Gung Ho!

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"U.S. Marine Raiders in Action...Blasting Their Way To Tokyo!"
  • NR
  • 1943
  • 1 hr 28 min
  • 6.0  (1,625)

Gung Ho! is a patriotic World War II film released in 1943, directed by Ray Enright and starring an ensemble cast headed by Randolph Scott, Alan Curtis, and Noah Beery Jr. The title "Gung Ho" comes from the Chinese term for “work together,” which became a battle cry for the United States Marines. The movie is a black and white tribute to the bravery and tenacity of the Marines, especially focusing on the real-life exploits of Carlson's Marine Raiders during the war.

The story chronicles the formation, training, and first mission of the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, bringing to the screen a gritty portrayal of military life and combat. Randolph Scott plays the stoic and war-hardened Colonel Thorwald, a composite character likely inspired by Lieutenant Colonel Evans Carlson, the actual leader of the Raiders. Alan Curtis and Noah Beery Jr. feature as members of this elite group, embodying the diverse but uniformly brave and determined men under Thorwald's command.

Gung Ho! is enveloped in the spirit of wartime cooperation and the collective effort of Americans from all walks of life. The film begins with the recruitment of the Raiders, whose ranks were filled by volunteers from across the United States. These men, some with prior military experience and some without, undergo the rigorous training required to become part of an elite fighting force. The film emphasizes themes such as sacrifice, camaraderie, and the melding of individuals from varied backgrounds into a unified and effective combat unit.

The intense scenes of training serve not only to demonstrate the physical and mental preparation of the Raiders but also to show the audience the origins of their 'Gung Ho' spirit. The filmmakers portray survival tactics, hand-to-hand combat skills, and weapons training, all important aspects of the Raiders' regimen necessary for their daunting tasks ahead.

Beyond the training, the film introduces the men's diverse personalities and backgrounds, highlighting their reasons for joining the fight and their collective journey towards becoming hardcore fighters in the cause of liberty and democracy.

The film unfolds to show the Raiders' first perilous mission: an attack on Makin Island in the Pacific, held by the Japanese. Without revealing the outcome, it’s safe to say that Gung Ho! does not shy away from depicting combat's arcane violence and unpredictability. The battle scenes are staged with an eye toward realism that would have resonated with contemporary audiences, many of whom would have had family members serving overseas.

One of the standout aspects of Gung Ho! is its dedication to morale-building during a time of international crisis. As a wartime propaganda piece, it is unabashed in its portrayal of the enemy, using the film as a tool to solidify public opinion and support for the American war effort. The Japanese are presented as a cunning and ruthless adversary, underscoring the bravery and necessity of the Raiders' mission.

The performances within the film are robust, with Randolph Scott anchoring the cast as the seasoned leader, adept at inspiring his men to extraordinary feats. The camaraderie between the soldiers is palpable, lending authenticity to their portrayal as battle-hardened Marines. Alan Curtis and Noah Beery Jr., alongside the rest of the supporting cast, manage to inject moments of humor and heart into the otherwise taut narrative, providing a well-rounded depiction of men at war.

The film’s score underlines the dramatic tension and complements the action-packed sequences, while the cinematography effectively captures the claustrophobic conditions and explosive battles of Pacific warfare.

Gung Ho! can be seen as a historically significant film, showing World War II audiences a somewhat glorified but compelling view of American military capability and heroism. The movie also has educational value as a fictionalized representation of an actual military operation, though it takes liberties for dramatic effect, as is common in wartime cinema.

While the film reflects the values and perspectives of its time, including elements that modern viewers might find dated or problematic, Gung Ho! stands as a product of its era, providing insight into 1940s American culture, attitudes, and the film industry's role in wartime morale-building.

It's a film about teamwork, tenacity, and the unyielding American spirit in the face of adversity, immortalizing the courage and sacrifice of those who served during one of the most tumultuous periods in history. For audiences today, Gung Ho! offers a snapshot of the era's patriotism and a tribute to the valor of the United States Marines.

Gung Ho! is a 1943 action movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 28 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.0.

Gung Ho!
Where to Watch Gung Ho!
Gung Ho! is available to watch free on Plex, Pluto TV and Tubi TV. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels, FuboTV, FlixFling, The Roku Channel and Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent Gung Ho! for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 28 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.0  (1,625)