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Flying Leathernecks (1951)

Approved | | Action, Drama, War | 28 August 1951 (USA)
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:
...
...
Capt. Carl 'Griff' Griffin
...
...
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:

 »
Show detailed on  »

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

John Wayne's character in this movie, Major Daniel Xavier Kirby, was based on Captain John Lucian Smith, USMC Ace who was Commanding Officer in the Marine Fighting Squadron 223 at Guadalcanal in 1942 during World War II. Smith was a Medal of Honor recipient in 1943 and a leader of the "Cactus" Air Force. Smith, a wildcat fighter pilot, shot down nineteen Japanese airplanes over Guadalcanal in 1942. Smith's achievements and commendations were well known to the public prior to this film being made. Smith was eventually promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and likewise, Wayne's Kirby character is also promoted to the same rank in this movie. Moreover, there is also a physical likeness and resemblance between Wayne and Smith. 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: Come on Wildcats, make us proud today!
See more »

Connections

Featured in The John Wayne Anthology (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

 
real color war footage
25 May 2015 | by See all my reviews

Major Kirby (John Wayne) takes command of a squadron of Marine fliers Wildcats. The men are undisciplined as they are sent to the Guadalcanal battle. Everybody expected the squad's best flier Captain 'Grif' Griffin (Robert Ryan) to be the new commander but Kirby finds him unable to make the tough decisions.

The story is rather pedestrian wartime action. John Wayne is the hard but fair commander as his usual fare. He's a real man and the college boys are weak. He's there to make real men out of the boys. The movie is most compelling with the real color war footage. Howard Hughes paid for the Techicolor to weave in with the color footage. The action is pretty compelling and makes this more than another bland war story.


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