The Fighting Sullivans
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   The Fighting Sullivan's 

A story of the US Navy Ships

and the Sailors who served them.



The Fighting Sullivians, a WW2 Story about the Sullivian family in the United States Navy


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Rated: NR 
Starring: Fighting Sullivan's, Thomas Mitchell


Product Description
The Guts and Glory of the Navy! This is the movie that inspired "Saving Private Ryan." It's the true story of five brothers who fought and died together when their ship, the American cruiser Juneau, was sunk in the South Pacific during World War II. The Fighting Sullivan's is something more than a worthy tribute to a pair of small town parents and the five sons they lost when the Juneau blew up in a battle off Guadalcanal on November 13, 1942. It is a heartwarming slice of Americana that will fill in the background of any number of Americans on the fighting front.

The audience's awareness of the news in store for the Sullivan family adds considerably to the film's effect. The Fighting Sullivan's generates emotion strictly on it's own terms and without bidding for tears. This Commemorative Edition marks the 63rd anniversary of the sinking of the Juneau. DVD features: 2005 Interview with Frank Holmgren (last living survivor of the sinking)| Video Inside the 5 Sullivan Brothers Veterans Museum| A message from Bob Neymeyer of the Grout Museum| Family Photos| Last Muster List| Memorials from family members| Survivor List| Juneau Action account letter by Lieutenant Roger W O'Neil Mc-V (G) U S Naval Reserve| Personal Letters| Letter from President Franklin D Roosevelt| New Digital Transfer| Original Theatrical Trailer.

"The Fighting Sullivan's" is the true story of five brothers who died together when their U.S. Navy ship, the Juneau, was sunk in the South Pacific during World War II. But only the last act of this 1944 film, directed by Lloyd Bacon, shows the Sullivan's at war.

Most of this film is pure Americana, following the lives of the boys from their childhood in Waterloo, Iowa. Thomas Mitchell and the marvelous Selena Royle are the loving parents, while the five boys are played by unknown actors: Edward Ryan (Al), John Campbell (Frank), James Cardwell (George), John Alvin (Matt), and George Offerman (Joe). Trudy Marshall plays their only sister, Genevieve. Top billing actually goes to Anne Baxter as the young girl who marries into the family and will be left a widow with a baby in arms. Ward Bond plays the Navy lieutenant who befriends the family when the Sullivan's insist that they will only join up if they can serve together. Eventually the Navy relents and the boys get their wish.

Audiences knew the tragic fate of the Sullivan's, although the film was originally released as "The Sullivan's" and pretty much bombed at the box office. Re-titled "The Fighting Sullivan's" and re-released, it became a smash hit. The use of unknown actors made the film all the more effective, especially since it refrained from the sort of clichs you would expect.

If the scene where the parents learn all five boys have died does not get you, the next scene will: Mr. Sullivan goes off to his job on the railroad and as the train passes the water tower where his boys waved to him as kids, he salutes them. Actually, this film works so well that the final shot, of the Sullivan's in uniform striding across the clouds of the afterlife does not seem one whit hokey. There is a documentary available on the Sullivan's, which tells how one of the boys survived the sinking before dying in the waters off of Guadalcanal. I would not have thought anything could have made this story more tragic, but that bit of information certainly made it worse for me.

A story about a family where all of the children joined the US Navy and all were stationed on the same ship during the war.  You've got to see this one, it's part of our national heritage.     C. Jeff Dyrek, webmaster

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