27 user 20 critic

Halls of Montezuma (1951)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 22 March 1951 (Mexico)
A company of Marines races against the clock to find a Japanese rocket base.


Lewis Milestone




Complete credited cast:
Richard Widmark ... Lt. Anderson
Jack Palance ... Pigeon Lane (as Walter {Jack} Palance)
Reginald Gardiner ... Sgt. Johnson
Robert Wagner ... Private Coffman
Karl Malden ... Doc
Richard Hylton ... Conroy
Richard Boone ... Lt. Col. Gilfillan
Skip Homeier ... Pretty Boy
Don Hicks Don Hicks ... Lt. Butterfield
Jack Webb ... Correspondent Dickerman
Bert Freed ... Slattery
Neville Brand ... Sgt. Zelenko
Martin Milner ... Whitney
Philip Ahn ... Nomura


The Marines attack a strongly held enemy island in the Pacific. We follow them from the beach to a Japanese rocket site through enemy infested jungle as their ex-school teacher leader is transformed into a battle veteran and his squad becomes a tight fighting unit. Written by Derek Picken <dpicken@email.msn.com>

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Only the screen could capture their story and their glory...cheer those lovable lugs with their wonderful mugs we now love more than ever! See more »


Action | Adventure | Drama | War


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


This movie had simultaneous premieres in Los Angeles and New York according to 'The Hollywood Reporter'. Both premieres were attended by US Marine veterans, active duty Marines, and officials whilst, both premieres were also charity aid benefits raising funds for charities relating to the Marine Corps. See more »


While speaking to his superiors on his walkie-talkie, Lt Anderson twice closes his conversation with "Over and out." This is incorrect. He should have said either "Over" (if he was turning the conversation over to the other speaker), or "Out" (if he was ending the talk). Interestingly, Anderson uses the correct term "Out" later in the film. See more »


Sgt. Randolph Johnson: Wasn't there a comment by your General Sherman about war?
Lt. Butterfield: Yeah, he said, "War is Hell." What did he know, that eight-ball never left the States.
See more »


Referenced in Full Metal Jacket (1987) See more »


Marines' Hymn
Music from the "Gendarmes' Duet" from the opera "Geneviève de Brabant"
Written by Jacques Offenbach
Sung over the opening credits
Also played during the first landing
See more »

User Reviews

An Excellent WWII Film
26 December 2006 | by LechuguillaSee all my reviews

Arguably, it's one of the three or four best WWII movies ever made. A group of U.S. Marines race against the clock to find the source of enemy rockets that prevent them from taking control of a Japanese-held Pacific island. It's certainly a patriotic film. But there is also an undercurrent of despair, based on the human toll that war inevitably takes.

These Leathernecks are tough, but they are also subject to death from enemy fire. And the screen story puts a lot of emphasis on individual characterization. I don't recall a film that did such a good job of combining scene transitions with flashbacks to help viewers understand the motivations of the main characters.

Lt. Anderson (Richard Widmark) is the leader; he suffers from debilitating migraine headaches, but nevertheless pushes on to fulfill whatever dangerous mission he's assigned. One of his men is Conroy (Richard Hylton) who used to stutter, until Anderson helped cure him of it years earlier. Slattery (Bert Freed) is your typical Marine toughie, but he's got a sense of humor and conceals a portable still to make booze. Pretty Boy (Skip Homeier) is a pistol packing dude with a chip on his shoulder. Through the screen story's deep characterizations, viewers naturally become attached to these guys, and root for them as they enter into their dangerous mission. Of the dozen or so men Anderson leads, not all will make it out alive.

As in other battle films, viewers learn the importance of quick decisions, teamwork, effective communication, and keen awareness of one's surroundings. Life occurs moment by moment, in the here and now. Make a plan; execute it; dodge a problem; ignore pain and fatigue; persist. These are lessons applicable to anyone at any time, not just warriors on the battlefield.

"Halls Of Montezuma" is a quality production all the way. The color cinematography is fine, despite the fact that some of the techniques are dated. The ensemble acting is credible. The editing and scene transitions are just terrific. And, as the film's bookends, that rousing theme song: "From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli" gets the viewer in the right frame of mind.

I normally don't care for movies in this genre. Even this film, like other WWII films, is a tad too predictable, slightly manipulative, and contains some outdated assumptions. Nevertheless, as war movies go, "Halls Of Montezuma" is one of the best.

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English | Japanese

Release Date:

22 March 1951 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

Halls of Montezuma See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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