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The Fighting 69th (1940)

Although loudmouthed braggart Jerry Plunkett alienates his comrades and officers, Father Duffy, the regimental chaplain, has faith that he'll prove himself in the end.

Director:

William Keighley

Writers:

Norman Reilly Raine (original screenplay), Fred Niblo Jr. (original screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Cagney ... Jerry Plunkett
Pat O'Brien ... Father Duffy
George Brent ... 'Wild Bill' Donovan
Jeffrey Lynn ... Joyce Kilmer
Alan Hale ... Sgt. 'Big Mike' Wynn
Frank McHugh ... 'Crepe Hanger' Burke
Dennis Morgan ... Lt. Ames
Dick Foran ... Lt. 'Long John' Wynn
William Lundigan ... Timmy Wynn
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams ... Paddy Dolan
Henry O'Neill ... The Colonel
John Litel ... Capt. Mangan
Sammy Cohen Sammy Cohen ... Mike Murphy
Harvey Stephens ... Maj. Anderson
William Hopper ... Pvt. Turner (as DeWolf Hopper)
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Storyline

"The Fighting 69th" is a First World War regiment of mostly New York-Irish soldiers. Amongst a cocky crew, perhaps the cockiest is Jerry Plunkett, a scrappy fellow who looks out only for himself. The officers and non-coms of the regiment do their best to instill discipline in Plunkett, and the chaplain, Father Duffy, tries to make Plunkett see the greater good, all to no avail. Behind the lines or in the trenches, Plunkett acts selfishly and cowardly, eventually costing the lives of many of his fellow soldiers. A final act of cowardice leads to terrible consequences, but Plunkett sees in them a chance to redeem himself...if only he can. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Jammed With Action ! . . Loaded With Excitement ! . . . And Every Thrill-Packed Word Is True !


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Hebrew | Latin | Yiddish

Release Date:

27 January 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Father Duffy of the Fighting 69th See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

For the 1948 re-release Dennis Morgan bumped George Brent, who was no longer with Warners, from top star billing and moved from seventh to third spot. See more »

Goofs

After the fight in camp, one of the 69th soldiers refereed to the Alabama boys as "Razorbacks". Razorbacks are from Arkansas, but a young man from New York could have mixed that up. See more »

Quotes

Jerry Plunkett: Now go tell the colonel he wants you.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Up until 2004, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) had been showing an abbreviated 79-minute version of this film, with a different opening set of 13 cast credits and no end credits. The original 90-minute version has 17 end cast credits and was finally shown on TCM in 2004, although it was shown on its sister station, TNT, in the early 1990s. The IMDb cast order is based on the original movie. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Projectionist (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

Adeste Fidelis (O Come, All Ye Faithful)
(circa 1743) (uncredited)
Music attributed to John Reading
Latin lyrics by John Francis Wade (circa 1743)
English lyrics by Frederick Oakeley (1841)
Played on an organ and sung by the soldiers in church
See more »

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User Reviews

It's About Turning a Hood into a Man
23 May 2007 | by TarasicodissaSee all my reviews

Hollywood released quite a few films with the Pat O'Brien, Jimmy Cagney pairing with the same general theme, one which I think is unfairly dismissed here as 'cliched'.

In each of these films, Cagney's character was an Irish ghetto hood, full of street values (toughness at all costs... taking, lying, and using ... physical aggressiveness ... resistance to authority or discipline ... contempt for 'chump' 'soft' moral values). He saw Pat O'Brien's character as 'soft' because he was a 'sucker' with all his 'morality' talk.

The redemption came when Cagney's character contrasted Father Duffy's steady courage under fire with his own terror. His street values taught him to respect courage. But he saw that his street values can teach him defiance but not serenity. Serenity comes from moral character and the street cannot teach you that. He saw that there is, as the song goes, more to being a man than just being macho. And there is a courage that has nothing to do with your fists.

That is a very, very important point.


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