Five Came Back

Watch Five Came Back

"Four must die! One must choose!"
  • Passed
  • 1939
  • 1 hr 15 min
  • 7.1  (2,327)

Five Came Back is a riveting drama from 1939 that follows the fates of a diverse group of passengers aboard a doomed commercial airline. The film opens with the prologue's narration, informing the viewers that an airline that departed from New York is missing and feared to have crashed, with no survivors found yet. As the story progresses, we see that the plane has crashed in a jungle-ridden part of South America, trapping the survivors in a fight for survival. A unique and well-chosen ensemble of characters has boarded the ill-fated plane.

One of the leading characters is a district attorney, named Bill (Chester Morris), who is contemplating his upcoming nuptials as the plane's engine sputters and stalls. Another central female lead, a nightclub singer called Peggy (Lucille Ball), who made it aboard the flight in a hurry, and hopes to eventually make it to her singing gig. Other passengers include a wealthy couple, a doctor, a bickering couple, a company official, and a convict being taken back to prison. All of these passengers will soon have more pressing concerns than their problems on the ground.

The group quickly realized that their situation is grim, and they have to work together to survive. They are stranded in harsh terrain with limited resources, and the film provides the viewers with an atmospheric portrayal of their predicament. They face some of the harshest conditions, like extreme heat, lack of food and water, mosquitoes, and deadly animals. They continually give their all and struggle to survive under these challenging circumstances.

As time passes, the passengers' fears grow with each passing moment, while they carefully ration their meager supplies. The film chronicles their experience as they face their dire situation for a matter of days. The pacing and tension in the film build slowly, with each member of the group wresting with the despair of their situation.

The acting performances given by the cast are impressive, with each actor providing a unique character performance. Chester Morris delivers an impressive performance as the leader of the pack, Bill. Lucille Ball also stands out with her remarkable wit and humor, while Wendy Barrie delivers a compelling performance as the wealthy socialite who hadn't even wanted to board the flight.

The directorial approach of John Farrow is superb, providing an engrossing portrayal of the desperation of the survivors. The impressive cinematography focussed on capturing the unique nature bounty and wildlife beauties of the South American region. The sets and costumes are also notable, vividly contrasting the intense drama and hardship that the passengers face.

The emotional arc of the movie, despite the island survival story, centers on how the characters react when their life is at risk. Throughout the whole picture, we see how the passengers reveal their essential character as opposed to what they portray in front of society. The film highlights how humanity's character is the ultimate defense and determinant of survival. The encouraging message of the film is that, indeed, we should strive as humans fights for survival, even in the direst of circumstances.

Overall, Five Came Back is a dramatic survival story, supplemented by remarkable performances by the cast, excellent cinematography, and fitting direction from John Farrow. The story faces and portrays survival and the human spirit against all odds. The film stands among the finest adventure films of its time - a timeless classic that will undoubtedly continue to hold its place in history.

Five Came Back
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 15 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.1  (2,327)