6.9/10
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70 user 28 critic

Donovan's Reef (1963)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Comedy, Romance | 19 July 1963 (Japan)
Comedy subtly dealing with moral issues such as racial bigotry, corporate greed, American belief of societal superiority and hypocrisy.

Director:

John Ford

Writers:

Frank S. Nugent (screenplay) (as Frank Nugent), James Edward Grant (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Wayne ... Michael Patrick 'Guns' Donovan
Lee Marvin ... Thomas Aloysius 'Boats' Gilhooley
Elizabeth Allen ... Ameilia Dedham
Jack Warden ... Dr. William Dedham
Cesar Romero ... Marquis Andre de Lage
Dick Foran ... Australian Navy Officer Sean O'Brien
Dorothy Lamour ... Miss Lafleur
Marcel Dalio ... Father Cluzeot
Mike Mazurki ... Sgt. Monk Menkowicz
Jacqueline Malouf Jacqueline Malouf ... Lelani Dedham
Cherylene Lee Cherylene Lee ... Sarah 'Sally' Dedham
Jeffrey Byron ... Luki Dedham (as Tim Stafford)
Edgar Buchanan ... Boston Attorney Francis X. O'Brien
Jon Fong Jon Fong ... Mister Eu
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Storyline

In an ideal society on a picturesque South Sea island, there are people of several races and backgrounds living together in harmony. John Wayne is a WWII hero, who worked hard to own a shipping company and finds his true love. She is a strong a woman as he is a man. An adventure and love story.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Gangway...For This Years BIG Adventure! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

19 July 1963 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Donovan's Reef See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,686,585 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$6,600,000, 31 December 1963
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

John Ford Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The term "shanghai'd" dates back to the 1840s. Skippers of the China Clipper ships had trouble getting sailors to man the ships because most preferred to join the gold rush. Crooked bartenders would, for a price, slip a likely man a "Mickey Finn" (chloral hydrate) in his drink to knock him out. The man would wake up later "shanghai'd" and on his way to China as a deckhand. Choral hydrate used as a "Mickey Finn" also have been referred to as "Knock Out Drops" in movies. See more »

Goofs

Ameilia loses her stockings after falling in the water. See more »

Quotes

[Gilhooley about to throw bottle during fight]
Michael Patrick 'Guns' Donovan: Not the brandy, you dope!
Thomas Aloysius 'Boats' Gilhooley: [puts bottle carefully down on bar] Sorry!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Frere Jacques
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by the children
See more »

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User Reviews

 
This is why you go to the movies. Because it's fun.
22 September 2005 | by documain-1See all my reviews

Donovan's Reef is fun. It has a decent story, good characters, and stunning scenery. This is why you go to the movies, isn't it? If compared against Ford's acknowledged masterpieces, Dononvan's Reef does not measure up, but measured against other escapist films, it is a great movie. John Wayne's performance is consistently good, and as always, believable. Wayne was so real in his films, that he is never considered to be a good actor, but if you look at his body of work, you have to admit he could do it all. His Guns Donovan character is certainly up to snuff, and he does well with what he has. His interaction with Lee Marvin as Boats Gilhooley is as good as any of his other brawling, head-butting clashes with legends like Ward Bond or Victor McGlaglen. Lee Marvin is very funny and clever in his scenes, and very rarely over the top. He could always deliver on a character that was supposed to be likable, but mentally ill.

Aside from the fun, we have a significant plot element of prejudice considering the behavior of Guns, Boats, and Andre, where they hide the Doctor's half-caste Polynesian children from the All-White Bostonian daughter, Amelia. Paradoxically, we have Chinese stereotypes in the form of goofy looking morons with toothy grins and heavy accents. Still, in the end reason prevails in that the young Leilani shows wisdom beyond her years. When she sings a prayer of thanks to the goddess of the canyon where Guns chops down their Christmas tree, Amelia asks if she believes in gods and goddesses. Leilani replies, "I believe in one God, as we all do, but I respect the customs and beliefs of my people." Amelia subsequently accepts the cultural differences with a gracious bow to Leilani, who is being honored as the last hereditary princess of the island. That is a nicely done scene.

If you focus on what Donovan's Reef isn't, it will be a disappointing film. If you enjoy it for what it is, you will have a great time.


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