The Fighting Seabees

  • 1944
  • Movie
  • NR
  • War

One of the most popular propaganda movies to come out of WW II, THE FIGHTING SEABEES stars the swaggering John Wayne as Wedge Donovan, the head of a construction company working for the Navy on a remote Pacific island, building fortifications and an airstrip. Constance Chesley (Susan Hayward) is a news correspondent who falls in love with Donovan, who will...read more

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One of the most popular propaganda movies to come out of WW II, THE FIGHTING SEABEES stars the swaggering John Wayne as Wedge Donovan, the head of a construction company working for the Navy on a remote Pacific island, building fortifications and an airstrip. Constance Chesley (Susan

Hayward) is a news correspondent who falls in love with Donovan, who will have nothing to do with her; Navy commander Robert Yarrow (Dennis O'Keefe) is in love with Constance and at odds with Donovan over his unorthodox ways. When the Japanese invade the island, Donovan ignores Yarrow's orders to

have his men take cover, then is enraged when some of his workers are machine-gunned by strafing Zeros. He orders his men armed, and they attack the Japanese shock troops, resulting in slaughter as the construction workers are mowed down by the professional enemy. Eager to prevent another

massacre, Donovan and Yarrow journey to Washington, where it is agreed to establish a new Navy unit, the Seabees, with Donovan and Yarrow at its head. All of Donovan's workers--along with the phalanxes of construction men he recruits--are enlisted, quickly but rigorously trained, and sent to

another island. As they build their airstrip, the Japanese pick them off from hiding. Donovan can stand it no longer and, again, disobeys orders and leads his men in a sweep of the island. It's all very hokey--and racist--but it's as action-packed as the best of the serials, and Wayne's macho

banter with the feisty Hayward is wholly enjoyable. At the risk of spoiling the ending, THE FIGHTING SEABEES is one of the very few films in which Wayne actually dies--and his death scene here is pretty spectacular. Director Edward Ludwig handles the action well, and Walter Scharf's exceptional

score earned him an Oscar nomination.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: One of the most popular propaganda movies to come out of WW II, THE FIGHTING SEABEES stars the swaggering John Wayne as Wedge Donovan, the head of a construction company working for the Navy on a remote Pacific island, building fortifications and an airstr… (more)

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