvak
Stars: Richard Basehart, Gary Merrill, Oskar Werner
Flying Tigers (1942)
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Capt. Jim Gordon's command of the famed American mercenary fighter group in China is complicated by the recruitment of an old friend who is a reckless hotshot.

Director: David Miller
Stars: John Wayne, John Carroll, Anna Lee
Bar 20 (1943)
Certificate: Passed Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Stagecoach robbers take the money Hoppy was going to use to buy cattle so Hoppy, California and Lin go after them.

Director: Lesley Selander
Stars: William Boyd, Andy Clyde, George Reeves
Certificate: Passed Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In the wake of Pearl Harbor, a young lieutenant leaves his expectant wife to volunteer for a secret bombing mission which will take the war to the Japanese homeland.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Van Johnson, Robert Walker
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A dramatization of the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima.

Director: Allan Dwan
Stars: John Wayne, John Agar, Adele Mara
Gung Ho (1986)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

When a Japanese car company buys an American plant, the American liaison must mediate the clash of work attitudes between the foreign management and native labor.

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Michael Keaton, Gedde Watanabe, George Wendt
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A US Army Major stationed in East China in 1944 is ordered to blow up military installations in order to slow down the advancing Japanese Army.

Director: Daniel Mann
Stars: James Stewart, Lisa Lu, Glenn Corbett
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Randolph Scott ... Colonel Thorwald
Alan Curtis ... John Harbison
Noah Beery Jr. ... Kurt Richter
J. Carrol Naish ... Lt.C.J.Cristoforos
Sam Levene ... Transport(Leo Andreof)
David Bruce ... Larry O'Ryan
Richard Lane ... Captain Dunphy
Walter Sande ... McBride
Louis Jean Heydt ... Lt.Roland Browning
Robert Mitchum ... Pig-Iron
Rod Cameron ... Rube Tedrow
Grace McDonald ... Kathleen Corrigan
Milburn Stone ... Commander Blake
Peter Coe ... Kozzarowski
Harold Landon Harold Landon ... Frankie Montana
Edit

Storyline

Seven weeks after Pearl Harbor, volunteers form the new 2nd Marine Raider Battalion whose purpose is to raid Japanese-held islands. The men selected come from different walks of life but have toughness in common. Under command of Colonel 'Thorwald', they're trained in all imaginable forms of combat. Then, after a perilous submarine journey, they face a daunting first mission: to annihilate the much larger Japanese garrison on Makin Island, in a lengthy battle sequence. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

island | mission | battle | combat | marine | See All (59) »

Taglines:

HOT LEAD! COLD STEEL! YANKEE GUTS! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Japanese

Release Date:

20 December 1943 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gung Ho! See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$866,898 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,176,489, 31 December 1943
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Walter Wanger Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, led by Lt. Col. Evans F. Carlson, was also known as "Carlson's Raiders" and his motto was the Chinese phrase "Gung Ho"; hence the movie's title, "Gung Ho!': The Story of Carlson's Makin Island Raiders". See more »

Goofs

When one of the subs is being attacked by 3 Japanese planes dropping depth charges, the planes shown dropping the depth charges appear to be American F4F Wildcats. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Five Came Back: Combat Zones (2017) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Ding Hao!
8 November 2001 | by Robert J. MaxwellSee all my reviews

Of the two Marine Raider Battalions made famous by their exploits at Guadalcanal and elsewhere, Edson's First and Carlson's Second, the Second was by far the ideologically weirdest. Both were thought of -- and thought of themselves -- as elite units, but in many ways they couldn't have been more different. Edson was a by-the-book military man who took marinehood several powers beyond the norm. They were looked at askance by other members of the military. Edson's emphasis was on combat performance locked into a rigidly authoritarian cast structure.

But Carlson's (here Thorwald's)background, temperament, and training methods were revolutionary, in a literal sense. Between the wars, Carlson had taken a kind of vacation from the Marine Corps and spent it studying the Chinese Communists and learning from them, especially the development of what they called "Gung Ho," which translates as something like "good public spirit" but has been degraded in meaning over the years until, when I was in the military, it had all the pejorative value of "chickenshit." Carlson was a committed leader, openly concerned about his men's welfare, what William James would have called "tender minded." His outfit, men and officers alike, lived together in both training and combat, suffered the same hardship, ate the same food, held bellyaching sessions in which anyone could say anything, good or bad, about anyone else, as close as you get to group therapy. The movie soft pedals much of this, and God forbid the word "communism" should be spoken aloud.

The Raider Battalion's most famous engagement was the raid of Makin Island in the Gilberts (pronounced more like "Moggin" than what it looks like). It wasn't the unqualified success the picture gives us. After the rubber boats reached shore and the attack was initiated, resistance increased and it looked like the raid would fail, so Carlson called for a retreat back to the boats. Unfortunately, as Carlson had foreseen, the heavy surf flooded outboard engines and overturned many of the craft, drowning numbers of men. As it turned out, however, the Japanese had more or less disappeared and the mission was accomplished, except that nine of the men who had not been killed in combat or drowned had gotten lost in the dark or wound up on another atoll. They were later rounded up, taken to Kwajalein and beheaded.

The raid did no long-term damage except to convince the enemy that the Gilberts would soon be invaded (which was true) and that fortifications should be reinforced (which they were). I love this movie. It has every cliché in the book. Brawling rivals, a Jewish sidekick called "Transpawt" by Randolph Scott, treacherous Japs, stupid Japs, Marines throwing knives with deadly accuracy, one of our boys can beat a dozen of theirs, explosions galore filling the air with flying balsa wood, bayonets, judo, interesting rifle-shot sounds, Japanese pilots giggling maniacally while they unknowingly slaughter their own soldiers -- ding hau!

The crowning moment: Colonel Thorwald begins one of those patriotic speeches about how we have to win the war, and the peace that will follow too, and turns mid-way through the speech and looks directly through the camera lens at the wartime audience, and the image on screen becomes a sinking ship flying a Japanese flag. Could there be anything better if you're seeking patriotic laughs from a movie? Shortly after Guadalcanal, the Raider Batallions were both disbanded, the Corps believing that since every Marine was elite anyway the Corps had no need for whole outfits of them.


31 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 45 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Comedy Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular comedy titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed