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The Fighting 69th [VHS] (1940)

James Cagney , Pat O'Brien , William Keighley  |  NR |  VHS Tape
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, George Brent, Jeffrey Lynn, Alan Hale
  • Directors: William Keighley
  • Writers: Dean Riesner, Fred Niblo Jr., Norman Reilly Raine
  • Producers: Hal B. Wallis, Louis F. Edelman
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Original recording reissued, NTSC
  • Language: English, Hebrew, Latin, Yiddish
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • VHS Release Date: July 5, 2000
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0790744996
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #482,611 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

A cocky recruit in the 69th Regiment during WWI becomes a hero and loses his life in the process.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent DVD release from the Warner Bros vault October 2, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Warner Brothers does their usual excellent job with the DVD release of "The Fighting 69th." This is a beautifully restored print in glorious black and white.

The special features package contains "Warner Night at the Movies," consisting of a theatrical trailer ("Brother Orchid"), a newsreel ("Fleet Sails for Secret War Tests"), an Academy Award nominated short film about Londoners coping with the Blitz ("London Can Take It" ), a short about civil aviation pilot training programs ("Young America Flies"), and a B&W cartoon set on the Mayflower ("Pilgrim Porky"). Additional bonus material includes a color Merrie Melody cartoon, "The Fighting 69 1/2th," a 1949 Lux Radio Theater audio adaptation of "The Fighting 69th," and the theatrical trailer for "The Fighting 69th."

This is a stirring, sentimental, and patriotic film released in 1940 before American entered WWII. James Cagney and Pat O'Brien were outstanding actors, with great chemistry in the nine films they made together. The excellent supporting cast includes Alan Hale and Dennis Morgan.

The story revolves around the 165th US Infantry, which had previously been known as the 69th New York, an outfit composed mostly of Irish immigrants and several generations of their native born sons. In grand Hollywood tradition, everyone speaks with a brogue, fist fights break out with abandon, and references to shillelaghs, banshees and blarney are plentiful.

Jerry Plunket (Cagney), a tough mug from Brooklyn enlists so he can come home with a chest full of medals and be a big shot. He brags, cracks wise, and struts his way through boot camp, endearing himself to no one. But when he comes under fire, Plunket discovers he isn't as brave as he thought he was going to be.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old Fashioned Patriotism March 9, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
James Cagney plays a coward Jerry Plunkett in this sentimental film about the famous fighting Irish American regiment in the First World War. Prior to entering the military Cagney is a contemptible loudmouth braggart from Brooklyn. Once in Europe he turns into a squealing coward the first time he encounters the Germans bringing an array of enemy ordnance and death upon his regiment. Ultimately Cagney turns cowardice into courage with a little help from Pat O'Brien's influence as Father Duffy. The film seems somewhat dated but Cagney and O'Brien's performances, expertly orchestrated battle sequences and Owen Marks' editing make this film important and significant. The examination of heroism and cowardice weighed against burdensome feelings of camaraderie are expertly represented in this film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Warner Bros. Pictures presents "THE FIGHTING 69TH" (1943) (90 min/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) -- The US 69th division was a national guard contingent comprised of Irish Americans, who fought with the Rainbow Division in the WWI years 1917-1918 --- Into this ethnic stronghold comes cocky Jerry Plunkett, a streetwise tough who is certain that he can lick the Germans single-handedly --- But during his first taste of real combat, Plunkett turns coward and inadvertently reveals the 69th's position --- Held responsible for the deaths of his companions, Plunkett is sentenced to a firing squad --- Thanks to a bomb that levels the stockade in which he is held, Plunkett set out to redeem himself on the battlefield.

The beauty of James Cagney's star performance is that he is as thoroughly convincing as a "yellow belly" as he is a hero.

The real-life personages depicted in The Fighting 69th include military priest Father Duffy (Pat O'Brien), future OSS leader Wild Bill Donovan (George Brent) and poet Joyce Kilmer (Jeffrey Lynn).

Another outstanding tour de force for Cagney!

Under the production staff of:
William Keighley [Director]
Norman Reilly Raine [Original Screenplay]
Fred Niblo Jr. [Original Screenplay]
Dean Riesner [Screenplay] (as Dean Franklin)
Louis F. Edelman [Associate Producer]
Hal B. Wallis [Executive Producer]
Adolph Deutsch [Original Music]
Tony Gaudio [Cinematographer]
Owen Marks [Film Editor]

1. William Keighley [Director]
Date of Birth: 4 August 1889 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Date of Death: 24 June 1984 - New York City, New York

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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Faith and action March 18, 2007
Format:VHS Tape
In this classic, faith and action yield redemption for lost causes and several familiar names in history come to life. The acting is superb and the plot carries a good blend of action and drama. Cagney plays the quintessential tough-guy exterior stretched thin over the coward underneath who finally finds redemption outside himself. Pat O'Brien as Father Duffy was perfectly cast and gives humanity and depth to the character. George Brent is also perfectly cast as "Wild Bill" Donovan and provides a memorable performance. Very well done and one to enjoy often.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cagney classic in WW1 feature August 21, 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
just prior to America's involvement in WW2,Warner Brothers gives us a somewhat truthful depiction of the fighting 69th infantry regiment of New York off to fight the Germans in France. Cagney plays a two-fisted wisecracking recruit who's false bravado masks his cowardice in combat. although Cagney's character is fictional the film portrays Chaplain Francis Duffy,"wild Bill Donovan,poet Joyce Kilmer and Oliver Ames. Duffy who is portrayed by Cagney's life long pal,Pat O'Brien,was the most highly decorated Chaplain in US army history and Donovan(George Brent) went on to become a major part of the OSS. the movie is a tad over sentimental and clearly has definite propoganda bias,but the combat scenes are very well done. Warner Brothers had a large stable of irish-american actors and they'll all here. Alan Hale Sr,Frank McHugh,Jeffrey Lynn,Dennis Morgan lend nice colorful if a bit stereotypical ambiance of the mostly Irish unit that initially gained fame in the Civil war in Zouave uniform at that. somewhat dated but thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Its a real shame we dont see these types of movies in cable or satellite TV.
Published 1 day ago by WILLIAM FITZGIBBON
4.0 out of 5 stars 1940 WAR PROPOGANDA
An entertaining film that i doubt has a whole lot of historical accuracy beyond the fact that the 69th existed and fought in WWI and at least some of the characters existed. Read more
Published 2 months ago by ilbob
5.0 out of 5 stars with an amazing WWI museum
This is of WWI and am familiar to a degree of The Rainbow Devision. I lived a time in Kansas City, with an amazing WWI museum, and outside is an arch dedicated to the Rainbow... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Carol Pritchett
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good movie a++++
Published 2 months ago by Elizabeth Geers
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good WW1 movie. Cagney is great in everything.
Published 2 months ago by impasko
5.0 out of 5 stars husband loved it
I bought this for my husband at his request when I went away for 1 weekend without him.He loved watching it and passed the time away.He loves old movies.
Published 2 months ago by ginny d
5.0 out of 5 stars DVD
This was a birthday gift. I had never seen it. Excellent movie. My husband was very pleased with the gift
Published 5 months ago by Maryann T. Harper
4.0 out of 5 stars Cagney at His Best
Made early in the WW II war to inspire recruiting and support for the war. Cagney in one of his best characters.
Published 8 months ago by Albert E. Paladino
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun movie.
All and all great movie to watch again and again. The young actors in it are so much fun to watch.

Published 12 months ago by ANalliah
5.0 out of 5 stars The fighting 69th
I first saw this film on t.v., back in the early 80's. Like most, I did not know that 'Big Mike Wynn', was not the skipper from gilligan's island, but, rather, his old man, alan... Read more
Published 13 months ago by K.R. Williams
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