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Task Force (1949)

Approved | | Drama, War | 31 March 1950 (Finland)
As he is retiring, Jonathon Scott reminisces about his long Navy career and the development of the role of the aircraft carrier from the early 20s.


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Delmer Daves

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Complete credited cast:
Gary Cooper ... Jonathan L. Scott
Jane Wyatt ... Mary Morgan
Wayne Morris ... McKinney
Walter Brennan ... Pete Richard
Julie London ... Barbara McKinney
Bruce Bennett ... McCluskey
Jack Holt ... Captain Reeves
Stanley Ridges ... Sen. Bentley
John Ridgely ... Dixie Rankin
Richard Rober ... Lt. Jack Southern
Art Baker ... Sen. Vincent
Moroni Olsen ... Adm. Ames
Ray Montgomery ... Pilot
Harlan Warde ... Timmy Kissell


On the day of his retirement, Rear Admiral Jonathan L. Scott reflects on his role in introducing aircraft carriers to the U.S. Navy. After World War I, there was a general downsizing of the military. There were only limited opportunities to create a carrier-bound air capability. The aircraft were not designed specifically for landing on a flat top and several death occur during training. Over the years however, Scott is one of several men who pursue their dream of aircraft carriers and aircraft specifically designed for that purpose. Their worth is proved in World War II at the Battle of Midway and throughout the war. Written by garykmcd

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Nothing ever like it ! Nothing you ever liked more !


Drama | War


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

31 March 1950 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

The Horizon in Flames See more »

Filming Locations:

San Diego, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)


Color (Technicolor) (some sequences)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


At the beginning of the film, when Pete Richards lands on North Island and says, "The disarmament conference is over. They've sunk the fleet. The Missouri, the South Dakota, the Maine, the Virginia, Nebraska, Georgia. 30 capital ships. More ships sunk with the stroke of a pen than have been sunk in our entire history." he's referring to the Washington Naval Conference of 1921 - 1922. The ships he mentions are: USS Maine (BB-10) - a pre-dreadnought battleship launched in 1901. USS Virginia (BB-13) - a pre-dreadnought battleship launched in 1904. USS Nebraska (BB-14) - a pre-dreadnought battleship launched in 1904. USS Georgia (BB-15) - a pre-dreadnought battleship launched in 1904. South Dakota-class (BB-49) - a battleship laid down in 1920 but cancelled in 1922 under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty. See more »


The same shot of the F4F on which the number is 43 painted is used twice just minutes apart. The plane is making a diving turn to port. See more »


Pete Richard: The disarmament conference is over. They've sunk the fleet. The Missouri, the South Dakota, the Maine, the Virginia, Nebraska Georgia. 30 capital ships. More ships sunk with the stroke of a pen than have been sunk in our entire history.
See more »


Referenced in White Heat (1949) See more »


O Christmas Tree
Traditional tune, lyrics by Ernst Anschütz
Sung at the Christmas party
See more »

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User Reviews

29 November 2005 | by inspectors71See all my reviews

If you have Turner Classic Movies, it would behoove you to take the time to watch Task Force, a fine, passionate, and patriotic film about the advent of the aircraft carrier as the principal weapon of the US Navy in World War II. Although it is a product of the times--and the Production Code--TF delivers the story of how "flat-tops" superseded the battleship as the principal tool for, in Navyspeak, "projecting power." With the skillful use of lots of film footage (which helped tremendously in avoiding the use of cheesy ship models), TF tells the story of a young naval officer played believably here by a much older Gary Cooper. As Cooper advances in his skill as an aviator, he runs afoul of bureaucrats and bullies, both outside the navy and in. This results in his being disciplined and scolded for speaking his mind about naval aviation, and his frustration with a lack of personal advancement and the navy not being prepared for future conflict. Cooper is a lanky metaphor for the advent of the carrier as the Queen of the Seas.

With Pearl Harbor, Cooper's "Scottie" Scott is thrown into battle against an enemy that is much better prepared for air combat, and with the aid and leadership of his father figure, Walter Brennan, he (as metaphor) gains the recognition and ultimate victory he deserves.

I read somewhere that Gary Cooper surrendered his chance at ultra-stardom when he made certain decisions about parts that robbed his film persona of the sort of sex appeal that would have guaranteed his place as a film star/sex symbol. The reviewer said something about Cooper being more of a big brother than a lover.

I don't know if all this is true, but Cooper's image of being a friendly, decent, human hero is clearly seen in Task Force. He--and Brennan--carry this movie. The chemistry Coop has with his audience and his on-screen friend and C.O., Brennan, puts real blood and muscle into a movie that at times gets a bit too documentarian. Add in a sweet, loving performance by Jane Wyatt as the graceful and gracious military wife and you have a really human movie that works as history lesson, war film, political essay, and love story.

Finally, what I love about this film is its innate patriotism. There simply is no questioning of America's place and motive in the years leading up to and during the Second World War. We were a democracy threatened by tyranny. We were unprepared for war because we despised it so very much; once confronted, we prevailed. The stock footage of Cooper's carrier (in real life, the badly damaged USS Franklin) arriving at New York with her flight deck and upper hull twisted into scrap metal by Japanese explosives is startling, a metaphor for the cost of not being prepared with the sort of cutting-edge technology, training, and will that might have reduced the bloodiness of the war or prevented it all together.

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