Flying Leathernecks

Flying Leathernecks

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Flying Leathernecks

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Flying Leathernecks is a 1951 action film directed by Nicholas Ray,Variety film review; July 25, 1951, p. 6.Harrison's Reports film review; July 21, 1951, p. 114. produced by Edmund Grainger, (who had produced Sands of Iwo Jima) and starring John Wayne and Robert Ryan. The movie details the exploits and personal battles of United States Marine Corps aviators during World War II. Marines have long had the nickname "leatherneck," hence the title.


Major Dan Kirby (John Wayne) arrives to VMF-247 ("Wildcats") as the new commander while everybody in the unit was expecting Captain Carl "Grif" Griffin (Robert Ryan) to take his place. Kirby is strict with rules and makes it understood from day one. Assigned to the Cactus Air Force during the Guadalcanal campaign, Kirby has few planes available and a lot to accomplish in a field that is attacked daily by the Japanese. His pilots are young and behave like "kids," at times disobeying orders and foolishly losing their lives and precious planes. Kirby is requiring maximum effort, and Captain Griffin is not as tough as Kirby expects. Griffin stays closer to his young pilots. One of them is his own brother-in-law, Vern "Cowboy" Blithe (Don Taylor).

Kirby for his part hates the decisions he has to make and knows that he is sending his pilots to death, but the success of his missions is the most important thing to him. He keeps this as a...
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