Major Kirby leads The Wildcats squadron into the historic WWII battle of Guadalcanal.

Director:

Nicholas Ray

Writers:

James Edward Grant (screenplay), Kenneth Gamet (story)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Wayne ... Maj. Daniel Xavier Kirby
Robert Ryan ... Capt. Carl 'Griff' Griffin
Don Taylor ... Lt. Vern 'Cowboy' Blithe
Janis Carter ... Joan Kirby
Jay C. Flippen ... MSgt. Clancy, Line Chief
William Harrigan ... Dr. Lt.Cdr. Joe Curran
James Bell ... Colonel
Barry Kelley ... Brigadier General
Maurice Jara Maurice Jara ... Shorty Vegay
Adam Williams ... Lt. Bert Malotke
James Dobson James Dobson ... Lt. Pudge McCabe
Carleton Young ... Col. Riley
Michael St. Angel ... Capt. Harold Jorgensen, Ops. Officer (as Steve Flagg)
Brett King Brett King ... 1st Lt. Ernie Stark
Gordon Gebert Gordon Gebert ... Tommy Kirby
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Storyline

Major Daniel Kirby takes command of a squadron of Marine fliers just before they are about to go into combat. While the men are well meaning, he finds them undisciplined and prone to always finding excuses to do what is easy rather than what is necessary. The root of the problem is the second in command, Capt. Carl 'Griff' Griffin. Griff is the best flier in the group but Kirby finds him a poor commander who is not prepared to the difficult decision that all commanders have to make - to put men in harm's way knowing that they may be killed. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

AIR-DEVILS OF THE SKY! See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is a Howard Hughes production as the opening credits declare. It is well known that Hughes himself was an aviation aficionado who also produced Hell's Angels (1930), Sky Devils (1932) and Jet Pilot (1957), the latter of which also starred John Wayne. See more »

Goofs

When the Colonel on Guadalcanal briefs the pilots on the close air support strike, he requests the pilots strafe parallel to the front lines. The footage shows the pilots making their runs perpendicular to the lines. See more »

Quotes

Maj. Daniel Xavier Kirby: Come on Wildcats, make us proud today!
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Connections

Referenced in Stalag 17 (1953) See more »

User Reviews

 
Worthy effort
9 August 2005 | by lbliss314See all my reviews

On one level this is a standard flag-waving WW2 film--which was what audiences wanted. On another level, though, this movie says some pretty harsh things about war. Mixed in with the combat footage are several scenes of wounded soldiers covered in blood, the sort of images that were censored from pictures made during the war. Some have objected to this... but I think it adds an extra layer of realism. Yes, they are shocking images--maybe that was Ray's point. We should be shocked that men get killed like this. The interplay between Robert Ryan and John Wayne is fascinating. Ryan turns in a splendid performance and Wayne surprised me with the depth of emotion he displayed, particularly when he visits his family. The movie shows us the emotional toll of ordering men to their deaths. The movie has pacing problems, particularly in the final battle, and Jay C. Flippen's scrounging sergeant wears a little thin. Still, this is a well-done war film.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 August 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Devil Dogs of the Air See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Color (archive footage)| Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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