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Plot:

“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.

Also Known As: Son dernier combat, Taisteleva 69., The Fighting 69th, I fucilieri delle Argonne, Regimento Heróico, The Old 69th, Taisteleva 69, A harcoló hatvankilencedik, Le régiment des bagarreurs, Father Duffy of the Fighting 69th, To 69on syntagma, Борющийся 69-й Soviet, Vajnicul Regiment 69, Regimiento heroico, Regnbågsdivisionen, Zijn laatste strijd

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  • lucas-theodore-raymond
    lucas theodore raymond

    Based on true facts. Of course Hollywood takes its liberties. Some scenes are a bit cornball; but still an interesting war flick. A loud mouth street tough Jerry Plunkett(James Cagney)joins the all-Irish 69th regiment, but seems to mock its military history. Plunkett barely makes it through training; alienating his superiors, but is befriended by Father Francis Duffy(Pat O’Brien). Frontline action in France causes the self-loving Plunkett to turn coward; but eventually redeems himself and dies a hero. Full of action with intermittent humor.This WWI war drama is loaded with stars featuring: Dennis Morgan, Alan Hale, George Brent, Frank McHugh, William Lundigan, Jeffrey Lynn and Dick Foran.

  • javier-espada-arce
    javier espada arce

    Cagney is often an Irish-American on screen but in his personal life he was proud of his Norwegian grandfather (“Nelson”). The problem with casting him was that he LOOKED and ACTED so Irish. He was so often a cocky bantamweight, as he is in this movie. He had a unique style. A bouncy half-psychotic body language, the kind that befits an ex-dancer. In this movie, watch him literally bounce from foxhole to foxhole. And his working-class New York accent was always singularly clipped and informed by some inner characterological melody. The style, unmistakable, was adapted to different genres — to comedy (“One, Two, Three”) and with a complete absence of success to Westerns. My God, “The Oklahoma Kid” in painful to watch.That’s the Cagney we think of when we think of “Cagney,” and yet the guy may have been under-rated as an actor. For instance, I can’t really imagine another actor doing Cagney’s breakdown scene in the big house in “White Heat.” And whatever one might think of “The Gallant Hours” as a film, Cagney cannot be blamed for anything that’s wrong with it. The same can be said for “Come Fill the Cup.” Cagney’s performance here is pretty much his street-wise tough guy character transported to France by the U. S. Army, shows his cowardice, and then is redeemed by some kind of epiphany known only to Hollywood screenwriters. During those few scenes when he’s not making wisecracks in Yiddish or insulting priests (“Oh, Hi, St. Francis. How’s all ’em monks?”) he does a decent job, even an engaging one. His terror during combat, his remorse before he dies, is as convincing as his bravado on the sidewalks.But this movie is a product of its times and a viewer has to go with the flow. Mischa Moskovitz, for instance, assumes the alias of Mike Murphy in order to go overseas with the 69th. He’s a flat-out stereotype, a clever guy with a Semitic face. In one of his earlier movies his character was called something like Freddy Bignose. And yet he dies honorably and is prayed over in Hebrew by Father Duffy in a moving scene.The action scenes look stage bound and of course the effects are primitive by today’s standards, but the movie plunges along at such a pace that a viewer is likely to be drawn into it. The only slow scenes are those that drag in religion more or less by the heels. Kind of like Padre Alan Hale talking to Dennis Morgan while both fly through a thunderstorm. Of course anyone might think religious thoughts during extreme stress, but this movie makes it so relentlessly obvious.Those dull moment aren’t enough to make it unwatchable. It’s kind of fun. You just need to work a little harder to get past some of the more dated stuff.

  • marcheta-nistor
    marcheta nistor

    Street tough Jerry Plunkett never ducks a fight until the shooting starts & in the trenches in France is responsible for the deaths of several of his comrades (by foolishly setting off a flare that draws enemy fire), including the brothers of Sgt. “Big Mike” Wynn (Alan Hale) & Joyce Kilmer (Jeffrey Lynn). CO “Wild Bill” Donovan (George Brent) has Plunkett court-martialed, & he is due to be executed.During intense shelling of the bivouac, Father Duffy (Pat O’Brien) releases Plunkett from confinement & counsels him about the two roads he can take: escape or back into the fray. Plunkett rescues Fr. Duffy from beneath some fallen timbers & takes off for the front, where he hooks up with a wounded Big Mike.Cagney’s Plunkett is fictional, but there are several real-life 69th soldiers represented: Fr. Duffy, Joyce Kilmer, & Maj. Donovan. Lotsa big screen stars of the day: Brent, Hale, John Litel, Frank McHugh, Dennis Morgan, O’Brien. Movie also features off-screen friends Frank Wilcox (Mr. Brewster in the early episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies) & future “Superman” George Reeves.

  • kharis-konstantopoulos
    kharis konstantopoulos

    Cagney was a fighter in his youth; a boxer. He was also a master tap dancer. Both skills have similar movements; quick stepping, fast movements, extreme alertness, counting the beats, fast turns and jumps backward and forward.In this film, Jimmy starts to get into a fight. I was waiting for the classic boxing stances, but I didn’t see any.Spoiler. Early in the film, Jimmy is fighting his sergeant, but near the end Jimmy ends up giving his life for ol’ sarge.Jimmy starts out the film as cocky, smart-alecky and a know-it-all who really doesn’t know much of anything.He is a raw recruit, a hayseed from the city, actually. He has no patriotic feeling; perhaps he is there just for the paycheck. The recruits are all gung ho and happy go lucky, and so are the soldiers already in uniform.We don’t see the backstory, that after several years of President Woodrow Wilson not wanting to get the U.S. into The Great War, all of a sudden men are joining up. Was there a draft? There was a HUGE publicity campaign trying the convince the American public to go into the war, previously only a European interest. There were cartoon posters depicting the enemy as a huge, ugly monster or even the devil.Was this group a national guard? Where was the real army? Was the U.S. not prepared, or were the smallish group of regulars already overseas? Maybe Jimmy and his hayseeds only wanted to go and see French mademoiselles who Parlez-Vous’d Francaise and offered them snails for lunch. Ugh. Inky-dinky parley voo, indeed.Jimmy is a troublemaker and overly sure of himself. Spoilers ahead. He becomes a coward, but later saves some other people by ending up being a target of the enemy.I am female.I have studied several war courses as part of my history degree at university. It is interesting that this film was made right before the U.S. entered World War Two.I also love Jimmy Cagney, as well as tap dancing. You know that, from reading my other reviews. I love song and dance films very much, except that in this film the only singing is done at a church service.Not exactly my cup of tea, and even the black and white hurts my eyes, as you also well know. Anyway, give me Jimmy tap dancing any old day. Yankee Doodle Dandy was Jimmy’s favorite film that he ever made. It is also one of my favorites that I have ever seen; black and white, but I have never seen a colorized version of Yankee Doodle Dandy.

  • aurelie-gaillard
    aurelie gaillard

    One of several films released in the early years of WWII that served to ready the American people for another European war, by remembering aspects of WWI or songs composed then that related to soldiers. James Cagney was the lead character in the present film, as well as the later “Yankee Doodle Dandy” Another that comes to mind is “Sergeant York” The present film served to illustrate some of the horrors of that war, and what it could do to the minds of men. In “Sergeant York”, Gary Cooper’s main hang-up was that he was a conscientious objector, based on the commandment that “Thou shall not kill”. However, his superiors eventually persuaded him that, in killing Germans, he was saving the lives of Allied soldiers as well as civilians………..In the present film, Cagney, a street tough, enters the army with an attitude that he is something special, who doesn’t need to toe the line all the time. Naturally, this attitude makes him unpopular with the officers as well as his fellow inductees. Yet , he persists in this behavior during induction, and basic training, as well as after his unit is sent to France. In fact, he was much like the soldier that Cagney portrayed in the later “The West Point Story”. Incidentally, at age 40, Cagney was a little old to still be a street fighter or, in fact, to be an army inductee. It was soon Christmas time, and Cagney passed up the opportunity, which all his buddy’s took, of taking part in singing Christmas carols in church. He thought this was dumb. Father Duffy, who was the chaplain for his outfit, suggested that, in refusing to take part in activities, Cagney was passing up the opportunity of developing companionships, which normal soldiers found important in maintaining their sanity………While manning a trench, Cagney impulsively reacted to German machine gun fire by firing a flare ,then throwing a grenade. He wasn’t supposed to fire a flare unless instructed to do so. As a result, the Germans knew exactly where his unit was, and a number of his company were killed. This didn’t seem to bother him too much. But, he began to display apparent cowardice in moving back behind the frontline. The company commander, Bill Donovan(George Brent) scolds him. He complains about the constant terror, and noise, and seeing his buddies shot to pieces. One day, he breaks down in a panic and screams, thus alerting the Germans. As a result, a number in his company were killed. He is court martialed (which we don’t see), and confined to a room, while awaiting execution in the morning. However, a German bombardment destroyed part of his room, allowing him to escape. Surprisingly, Father Duffy(Pat O’Brien ) tells him that he is free to do what he wants! He heads back to his unit and begins to take part in the operation. He comes upon a trench mortar and an injured soldier ((Alan Hale, as Big Mike) near it. He asks instructions on using the mortar, and fires quite a few shells, aiming for a barbed wire fence, which is destroyed, thus allowing his company to move through. But, soon, a grenade lands by him, and he falls on it to prevent injury or death to Big Mike. He calls on Father Duffy to perform last rites on him, having ‘got religion’ recently. It’s concluded that he wasn’t a coward , after all………There’s a superabundance of combat scenes, including many explosions near the soldiers. Don’t know how they did this without injuries. Occasionally, the roof or beams of their shelter collapse from a shell. In one incident, their trench headquarters is hit, burying quite a few who were not saved. This was based on an actual event……..Back during basic training, a unit from Alabama moved in next to them. Pretty soon, they were arguing about a Civil War battle, tempers raged and pretty soon, there was a big brawl, finally squelched by Major Donavan, who lectures them that we are all Americans. Presumably, Cagney’s Plunkett is an extreme case of trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, but I’m sure that deserters and AWOL soldiers have been a significant problem in most wars.

  • laure-dupre
    laure dupre

    (Some Spoilers) The movie “The Fighting 69th” follows that mostly Irish 165th infantry combat unit, also known as the Fighting 69th, from Camp Mills in New York State to the bloody fighting in the final and climatic battle of WWI in the Argonne-Meus Forest in France. It was in the battle of the Argonne Forest that the US Expeditionary Force suffered its greatest losses in all of WWI: 130,000 casualties with some 27,000 killed or missing.The film centers around the beloved Chaplin of the Fighting 69th Father Francis J. Duffy, Pat O’Brien, and the arrogant and at the same time yellow-bellied Pvt. Jerry Plunkett, James Cagney, who despite his quick with his fists reputation was totally gutless when it came to put up or shut up under enemy fire. Plunkett earned the disrespect of everyone in his unit with his big mouth about he’ll come home after the war with a chest full of battle ribbons and combat medals.It was when Plunkett and the men of the Fighting 69th came under fire by the Germans that he froze and tired to wimp himself out of fighting by putting on a act, which wasn’t that hard for him to do, of cowardice that in fact cost the lives of over a dozen of his comrades. It was Father Duffy’s faith in Pluckett’s ability in being a soldier that kept him from being transfered out of the unit for good as well as , which Pluckett always wanted, far behind the battle-lines.Despite Plunkett’s miserable record as a combat soldier Father Duffy got his commanding officer Major “Wild Bill” Donovan, George Brant, to give Plunkett another chance only to have him screw up again costing the lives of another half dozen of his men. Court-martial-led and sentenced to be shot at sunrise Plunkett is given a second, or is it his third or forth, chance to redeem himself when the Germans open up on the American forces with a deadly artillery and mortar barrage. This gives Plunkett the chance to escape and make his way back home, to Brooklyn New York, during all the confusion.Making it to the local church Plunkett sees Father Duffy conducting services for the man of the Fighting 69th there and something clicks in the terribly confused Pvt. Plunkett’s head. It’s then with the encouragement of Father Duffy that Plunkett turns over a new leaf and heads straight to the front lines not to show how brave he is but to make up far all the damage he caused in his cowedly actions up until then. With the help of his former combat company sergeant “Big Mike” Wynn, Alan Hale, Plunkett holds off a determined German offensive blasting a hole through the Germans lines and at the same time saving Sgt. Wynn’s, who up until then had no use for Plunkett at all, life!Excellent men of war type of movie that shows that bravery and cowardice are motivated by one and same emotion:Fear. Pvt. Plunkett’s bravado back in Brooklyn was short-circuited in the battle fields in France in that the worst that could happen to him back there, Brooklyn, was a bloody nose or a black eye. In France Plunkett not only was risking his life but the lives of his fellow soldiers in whatever, good or bad, actions he took. It took a lot of soul searching on Plunkett’s part as well as Father Duffy’s faith in him that brought Plunkett around and made a soldier as well as hero out of him. Something that Pvt. Plunkett never thought that he had in him until that one brief fleeting, as well as magical, moment in church that turned his entire life around.

  • stanislaw-szrama
    stanislaw szrama

    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.

  • zalitis-matiss
    zalitis matiss

    This movie is just like most of the other movies from the ’40’s. It isn’t too expensive or impressive looking but the movie serves its purpose.Calling this movie a masterpiece would be an offense to other- true brilliant war movies. The movie remains way too simple and predictable for that. It doesn’t make this movie as powerful as it perhaps could had been with a better story-flow and storytelling in general.The movie its story is pretty simple and it mostly relies on themes such as comradeship and courage during a war situation. It provides the movie as a whole with a sort of patriotic undertone that however never really fully distracts from the movie. The movie still works well and at times also effective but it isn’t all too impressive or memorable. Probably the only thing that makes this movie still a true recommendable and above average one, is the presence of James Cagney, in the main lead.The rest of the acting is a bit bland and typically ’40’s over-the-top at certain points. Basically the James Cagney character is the only interesting one because of this but he honestly is not powerful or likable enough in his role, to carry the entire movie on his own.It’s sort of nice to see a movie focusing on WW I for a change. There really aren’t that many WW I movies around, even though it was a really interesting time period with more than enough great and powerful stories to tell. The movie is certainly not bad looking but it uses a bit too much stock-footage with as a result that the movie looks a bit cheap and perhaps even a bit silly. Further more the movie is also filled with a couple of odd and misplaced sequences (mostly patriotic and moralistic ones) that don’t help to make this movie the easiest or most pleasant one to watch.Good enough to watch it and effective at some points but for most part the movie remains nothing more than a distant and simple WW I movie.6/10http://bobafett1138.blogspot.com/

  • iakushev-stanislav-zhanovich
    iakushev stanislav zhanovich

    This isn’t exactly the most realistic or subtle film Cagney or Warner Brothers ever made. However, despite being a piece of unbelievable fluff, it still is very entertaining–with lots of action and histrionic performances–particularly from Cagney. He plays a blow-hard who acts tough but knuckles under in action during WWI. In fact, for cowardice in action he is sentenced to death and must choose whether to go out like a man or die as a lily-livered coward. Considering it’s pure Hollywood hokum, it’s not hard to figure out how he’ll make his final exit. So, in summary it’s VERY formulaic and silly but still worth a watch just because it’s so entertaining.

  • urbonas-eidvile
    urbonas eidvile

    “The Fighting 69th” is one of the most powerful motion picture dramas of war I have ever seen. Boasting a first-rate cast and an inspiring screenplay, it concerns the famously nicknamed Fighting 69th regiment of mostly New York Irishmen facing the travail and terror of the First World War. (If you have not yet seen this film, please DO NOT read the rest of this commentary.) The great James Cagney stars as Pvt. Jerry Plunkett, a tough-talking wiseacre of a soldier having absolutely no idea how seriously he lacks courage and bravery…..that is, until it becomes time for him to engage in battle overseas! Pat O’Brien is superlative as the 69th’s brave, humble chaplain Father Francis P. Duffy (based on the real-life chaplain of the same name, to whom this motion picture is dedicated). Despite Plunkett’s disdainful behavior – he makes menaces of his immediate superiors Sgt. “Big Mike” Wynn (Alan Hale) and Major “Wild Bill” Donovan (George Brent) – Father Duffy befriends Plunkett and looks beyond Wynn’s & Donovan’s dislike for the young braggart soldier. Plunkett becomes a severely tough pupil, but through the patience and encouragement of Father Duffy, he eventually comes to recognize the importance of faith and prayer. In the end, Plunkett becomes a hero and dies in a gesture of bravery and patriotism.The following are my favorite scenes from “The Fighting 69th”. Before the fighting Irishers travel overseas, Father Duffy offers a humble petition to God inside his tent. Sgt. “Big Mike” Wynn harasses the slumbering Jerry Plunkett by literally dragging his underwear-donning carcass out of bed & out of the tent, and splashing a bowl of water in his face. After the wild free-for-all between the 69th and the 4th Alabama Infantry, the stern Major Donovan explains to the rioters the importance of all American armies fighting together as ONE NATION; especially at a time like this, there is absolutely no room for sectional feuds. Jerry and Big Mike engage in a fistfight (which Jerry has essentially been asking for all along), after which Jerry covers for Big Mike by claiming it was only an exhibition! During the final battle, Jerry tells Big Mike to shut his big Irish yap and show him how to use a Stokes mortar so that he can cut through enemy barbed wire and save the day for the 69th. And finally, the most climactic moment of all: Father Duffy recites the Lord’s Prayer with a group of wounded soldiers, when who should join in the prayer but the intransigent Jerry Plunkett, now a much wiser human being; as he dashes out to lend a hand to the remaining 69th men on the battleground, Father Duffy almost has a tear in his eye as he softly recites the parable of the lost sheep.”The Fighting 69th” is quite an outstanding motion picture. In the end, Major Donovan and Sgt. Wynn come to have respect and pride for the slain tough-talking blowhard who they originally believed was a coward.

  • costache-florea
    costache florea

    This is a fine movie for what it is-flag-waving, Irish-centered recruiting patriotic stuff. Cagney is a Brooklyn thug, cocky big-talker who makes life miserable for everyone around him in the unit, turns into a coward as soon’s the shell’s start falling around them in the trenches, is almost court-martialed (shot most likely), saves the day at the front but loses his life in the process of redemption.That’s about it, really. You will see familiar faces all around-Dick Foran, Alan Hale Sr., Frank MacHugh, George Brent, etc. I was surprised at the inclusion of Joyce Kilmer-the Trees poet, never knew he was a WWI casualty etc.Some of the combat scenes are typically stage-bound, the players are too fat and old (Hale and MacHugh esp.), or walk where they should be kissing the ground etc under fire-but in other places-the constant shelling, machine gun fire, etc–the chaos and violent death of WWI France is displayed fairly well. Esp. for 1940 Hollywood before we had yet gone to war for real.Cagney’s good, rest are okay, as some have said it’s ‘Angels w/ Dirty Faces’ re-hased yet again, O’Brien esp. makes you roll your eyes somewhat.*** outta **** if you are a Cagney fan.

  • cassandra-nichols
    cassandra nichols

    What you see in this movie , you have seen before a thousand times. This doesn’t mean that this film ain’t enjoyable, not when the cast includes James Cagney and Pat O’Brien. As expected , James Cagney plays the tough guy while Brien , as expected, plays a priest. Now i can’t speak about how this film relates to American civil war as i never studied anything from that specific topic. Instead i’ll rate this film by how it stands out amongst other war films.Not that may be unfair as this film is all about patriotic and flag waving not some serious , meaningful film with a moral understanding. Instead it about the 69th going out to war to fight the Germans. The story is about a tough guy who turns yellow on the battlefield in which by the end , redeems himself. Well, it does sound similar to angles with dirty faces and i know many think that this film is AWDF but with grenades but it not entirely that. Sure he a tough guy who turns yellow but at least we can certainly say he died a hero in this film.The battle scenes for it day are brilliantly shot and the performance from Cagney is outstanding. The guy can act out anything. he can make you believe he crying, make you believe he the toughest guy in the world. No wonder why he is regarded one of the best actors ever.For today’s standards, this film does contain many corny scenes but it what you expect from a film made in that era. overall The fighting 69th was a enjoyable film to watch

  • ajit-baabuu
    ajit baabuu

    ” . . . a poem lovely as WWIII.” This is the sort of doggerel verse by Sgt. Joyce Kilmer that bogged down America’s efforts to win WWI, THE FIGHTING 69th documents. (Sgt. Kilmer was a member of that unit.) As if it weren’t bad enough for future generations of American Youth to suffer through Kilmer’s School of Emmeline Grangerford Rhyming* every “Arbor Day,” Sgt. Kilmer demoralized his fellow Doughboys by muttering morbid verses on the march such as the one he (in the guise of actor Jeffrey Lynn) voices about 50 minutes into this flick. His company’s most perceptive member, “Pvt. Jerry Plunkett” (James Cagney), is the first to realize that Kilmer’s grotesque defeatism is distracting and demoralizing the entire Expeditionary Force, and that if this jaded gibberish gets translated into French and British, then surely the Allies will lose the War. Swallowing his pride, Jerry springs into action by brilliantly feigning cowardice to engineer Kilmer’s battlefield demise. With no one else cursed by the warped sensibilities of Joyce Adverse, Sgt. Kilmer is laid low himself in a muddy ditch without a single stanza–not so much as a couplet. This frees up Jerry to lead his reviving comrades almost single-handedly, winning the War in short order.*Please see chapters 17 through 19 of Mark Twain’s THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN.

  • cassidy-miller
    cassidy miller

    This film deserves a much higher rating than what it has as it portrays war on a much more realistic footing. The soldier characters aren’t depicted as being “he-man” types or as being more brave than the average person. They are simply put into a grave situation where they have to learn to kill the enemy and to endure all kinds of horrors along the way. “The Fighting 69th” is such a film and more. James Cagney plays an Irish street brawler who joins the war during 1917, along with many other men. They all form the 69th legion which has a reputation for producing some of the finest soldiers in the American army. Cagney proves to be a less than ideal soldier, via being insubordinate, arrogant and also a coward. Pat O’ Brien as the priest who is posted with the 69th, offers Cagney some much needed guidance so that he may find his courage. We are spared nothing when it comes to the horrors of war as young men scream in agonising pain before their lives are snuffed out and others who bravely fight regardless. The writing is of a high calibre, so is the acting. Cagney is a bit different here as it wasn’t often that he would retreat from a fight or convict of any sort. In the above film, he makes it apparent how much of a coward he is and tries more than once to run away from the German enemy. “The Fighting 69th” is a masterpiece from “Warner Bros.”

  • lara-bosnjak
    lara bosnjak

    On the one hand, it’s James Cagney’s street tough in olive drab. He even gets the death sentence but, for propaganda purposes, he’s allowed a “hero’s death” instead of a coward’s.Which brings me to my main point (“on the other hand”): with World War II raging overseas and the lurking possibility of the U.S. getting caught up in it, Hollywood produced a bumper crop of neo-patriotic propaganda pics in 1939-1940. The enemies differed from pic to pic but the message in all of them was “1) WE are all on the AMERICAN (or, at least, the Anglo-Saxon) side, & 2) the AMERICAN (Anglo-Saxon) side is the side of GOOD.”For example: Another Cagney pic, “Captains of the Clouds,” Spencer Tracy in “Northwest Frontier,” Cary Grant in “Gunga Din” or Henry Fonda in “Drums Along the Mohawk.” Many of them were portrayed as “Boys’ Tales of Adventure” but, given the context of the times, the subtext in all of them are unmistakeable … … yet, 60 years later, they’re still fun.

  • michelle-hanson
    michelle hanson

    This movie is a rehash of Angels With Dirty Faces but with grenades instead of electric chairs.Father Nice Guy (Pat O Brien) offers Jerry Plunkett a solution to all of his cowardice. He should either be thrown onto a grenade or go to the electric chair.Plunkett is not too keen on the electric chair ( His cousin, Rocky Sullivan died screaming and begging on the way to one) so he figures if he’s gonna die he’d better be dragged toward a live grenade.Predictably, the moment comes and Plunkett’s comrades drag him toward a live grenade and throw him onto it.This has been done before and much better.

  • ise-smits
    ise smits

    The Fighting 69th is a fictional account of the heroics of the famed World War I Irish regiment. In this film, Cagney plays Jerry Plunkett, a scoffing, sneering rebel who mocks military tradition and has disregard for all authority. Plunkett is arrogant and cocky during training, but in his first battle he shows his cowardice, which results in a shelling from the enemy that kills a number of his comrades. Pat O’Brien plays Father Duffy, who helps the remorseful Jerry redeem himself, and Jerry becomes a hero. Warner Brother’s regulars Alan Hale, Frank McHugh, George Brent and Dennis Morgan play their parts well in this large money-making film of 1940. The spectacular battle scenes inflated the film’s budget, and an extensive promotional tour culminated in New York City’s Time Square, where the real Father Duffy greeted the cast. He shook hands with Cagney and O’Brien as thousands of fans cheered. Some may find this film very hokey and dated while others may enjoy the entertaining James Cagney who always puts real character into his performances . I’ll let the reader decide for themselves on this one.

  • jane-miller
    jane miller

    This World War 1 movie was based on fact which means some of it was Hollywoodized. Done in the old fashioned Hollywwod style with some corny dialogue but overall it packs a great punch due largely in part to one of Jimmy Cagneys greatest roles. He gets you to hate him and love him at the same time. Pat Obrien is perfect as the priest and although a little syrupy and sappy the duo manages to bring a tear to the eye.There are some other great roles including Alan Hale senior. You may remember his son as the skipper on Gilligans Island. There is also a true reference to the famous poet Joyce Kilmer who died in World war 1.You’ll like this movie even if you don’t like war movies and you’ll love it if you do! Get the popcorn and sit back and enjoy!!!!!!!!

  • katrin-salu
    katrin salu

    Directed by William Keighley, with an original screenplay by Norman Reilly Raine, Fred Niblo Jr., and Dean Franklin, this average World War II features an all star cast led by James Cagney, in a somewhat against type role as a street tough loner who turns “yellow” in combat. Pat O’Brien plays Father Francis Duffy (naturally), who refuses to give up on Jerry Plunkett (Cagney); George Brent (also somewhat against type) plays the platoon’s hard driving Major “Wild Bill” Donovan. Evidently, the real Duffy was memorialized with a statue, posthumously. Jeffrey Lynn plays the company’s famous poet, and Sergeant Joyce Kilmer.In a group loaded with Irish Americans from New York, primarily, Alan Hale plays Sergeant “Big Mike” Wynn, who has several scraps with the tough young Private Plunkett in his regiment. Frank McHugh provides comic relief (as usual); Dennis Morgan appears briefly as a Lieutenant, as does “the Singing Cowboy” Dick Foran. William Lundigan, Guinn “Big Boy” Williams, Sammy Cohen, William Hopper, and Tom Dugan also appear as recently enlisted men in the famous unit. Foran, Hale, and Lundigan plays three members of the same family (brothers), descending in rank, within the group. Once the inductees are ready for battle and shipped “over there”, Henry O’Neill and John Litel appear as the Colonel and the Captain, respectively. John Ridgely, whom I recall seeing, and George Reeves, whom I don’t, also appear uncredited (among MANY others) as soldiers in this film.The story is a bit sappy, perhaps, released well before our involvement in the conflict brewing in the East, but it’s watch-able nonetheless. Despite the plethora of Warner Bros. stars in the cast, it’s only Cagney, O’Brien, Brent, and Hale who are charged with carrying the load. The focus of the plot is on Cagney’s character, perhaps one of the least likable he ever played – a coward, the first ever in the famed unit. Brent and Hale are ready to through him out, which takes ever increasing forms as the film progresses to the front lines of battle, while O’Brien tries (quite literally) to “save” him.The battle scenes are nothing spectacular, but realistic enough to give one at least a feel for the chaos that might cause one (like Cagney’s Plunkett) to flinch when faced with the reality of such terror. It probably comes as no surprise to anyone (lest this be a spoiler) that there’s a change in our protagonist at just the right time, before the film’s conclusion.

  • cristian-mays
    cristian mays

    Jerry Plunket is a street brawling, tough as boots rebel from Brooklyn, he has no time for the traditions of the all Irish 69th New York Regiment, and he has even less time for his army superiors. But as Jerry is about to find out, War has a knack of making or breaking a man……It’s not hard to see why The Fighting 69th was a very popular movie back on its release, coming out as America was about to enter WWII, it’s flag waving patriotism targeted its audience with gusto supreme and lashes of Irish sentiment, furthering the cause was in having James Cagney in the critical lead role of Plunkett. Yet oddly, Plunkett is the made up character here, for the story is based on actual characters that the film wishes to honour. Father Duffy {Pat O’Brien} & Wild Bill Donovan {George Brent} being two highly respected men from this actual {and highly acclaimed} fighting unit.The story follows a now well trodden path, brash cocky man learns lessons the hard way, is there to be redemption come the finale ?, respect, bravery and indeed salvation are all given the once over by the makers here, there are few surprises but the film gets in there, does it’s job, and leaves without lingering either side of the good or bad fence. The direction from William Keighley is vigorous, and the supporting players are solid, if unspectacular {haven’t we seen this O’Brien turn before?}, but all and everything is second fiddle to the perfectly cast Cagney, bullish and stoic, his turn as Plunkett lifts the film above average, because without him the film would be instantly forgettable.Enjoyable enough 6.5/10

  • jessica-martin
    jessica martin

    It’s 1917 and the United States is entering the Great War in Europe with guns blazing. Many young men (and, this being Hollywood, several decades from draft age) are recruited. Our boy from Brooklyn, wise-guy James Cagney (as Jerry Plunkett), looks like trouble from the beginning. He joins the mostly Irish Catholic “Fighting 49th” regiment. When the going gets tough, Mr. Cagney gets going – literally. As the fighting starts, Cagney realizes a man could get killed. He is no help on the battlefield, but kindly soldier priest Pat O’Brien (as Francis Duffy) provides cover for Cagney. Eventually, the cowardly Cagney’s luck runs out and he must either find Christ and fight, lest he lose his spot in Heaven or on Earth…This is an entertaining war story, with real characters giving he fictionalized Cagney story some substance. It promotes unity in the war effort and includes more realism than many propaganda films – specifically, the instances of US soldiers dying during battle is not minimized. Cagney is engaging in the lead. His main support comes from Mr. O’Brien, who effectively manages the unholy wedding of Christianity and War. Of the many others in the cast, only a few get much script action. The best supporting part goes to Alan Hale (as “Big Mike” Wynn), who shows Cagney how to handle a mortar in a pinch. Apparently, Cagney was excused on mortar day, during training, but he’s fortunately a quick study. Also getting a fair amount of screen time are stalwart George Brent (as “Wild Bill”‘ Donovan) and assimilated Sammy Cohan (as “Mike Murphy”). Good hokum from Warner Bros.****** The Fighting 69th (1/26/40) William Keighley ~ James Cagney, Pat O’Brien, Alan Hale, George Brent

  • ewelina-galaj
    ewelina galaj

    When I first viewed “The Fighting 69th”, I was probably 8 years old, around 1948 I’d say. It literally scared me out into the lobby more than once. At that age you’re not ready for trench warfare that up close and personal. Being Irish, Catholic and a kinship with people named O’Brien, I have always liked this movie on many levels for a variety of reasons. I have watched this film many times over the years, including a “colorized” version, when they were in vogue. Now comes the definitive DVD copy of the film. I watched it again in all it’s 42 inch LCD, near “Hi-Def”, glory again recently. I was affected by it again but in an entirely different way. Basically the story is about bright, mostly full of pluck and good humor, young men who want to get this war over with and get home again. Now it could be viewed an “anti-war” movie in some ways. It also very much is like the young men,today, shedding blood in hell holes named Iraq and Afganistan. Quite a comparison. It hit home. I’m an older man and I cried and sniffled through the entire film, and I know the film! I didn’t have any lobby to run out into. Bobsluckycat, in all his reviews, has tried to give you some out of the box appreciation for whatever film he reviews and this is no exception. Yes, the stars are all fine, but look to the mostly young supporting cast, many of whom would go off to WWII and come back having served proudly and heroically, and you’ll see the meat of this film. William Lundigan, George Reeves, and many many others with a line or two here and there just outstanding and would go on to long acting careers post war. Gwinn “Big Boy” Williams, Frank McHugh, Dick Foran, Sammy Cohen among many of the “pros” doing superior work. Not one casting note rings false throughout. World War I does not play well in color, with the exception of John Fords’ “What Price Glory” also starring Cagney, maybe. It’s meant to be in black and white. Today, it’s not the “rah,rah” picture it was made to be, but a stark reminder that war kills our youngest and brightest before they mature to fullness, just as today. In that light, It’s one of the best war movies EVER made, period.

  • ariana-vaz
    ariana vaz

    ‘The Fighting 69th’ gets a lot of mileage out of every cliche you’ve ever seen in a war film. It’s hokey corn from start to end–and yet, despite the fact that you’ve seen it all before–it’s an enjoyable enough experience because of its stellar cast of Warner stock players.James Cagney is the mug from Brooklyn who is nasty to one and all, described by one character as “the man they’d rather riddle with bullets than the Germans.” Pat O’Brien is the true-life character of Father Duffy who has a major job on his hands trying to reform Cagney in time for the fadeout. Sensitive Jeffrey Lynn is Joyce Kilmer, the poet. Gruff Alan Hale is a tough sergeant. And just about every male contract player from William Lundigan to Frank McHugh to Dennis Morgan is present to depict the stereotyped characters that fill the screen.As hokey as it is, it does a graphic job of showing what war is like under combat fire. The combat scenes are skillfully done, with shells and grenades and bombs making trenches hell and buildings collapse, all in very realistic fashion. Cagney is his usual pugnacious self and his reform at the end is a little too abruptly handled. But the film is a brisk 80 minutes, as shown on TCM, and fairly entertaining if you can forgive the corn. Surprisingly, it is directed by William Keighley, whose sluggish work on “The Adventures of Robin Hood” caused him to be replaced by Michael Curtiz to give the film more punch. And yet, “The Fighting 69th” is anything but sluggish. A brisk, entertaining little war film.

  • hilary-goodwin-gray
    hilary goodwin gray

    Recent American moviegoers who saw Martin Scorsese’s great film, The Gangs of New York would probably think that the Civil War Draft Riots represented the unanimous Irish opinion on the American Civil War. Far from it and the regiment known as the 69th New York won honor and glory for itself in the Civil War.The Spanish American War was over before it saw any action, but that was certainly made up for in World War I. The Fighting 69th as this film was called did the stuff legends are made of and a few personal legends came out of that conflict.In the years 1938-1941 Hollywood turned out a whole load of patriotic type films. Either about past American wars or about military preparedness for the war to come, these flicks weren’t deep or subtle. But they were great entertainment.The Fighting 69th is based on two real American heroes, William J. Donovan and Father Francis P. Duffy, played by George Brent and Pat O’Brien and a fictional one named Jerry Plunkett played by James Cagney. William J. Donovan (Will Bill as he was known)among other awards won the Congressional Medal of Honor. He had a distinguished career in the Harding-Coolidge Justice Department and also ran for Governor of New York in 1932, a bad year for Republicans which Donovan was. After this film was made, FDR appointed Donovan to head the Office of Strategic Services, our American intelligence service in World War II and the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency. His biography would be a great film, maybe someone will do it one day.When Father Francis P. Duffy died in 1932, he was one of New York’s beloved figures by all faiths. He was the chaplain of the regiment, having been so since the Spanish American War. During World War II, he never stayed behind the lines, he traveled with a combat medical unit and went where the fighting was the thickest. The closest person we’ve had to him recently was Father Mychal Judge of the NYC Fire Department who accompanied the firemen into the burning World Trade Center on 9/11/01. A couple of Catholic priests who walked the walk were Duffy and Judge.After the war Duffy became pastor of the “Actor’s church” on West 42nd Street in Hell’s Kitchen, but near the theater district. When he passed on, a statue of him still there today was put in the triangle opposite Times Square. And that triangle was renamed Duffy Square.Both Donovan and Duffy figure prominently in Cagney’s story in The Fighting 69th. For the first half Cagney is his usual streetwise, cocky urban self. The second half of the film as he’s brought to the realities of war reveal a different Plunkett. It’s also a great test of what a fabulous player James Cagney was, to show the change in Plunkett’s character. The main story line is what happens to Cagney in the film and he’s brilliant.If anyone is looking for a film about the causes of and how America got into World War I, this ain’t the film. Some in current audiences will find it flag waving and super-patriotic and it sure is. But it’s well acted flag waving.One of these days someone may do a film that concentrates solely on the careers of either Donovan or Duffy. Hopefully soon.

  • anzhela-at-eshyan
    anzhela at eshyan

    THE FIGHTING 69th (Warner Brothers, 1940), directed by William Keighley, teams James Cagney and Pat O’Brien for the seventh time on screen. A fine pair of fine Irish actors who were reportedly best friends in real life, they were first united in HERE COMES THE NAVY (1934), which was followed by other military themes such as DEVIL DOGS OF THE AIR and CEILING ZERO (both 1935).In THE FIGHTING 69th, which is based on a factual presentation of the 69th’s war record and set during the World War, features O’Brien in one of his best roles as Father Francis Duffy (an actual character), with Cagney playing Jerry Plunkett (a fictional character) from Brooklyn, NY, who joins the regiment. At first he defies authority and feels the world revolves around him, but when it is time for him to go out and face real combat, he changes his tune after hearing the sounds of bombs, seeing the sight of dead bodies around him, and goes into hysterical outbursts, showing that not only is he just a coward, but the one responsible for the death of several of the men in his company. In true Hollywood tradition, coward redeems himself when given a second chance, thanks to the grace of Father Duffy. Robert Osborne, host of Turner Classic Movies, where this war story is shown, comments that THE FIGHTING 69th was one of the biggest money makers of 1940. With an all-star cast of only male performers, it presents Warner Brothers veteran stock players as George Brent, Jeffrey Lynn, Frank McHugh, Alan Hale, Dennis Morgan and Dick Foran, many playing actual men of The Fighting 69th, especially Lynn as famous poet Joyce Kilmer. In spite of it being historically inaccurate, good acting, humorous moments (especially by McHugh) and serious battle scenes make this still worth seeing. Beware of shorter prints. Originally distributed to theaters at 89 minutes, Turner Classic Movies had acquired a latter reissue 79 minute copy that eliminated the introduction of the main actors as shown through scenes/or outtakes from the movie with their faces over the names and their acting roles, along with some early portions of the story, and the closing casting credits. In order to view the complete print from the 1940 print, a 1990s video copy from MGM/UA had to be purchased or rented. After many years of having the 79 minute print presented on TCM, a complete 89 minute copy finally aired Saturday, July 29, 2006. (****)