6.6/10
3,051
37 user 17 critic

The Fighting Seabees (1944)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, War | 10 July 1944 (UK)
During WW2, the U.S. Navy implements a new idea of forming construction battalions that also are fighting units, in case of Japanese attack.

Director:

Edward Ludwig

Writers:

Borden Chase (screenplay), Æneas MacKenzie (screenplay) (as Aeneas MacKenzie) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $3.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Flying Tigers (1942)
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Capt. Jim Gordon's command of the famed American mercenary fighter group in China is complicated by the recruitment of an old friend who is a reckless hotshot.

Director: David Miller
Stars: John Wayne, John Carroll, Anna Lee
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Major Kirby leads The Wildcats squadron into the historic WWII battle of Guadalcanal.

Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: John Wayne, Robert Ryan, Don Taylor
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In 1942, after the fall of the Philippines to the Japanese, U.S. Army Col. Joseph Madden stays behind to organize the local resistance against the Japanese invaders.

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: John Wayne, Anthony Quinn, Beulah Bondi
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A dramatization of the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima.

Director: Allan Dwan
Stars: John Wayne, John Agar, Adele Mara
Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

During the 1860s in the South Pacific, Capt. Ralls, skipper of the Red Witch, has a series of adventures involving sunken gold bullion, pearls, natives, an unscrupulous ship owner and a giant octopus.

Director: Edward Ludwig
Stars: John Wayne, Gail Russell, Gig Young
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In 1818 Alabama, French settlers are pitted against greedy land-grabber Blake Randolph but Kentucky militiaman John Breen, who's smitten with French gal Fleurette De Marchand, comes to the settlers' aid.

Director: George Waggner
Stars: John Wayne, Vera Ralston, Philip Dorn
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

During WWII, a submarine's second in command inherits the problem of torpedoes that don't explode. When on shore, he is eager to win back his ex-wife.

Director: George Waggner
Stars: John Wayne, Patricia Neal, Ward Bond
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The PT boat unit Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Three defends the Philippines from Japanese invasion during World War II.

Directors: John Ford, Robert Montgomery
Stars: Robert Montgomery, John Wayne, Donna Reed
Musical | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Duke falls for Flaxen in the Barbary Coast in turn-of-the-century San Francisco. He loses money to crooked gambler Tito, goes home and PL: learns to gamble, and returns. After he makes a ... See full summary »

Director: Joseph Kane
Stars: John Wayne, Ann Dvorak, Joseph Schildkraut
The Sea Chase (1955)
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

As World War II begins, German freighter Captain Karl Ehrlich tries to get his ship back to Germany through a gauntlet of Allied warships.

Director: John Farrow
Stars: John Wayne, Lana Turner, David Farrar
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Col. Mike Kirby picks two teams of crack Green Berets for a mission in South Vietnam. First off is to build and control a camp that is trying to be taken by the enemy the second mission is to kidnap a North Vietnamese General.

Directors: Ray Kellogg, John Wayne, and 1 more credit »
Stars: John Wayne, David Janssen, Jim Hutton
Hellfighters (1968)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The story of macho oil well firefighters and their wives.

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
Stars: John Wayne, Katharine Ross, Jim Hutton
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Wayne ... Lt. Cmdr. Wedge Donovan
Susan Hayward ... Constance Chesley
Dennis O'Keefe ... Lt. Cmdr. Robert Yarrow
William Frawley ... Eddie Powers
Leonid Kinskey ... Johnny Novasky
J.M. Kerrigan ... Sawyer Collins
Grant Withers ... Whanger Spreckles
Paul Fix ... Ding Jacobs
Ben Welden ... Yump Lumkin
William Forrest ... Lt. Tom Kerrick
Addison Richards ... Capt. Joyce
Jay Norris Jay Norris ... Joe Brick
Duncan Renaldo ... Construction Worker at Party
Edit

Storyline

Construction workers in World War II in the Pacific are needed to build military sites, but the work is dangerous and they doubt the ability of the Navy to protect them. After a series of attacks by the Japanese, something new is tried, Construction Battalions (CBs=Seabees). The new CBs have to both build and be ready to fight. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

ROMANCE OF THE SEVEN SEAS! (original poster - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 July 1944 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Donovan's Army See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Republic Pictures (I) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1949 Republic Pictures reissued this film on a double bill with Flying Tigers (1942) which also starred John Wayne. See more »

Goofs

In some of the Japanese attacks, they are using belt-fed American light machine guns rather than than Japanese stick-fed light machine guns. See more »

Quotes

Eddie Powers: I'm Eddie Powers, Donovan's factotum, meaning, "Man Friday". That's Latin.
Lt. Cmdr. Robert Yarrow: Well, I'm glad to know you Friday even if it's only Thursday.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film's opening credits dedication states: "Proudly and gratefully we dedicate this picture to the Civil Engineer Corps and the Construction Battalions - the Seabees of the United States Navy who have fired the imagination of the world with their colorful exploits throughout the Seven Seas." See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Featured in Going Hollywood: The War Years (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Ireland Must Be Heaven, for My Mother Came from There
(uncredited)
Music by Fred Fisher
Lyrics by Howard Johnson and Joseph McCarthy
Sung by William Frawley
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
"We Build So That Others Can Fight"..........."We Fight For What We Build"
9 July 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Before writing this review I took a quick look at Wikipedia and the article they have on the Seabees. Despite the fanciful story that Borden Chase wrote here about how the service was founded, the Seabees were actually an idea already thought of by Admiral Ben Morreell the Chief of Navy Supply even before Pearl Harbor.

Unlike the war in Europe where the Allies would be looking to take an hold cities with facilities already there, like air fields for example, those planning the war in the Pacific knew that they would be starting from scratch. Airfields, fuel depots, etc. would have to be constructed on jungle islands in the Pacific. So the idea of a separate service for the construction trade was born.

Now that we know that the plot of The Fighting Seabees is so much hogwash, let me say that what the film does do very well is show the hazards of what the men in that service faced. Trying to build facilities at the same time as the enemy is firing on them. The scenario in this film is repeated many times over on the islands of the Pacific.

As to the story of this film, John Wayne reverses roles here. In most of his war films he's usually the professional military man, here he's the tough, but inpatient civilian who never seems to learn the value of military discipline. Of course being this is the Duke, he does redeem himself in the end in a spectacular manner.

A love triangle is tossed in here, rather unnecessarily in my opinion, a straightforward account of Seabee heroism would have been sufficient. Wayne and Navy Commander Dennis O'Keefe are both interested in war correspondent Susan Hayward. This was Hayward's second film with John Wayne, who along with Clark Gable, and Dean Martin, she once described as her three favorite leading men. Her big scene is when she's wounded and thinks she's cashing in, she declares her love for the Duke. Susan Hayward has always been a favorite of mine, but it's on the strength of her performances in her starring roles in the Fifties, not as the sex object in The Fighting Seabees.

The Fighting Seabees isn't one of the Duke's top 10 or even top 20, but it's a decent enough film to sit through even with the World War II heroic bravado that was obligatory at the time this was made. You even get to see John Wayne attempt the jitterbug. During that scene, the Duke looks mighty uncomfortable. He was never going to compete with Fred Astaire for roles.


17 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 37 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Phoebe Waller-Bridge Had 'No Expectations' for Emmys

"Fleabag" had a huge night at the Emmys, winning four awards including Outstanding Comedy Series. The creator and cast shared their feelings on the big night and the power of love.

Watch now

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed