Published on May 21st, 2008 | by Chris4
The Fighting Sullivans (1944)
The Fighting Sullivans documents the tragic loss of the five Sullivan brothers, who died while serving together on the USS Juneau in the Solomon Islands. This story served as an inspiration for Saving Private Ryan, and it is as relevant and painful a story today as it was then.
Although the film itself is not at all what I expected it to be. We find ourselves “getting to know” the Sullivan boys, from their christenings, on up through the years and their various (mis)adventures. Instead of a typical “war movie”, we get a sort of biography. Not that its a bad thing, the majority of the film is as heart-warming, funny, and true-to-life for most people as you can get.
Which makes the final few scenes all the more heart-wrenching. In a lot of ways this film could be made today, in spite of the fact that the Navy won’t allow these sort of situations to happen anymore (I think?) But whether its five or one, the loss is just as bad.
The Fighting Sullivans is also a bit of a time-machine, with respect to what it was like growing up back then, and how problems were dealt with. The scenes with the young brothers running around un-challenged in a train yard made me think how commonplace that sort of thing must’ve been, and how horrified most people today would be at that. The entire “smoking” incident also brings a “it’d never happen today” vibe, although you’ve all heard the stories, you’d probably be thrown in jail for doing that to your kids today…. Don’t even get me started on the wood-box scene!
Like most films of the era, though, The Fighting Sullivans ends on a somewhat triumphant note, both with the “life must go on” mentality of the father as he goes to his job the same as always immediately after hearing the terrible news, and passing the water tower where his young kids would see him off. Likewise as we end the picture, with the family christening the USS The Sullivans, and we see the brothers marching off towards the pearly gates.
I can only imagine the reaction to this film by the public of that time, with so many lives given up, and so many others sharing a common experience. The Fighting Sullivans, while not so much war movie as it is tribute to American sacrifice, is still a classic.
The Fighting Sullivans – Commemorative Edition
The Guts and Glory of the Navy! This is the movie that inspired “Saving Private Ryan.” It’s the true story of five brothers who fought and died together when their ship, the American cruiser Juneau, was sunk in the South Pacific during World War II…
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Brand: Video Communications Inc.
Manufacturer: Vci Video
Original Release Date:
- Anne Baxter
- Thomas Mitchell
- Selena Royle
- Edward Ryan
- Trudy Marshall
Summary: I can only imagine the reaction to this film by the public of that time, with so many lives given up, and so many others sharing a common experience. The Fighting Sullivans, while not so much war movie as it is tribute to American sacrifice, is still a classic.