The submarine USS Thunderfish successfully completes a secret mission to rescue a group of orphans on a remote Pacific island. On the way back to Honolulu they encounter a Japanese aircraft carrier but the torpedoes they fire explode about halfway to the target, a recurring problem that has plagued the submarine fleet for some time. The Thunderfish's XO, Duke Gifford runs into his ex-wife and Navy nurse Mary Stuart at the hospital. There's still a spark between them but the boat is sent out on another mission before anything is resolved. When Gifford's good friend and captain, Pop Perry, is killed Gifford believe it's his fault. A inquiry clears him and after he and his men solve the problem of the misfiring torpedoes, they set out to sea.Written by
The music in the night club scene was originally composed by Max Steiner for the 1941 film "Now Voyager." Frank Sinatra recorded the song as "It Can't Be Wrong" in 1943. See more »
After the first shore leave, the Thunderfish returns to action. It sinks the first ship it encounters. However, the ship that is seen through the periscope before the torpedoes are fired isn't the same ship that is seen sinking in the second look through the periscope. See more »
In keeping with the submarine theme of the film: at the very start, we see a submarine periscope break the surface of the sea, then we see an officer looking into the view-port of the periscope, then we see the opening credits appear, as if being viewed through a periscope. See more »
West German version was edited by ca. 13 minutes. German DVD release contains this cut version and the original US version. See more »
It's hard to decide which genre provided John Wayne the greater opportunity to showcase his talents - the "Western" or the "War Movie". Clearly, he excelled at both (and had more than a few opportunities to demonstrate it). Personally, I've always been a greater fan of his westerns, but when this film appeared on one of my favorite cable channels this afternoon, I found myself willingly drawn in. Although a lot of its elements are standard WWII fare, Operation Pacific still demonstrates why the genre has proven so successful to Hollywood.
This one includes all the cliches - the tragedy of lives lost for a just cause (in this case, the war in the Pacific), the heroism of the men who gave up their lives for that cause (here it's a submarine crew based out of "Pearl"), and the women forced to wait patiently while the men they loved went into harm's way.
Although a lot of this seems outdated and stereotyped some 50 years later, the movies that were made during and immediately following WWII nevertheless reflect the ideals and values that drove an entire nation (and generation) to act and feel as it did. My own father, who was a Navy man during the war, was a big fan of John Wayne. I have to believe that Wayne personified some of the very same values my father had come to embrace as a youth and during his time in the military. For me, this adds some validity and perspective.
I know this is not considered to be Wayne's best war film (and admit to not being an enthusiastic student of the genre), but I'm confident that it's a good example of why these films were (and remain) so popular.
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