6.5/10
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Flying Leathernecks (1951)

Approved | | Action, Drama, War | 28 August 1951 (USA)
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1:54 | Trailer

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

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(screenplay), (story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Maj. Daniel Xavier Kirby
... Capt. Carl 'Griff' Griffin
... Lt. Vern 'Cowboy' Blithe
... Joan Kirby
... MSgt. Clancy, Line Chief
... Dr. Lt.Cdr. Joe Curran
... Colonel
... Brigadier General
Maurice Jara ... Shorty Vegay
... Lt. Bert Malotke
James Dobson ... Lt. Pudge McCabe
... Col. Riley
... Capt. Harold Jorgensen, Ops. Officer (as Steve Flagg)
Brett King ... 1st Lt. Ernie Stark
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:

From Guadalcanal to Okinawa...the Marine air-devils blazed a trail of glory...while the women they left behind fought battles of their own! (1956 reissue poster) See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 August 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Devil Dogs of the Air  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(archive footage)| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is about marine pilots fighting in the Battle of Guadalcanal. Guadalcanal is situated in the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean, north-east of Australia. Its local name is Isatabu and contains the country's capital, Honiara. The island is humid and mostly made up of jungle with a surface area of 2,510 square miles or 6,500 square kilometers. Guadalcanal was named after Pedro de Ortega's home town Guadalcanal in Andalusia, Spain; de Ortega worked under Alvaro de Mendana de Neira who charted the island in 1568. See more »

Goofs

During the 1st patrol off Guadalcanal after the nightly ship bombardment, "Jigsaw 4" is returning to base due to an engine problem (assumed cowardice by Pilot). Later in the same patrol, another Pilot is leaving formation and is shot down (later killed by Japanese Infantry) also under codename "Jigsaw 4". See more »

Quotes

Maj. Daniel Xavier Kirby: Are we all buttoned up?
Joan Kirby: Cat's out... doors locked. All secure sir.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Rockford Files: The Queen of Peru (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

 
John Wayne and Robert Ryan raise the film to a higher level...
22 August 2010 | by See all my reviews

Any tension FLYING LEATHERNECKS has as a war film from the '40s about the fight against the Japanese on Guadalcanal is bolstered considerably by the decent acting jobs done by JOHN WAYNE and ROBERT RYAN as men who are soon in conflict with each other over training methods. Wayne has his usual tough guy role, hard on the surface but soft inside, and Ryan is the man who stands up to him but soon appreciates him when the going gets rough.

Whatever inaccuracies there are in historical details (as pointed out by other reviewers) don't really harm the story which is well photographed in Technicolor and includes a number of hard-hitting action scenes that are the best moments in the film. The domestic moments are the weakest elements of the story.

Wayne and Ryan are well supported by JANIS CARTER (as Wayne's worried wife) and DON TAYLOR as a carefree soldier. Well directed by Nicholas Ray, it's not as tense and exciting as it could have been but it passes the time efficiently in its own way with lots of actual war footage appearing in the action scenes.


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