Sullivans, The / Fighting Sullivans, The (1944)

Sullivans, The / Fighting Sullivans, The (1944)

“Well, I guess that oughta learn us Sullivans to stick together!”

Five Irish-American brothers — George (James Cardwell), Frank (John Campbell), Joe (George Offerman, Jr.), Matt (John Alvin), and Al (Edward Ryan) Sullivan — remain close-knit with their sister (Trudy Marshall) and parents (Thomas Mitchell and Selena Royle), even after Ryan marries his sweetheart (Anne Baxter) and they have a baby. When America enters World War II, the brothers decide to enlist in the Navy together, refusing to be separated.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Anne Baxter Films
  • Biopics
  • Siblings
  • Thomas Mitchell Films
  • World War II

This biopic about the Sullivan Brothers — whose sacrifices inspired the creation of the United States’ Sole Survivor Policy when all five brothers died in action — was surely an audience pleaser and consoler at the time of its release, during the height of World War II. It focuses heavily on the boys’ upbringing and fraternal camaraderie:

— as well as Ryan’s courtship of Baxter:

— before finally turning in its last half hour to the moment the family hears about the bombing of Pearl Harbor on the radio:

… and the brothers’ fate is eventually sealed. The movie remains a fitting tribute to this family which gave so much to the war effort — and while it’s not must-see viewing, it’s worth a one-time look, especially by those interested in films of the era.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • An emotionally stirring tale of family unity

Must See?
No, though it’s a fine tale and worthy one-time viewing.


One thought on “Sullivans, The / Fighting Sullivans, The (1944)

  1. Agreed, not must-see. That said, it’s a very respectful and, ultimately, moving film. Mitchell saluting his sons in memory (near the end) is an esp. touching moment.

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