6.5/10
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PT 109 (1963)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, War | 19 June 1963 (USA)
During WW2, Lieut. John F. Kennedy takes command of PT 109 to fight the Japanese in the Solomon Islands.

Writers:

Richard L. Breen (screenplay), Howard Sheehan (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Cliff Robertson ... Lt. JG John F. Kennedy
Ty Hardin ... Ensign Leonard J. Thom
James Gregory ... Commander C.R. Ritchie
Robert Culp ... Ensign George 'Barney' Ross
Grant Williams ... Lt. Alvin Cluster
Lew Gallo ... Yeoman Rogers
Errol John Errol John ... Benjamin Kevu
Michael Pate ... Lt. Reginald Evans
Robert Blake ... Gunner's Mate Charles 'Bucky' Harris
William Douglas William Douglas ... Gerard Zinser
Biff Elliot ... Seaman Edgar E. Mauer (as Biff Elliott)
Norman Fell ... Machinist Edmund Drewitch
Sam Gilman ... Raymond Starkey
Clyde Howdy ... Machinist Leon Drawdy
Buzz Martin Buzz Martin ... Gunner's Mate Maurice Kowal
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Storyline

Dramatization of President John F. Kennedy's wartime experiences during which he captained a PT boat, took it to battle and had it sunk by a Japanese destroyer. He and the survivors had to make their way to an island, find food and shelter and signal the Navy for rescue. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The young JFK. A profile in courage. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Japanese

Release Date:

19 June 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

PT Boat 109 See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

WILHELM SCREAM: When the 109 is cut in half, one of the men screams the Wilhelm scream. See more »

Goofs

Twice in the film, LTJG Kennedy is asked what time it is, and he responds with "quarter to two" and "two o'clock." A Naval officer would always answer in military time to another sailor. He should have said "1345" and "1400." See more »

Quotes

Edmund Drewitch: [reading a brief on Kennedy] Seems like all he ever did was go to school. He's had no sea duty. Says here he wrote a book.
Leon Drawdy: Sounds like he oughta be in charge of a library.
Charles 'Bucky' Harris: What's the name of the book?
Edmund Drewitch: 'Why England Slept.'
Charles 'Bucky' Harris: [around a cigar stub] Got any pictures in it?
Edmund Drewitch: Pigeons?
Charles 'Bucky' Harris: Pictures, idiot!
Edmund Drewitch: He's lookin' for pictures and I'm an idiot.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Killing Oswald (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock of Ages
(uncredited)
Music by Thomas Hastings
Lyrics by Augustus Montague Toplady
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Good historical drama
8 May 2006 | by johno-21See all my reviews

I first saw this film during it's initial theatrical release and have seen it several times since. This a good movie but at 2 hours and 20 minutes it runs a little long. This could have been made more concise and more adventurous and should have come in at 90 minutes and it would have been a better movie. Director Leslie Martinson only made nine mostly forgettable films in his long directorial career that was mostly in television. This was his best film. He was a much sought after television director and directed some of the most popular television series from the early 50's through the mid 80's. This was the last film in the long career of producer Bryan Foy. Foy was a producer and director from the 1920's and began producing full-time in the 1930's specializing in mainly B-movies. A great cinematographer here in Robert Surtees who had photographed Ben Hur, Oklahoma, quo Vidas and would go on to photograph The Graduate, The Summer of 42, The Last Picture Show and The Sting among his many films. A good editor on this film too in Folmar Blangsted who edited Rio Bravo and The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell and would go on to edit The Summer of 42 and ironically Camelot among his many films. This is the story of the naval career of future US President John F. Kennedy as a lieutenant in WWII. This is adapted from the best selling book PT 109 John F. Kennedy in WWII which was inspired by a 1944 article in the New Yorker magazine called Survival by John Hersey. The PT 109 story of the patrol boat in the South Pacific captained by Lt. John F. Kennedy that was cut in half in a collision with a Japanese destroyer was a big part of the Kennedy story. During his 1961 Inagural parade a full size replica float of the boat was featured in the parade route with all of the original crew members on the float as a surprise to the new president. He kept the coconut shell that he had written a message on encased in class in his Oval Office along with a model replica of a PT boat. Warren Beatty apparently was Kennedy's first choice to portray him in this film which would have made sense as when this was filmed in the summer of 1962 in the Florida Keys, Beatty was 25 years old, exactly the same age as Kennedy was in 1943 when the film's setting takes place. Beatty reportedly turned down the role and Kennedy's second choice was Cliff Robertson who at 36 years old when production was done on this film was a full 10 years older and quite a few pounds heavier than Kennedy was in 1943. Also in the cast are Robert Culp, Norman Fell, James Gregory, Ty Hardin and Robert Blake. Look for future Star Trekker George Takei on the Japaneses destroyer. Character actor Andrew Duggan narrates. This film has more of a look and feel of a made-for television movie but it's definitely worth a watch. I would give it a 7.0 out of 10.


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