6.7/10
1,610
29 user 19 critic

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 »
Reviews

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The pilots of a Royal Air Force squadron in World War I face not only physical but mental dangers in their struggle to survive while fighting the enemy.

Director: Stuart Walker
Stars: Fredric March, Cary Grant, Jack Oakie
Hell Below (1933)
Romance | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

On leave in Italy, Lt. Tommy Knowlton falls in love with Jean Standish, who's not only married, but is the daughter of his submarine's commander. Friction between the two officers becomes ... See full summary »

Director: Jack Conway
Stars: Robert Montgomery, Walter Huston, Madge Evans
Torrid Zone (1940)
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Plagued by revolutionaries that harass his plantation in a banana republic, fruit company exec Steve Case rehires former nemesis Nick Butler to restore order and profits.

Director: William Keighley
Stars: James Cagney, Ann Sheridan, Pat O'Brien
Johnny Eager (1941)
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The daughter of a district attorney falls in love with a gangster who her father is trying to have imprisoned.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Robert Taylor, Lana Turner, Edward Arnold
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Inspired by Churchill's Dunkirk speech, brash, undisciplined bush pilot Brian MacLean and three friends enlist in the RCAF but are deemed too old to be fliers.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: James Cagney, Dennis Morgan, Brenda Marshall
Bataan (1943)
War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In 1942, in the Bataan peninsula of the Philippines, a ragtag American unit commanded by Sergeant Bill Dane attempts to blow-up a bridge in order to slow the Japanese advance.

Director: Tay Garnett
Stars: Robert Taylor, George Murphy, Lloyd Nolan
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A financially-strapped charter pilot hires himself to an oil tycoon to kidnap his madcap daughter and prevent her from marrying a vapid band leader.

Director: William Keighley
Stars: James Cagney, Bette Davis, Stuart Erwin
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A corrupt D.A. with governatorial ambitions is annoyed by an investigative reporter's criticism of his criminal activities and decides to frame the reporter for manslaughter in order to silence him.

Director: William Keighley
Stars: James Cagney, George Raft, Jane Bryan
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
Lady Killer (1933)
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A former gangster makes it big in Hollywood, but his old life catches up with him.

Director: Roy Del Ruth
Stars: James Cagney, Mae Clarke, Margaret Lindsay
The D.I. (1957)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Gunnery Sergeant Jim Moore is one of the toughest Drill Instructors on Parris Island. But he's got a thorn in his side: Pvt. Owens, who always seems to foul up when the pressure's on. ... See full summary »

Director: Jack Webb
Stars: Jack Webb, Don Dubbins, Jackie Loughery
Grand Slam (1933)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Because the Stanislavsky method of playing bridge has no rules, it promotes marital harmony for those who stick with it.

Directors: William Dieterle, Alfred E. Green
Stars: Paul Lukas, Loretta Young, Frank McHugh
Edit

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)
Edit

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:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Hebrew | Latin | Yiddish

Release Date:

27 January 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A harcoló hatvankilencedik 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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Charles Trowbridge is in studio records for the role of "Chaplain Holmes", and although the character is mentioned, he never appears. A modern source includes several cast members who never appear: Sol Gorss (Soldier), Creighton Hale, Benny Rubin, Eddie Acuff, Jack Mower, Nat Carr and Jack Wise. See more »

Goofs

After the skirmish in the woods, an "unconscious" German prisoner obligingly stands on his feet prior to being carried back to the American lines. See more »

Quotes

Major 'Wild Bill' Donovan: [to Father Duffy] Well, it's a fortunate thing you're not a *crook!* You could sell the *Brooklyn Bridge* to the *police department!*
See more »

Alternate Versions

The film was colorized in 1987, but TCM does not yet show colorized versions of black and white films. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Projectionist (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
(1912) (uncredited)
Music by Ernest Ball
Lyrics by Chauncey Olcott and George Graff
Played and sung by the soldiers
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Famous regiment gets the stock company treatment from Warner Bros...
28 May 2001 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

'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.


15 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 29 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

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