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Wake Island (1942)

Brian Donlevy , MacDonald Carey , John Farrow  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Brian Donlevy, MacDonald Carey, Robert Preston, William Bendix
  • Directors: John Farrow
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: May 25, 2004
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001FVDIC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,112 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Wake Island" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Theatrical Trailer

  • Editorial Reviews

    Nominated for four Academy Awards, this hard-hitting film was the first realistic American film made about World War II. Based on the incredible true story of a handful of U.S. Marines holding out against an overwhelming Japanese air, land and sea assault, the film stars Brian Donlevy, MacDonald Carey, Robert Preston and William Bendix as the brave men who battled their way to glory and into the pages of history.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Wake Island. I got to see the actual battlefield September 30, 2000
    Format:VHS Tape
    While on my way to Vietnam. We had a stopover of about 2 hours on Wake Island. It was Hot! . From the air, it was just a polka dot in the middle of the Pacific. The first thing I wondered, why did anybody would want it. I read books about it and soon realized its strategic importance. But that was later, I was just in awe in just being there, where my fellow marines of 30 years before had fought a losing action.
    While there I saw that they never got rid of the gun emplacements,that the Japanese planes that were shot down were sitll there and also the Wildcats that fought in the battle. I got to see the monument that was erected there and the graves of the construction workers that were later executed.
    Seeing all this reminds me of Brian Donlevy as the courageous Marine officer in command and how he endevored to presevere against overwhelming odds. Rod Cameron as Capt. Bayler who becomes the "last man off Wake" and later the real Capt Bayler becomes the first man to return to Wake after the Japanese surrender.
    William Bendix and Robert Preston as the two marines are the comedy relief but die valiantly in the end. Albert Dekker portrays the Construction boss who in the movie dies along with the other marines defending the last line of defense. In real life, both he and the marine and naval commander were sent to pow camps and survived the war. Special mention for Walter Abel who portrays the real commander and did not die during the battle. In real life, I believe his name was Cunningham,gave the order to surrender knowing it was futile to continue the fight.
    Special kudos for MacDonald Carey for playing Capt. H. Elrod and possibly Maj. Putnam for the bravery of the Naval pilots who fought and died on Wake. Capt.
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    17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Fight to destroy destruction May 7, 2005
    Format:DVD
    Tenacious in the face of overwhelming odds, a small force of U.S. Marines defend the strategically important Wake Island against a series of Japanese attacks in 1942's WAKE ISLAND, one of the very first combat movies of World War II. So early, in fact, that production on the movie began before the island fell in late December of 1941.

    The real Wake Island fell after the U.S. military force, and a large number of civilian construction workers, surrendered. The movie WAKE ISLAND portrays a `last stand' battle with no survivors. Significantly, the movie opens with the image of a silhouetted bugler playing `Taps.' Scenes of leave taking at Pearl Harbor quickly follow, introducing us to major players Maj. Geoffrey Caton (Brian Donlevy) and Lt. Bruce Cameron (Macdonald Carey). Soon after we move down in class and meet the two representative of the common soldier, Pvt. Joe Doyle (Robert Preston) and Pvt. Aloysius K. 'Smacksie' Randall (William Bendix).

    Joe and Smacksie spend their time bickering, bantering, slugging each other and dreaming of home - Smacksie is to muster out within a week when we first meet him. Preston and Bendix are the comic relief, and they supply a rather heavy dose of it. Director John Farrow always included comedy in his movies, but some of the light-hearted moments in WAKE ISLAND surprised me. After all, in early 1942 the war wasn't going at all well for America, and Pearl Harbor and Wake Island both were painfully recent military defeats. Then again, perhaps laughter in the face of adversity and defiance in defeat boosts morale on the homefront.
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    27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars The Team Behind "Wake Island" May 12, 2000
    Format:VHS Tape
    Today, Wake Island remains a lonely outpost and weather station frequented by Japan's Maritime Self Defense Force units on ASW training, semi-annual MSC supply visits, and continued USAF flights from Hickam Field, Oahu. Located in the Oceanic region at Lat. 19.2833 North and Long. -166.6536 East, temperatures rarely rise above 80 degrees Fahrenheit during December. But almost 60 years ago, it was pretty hot for those Warfighters in Dec 1941. Wake Island, a piece of U.S. territory, was practically seen on every USMC Recruiting Station poster and playing at local hometown theaters. Wake Island- the movie- was released to the general public in late Aug 1942 to help boost morale back at home. This epic war film was made as a factual film chronicle, an authentic picturization of America at war- the first of its kind since a Japanese "stab in the back", on 7 Dec 1941, had changed the course of American history. Over 7,000 military personnel and their dependents first saw it when it was premiered all day long at Camp Elliott's base theater (near San Diego, CA), on 24 Aug 1942. In the making of this film, the United State Marine Corps provided Lieutenant Colonel Francis E. Pierce, USMC (later downed 6 confirmed Japanese aircraft, and C.O. of MCAD Miramar, 24 Oct 44-1 Apr 45) as technical advisor, and Lieutenant Colonel W. G. Farrell, USMC, as liaison officer. Never too far away was the supervising officer of the Marine technical staff- Brigadier General Ross Erastus Rowell, USMC (CG 2d MAW; 1884-1947). Additionally, a special weapons detail comprising 60 Marines from Camp Elliott, under the command of Captain Nicholas Pesecans, USMC, manned and received valued training with the various heavy automatic weapons (.30 and . Read more ›
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars but was a good propaganda movie for it's time
    The truth was stretch a little, but was a good propaganda movie for it's time.
    Published 4 days ago by Harold L. Rushing
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Very satisfied.
    Published 25 days ago by Jerry Roberts
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Excellent movie.
    Published 1 month ago by José
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    A true action pact move about real Americans fighting for a real cause our freedom
    Published 1 month ago by ralph hammond
    4.0 out of 5 stars Wake island
    Wife liked it. I prefer my movies to have the good guys win, and I knew the story.
    Published 1 month ago by PJM
    4.0 out of 5 stars Note to aviation enthusiasts
    Plenty of F4F Wildcat footage, some footage of a PBY-5A Catalina landing and taking off, a little stock Clipper footage, some stock footage of various types of early WW2 Japanese... Read more
    Published 1 month ago by C. Andrews
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    classic/great
    Published 2 months ago by Kathy Nicholas
    4.0 out of 5 stars A Classic WWII Propaganda & Legacy Film
    Wake Island was released only a few months after the battle was removed from doubt. Because of the intention to raise American morale and spur enlistment & fund raising, Hollywood... Read more
    Published 2 months ago by Five Angels
    4.0 out of 5 stars Wake Island
    Movie was good …based on facts. I enjoy WW 2 movies. I have ordered many movies on this theme…Enjoy old movies.
    Published 5 months ago by Barbara A. Novellino
    5.0 out of 5 stars really liked the movie
    geat movie, good depiction of what war is really like. Nice to see Macdonald Carey in something other than days of our lives.
    Published 7 months ago by John M. Kohl
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