Donovan's Reef (1963)

Donovan's Reef




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

John Ford's last film to deal with World War II, Donovan's Reef is an alternately comical and sentimental look back on the fighting Navy men from that war, and how and where -- in Ford's eyes, and Frank Nugent and James Edward Grant's script -- they should have ended up. Michael "Guns" Donovan (John Wayne), Thomas "Boats" Gilhooley (Lee Marvin), and Dr. William Dedham (Jack Warden), a trio of navy veterans who fought on the Pacific island of Haleakalowa during the war, now live on the island. … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Romance, Classics, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Frank S. Nugent, James Edward Grant
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 5, 2001
Paramount Pictures


as Michael Patrick 'Gun...

as Thomas Aloysius 'Boa...

as Dr. William Dedham

as Ameilia Dedham

as Marquis Andre de Lag...

as Father Cluzeot

as Sgt. Monk Menkowicz

as Francis X. O'Brien

as Mr. Eu

as Sister Matthew

as Capt. Martin

as Koshi

as Naval Officer

as Sister Gabrielle

as Aussie Officer

as Australian Navy Offi...

as Grand uncle Sedley A...

as Officer

as Native girl

as Sally Dedham

as Family council membe...

as Family council membe...

as Family Council Membe...

as Family council membe...

as Family Council Membe...

as Family Council Membe...

as Ameilia Dedham

as Family council membe...

as Servant
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Donovan's Reef

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | February 11, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Though not in top form, director John Ford and star John Wayne, building on previous and better collaborations in this easy-going (and lazy) adventure set in the Pacific, offering good old fun with the Duke, Jack Warden, Dorothy Lamour and Lee Marvin.

Full Review… | March 11, 2008

For once director John Ford used his cornball sense of humor in a proper setting.

Full Review… | May 21, 2007
Combustible Celluloid

A so-called fun film aimed at those who find it a hoot when someone gets hit over the head with a beer bottle.

Full Review… | January 5, 2006
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Donovan's Reef

The writing is a little sloppy, and overall things are silly and everything is meant to be light entertainment-but I rather enjoyed this. It was funny, even if things seem very dated and silly, but still, a good laugh or two or three never hurt anyone-especially when the intentions are good. It is weird (but cool) seeing Lee Marvin as comic relief though.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Donovan's Reef was the final collaboration between Johns Wayne and Ford, and features manly men doing manly things such as swill booze, chomp on cee-gars and hit each other with furniture. It can best be seen as a kind of attempt to make a masculine romantic comedy. However to me it just seemed like a western set in the south seas with all but the bar room brawls, sentiment and romance removed. In other words, with all the good bits removed. It's not dreadful as such, but it's gender politics are very dated (as if a young Boston sophisticate would be attracted to an middle-aged, brawling, beer sodden school boy) and it's just not that funny. Not a fitting epilogue to a partnership that produced some of the cinematic greats. Or maybe I'm just not "manly" enough...

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer


Good funny with John Wayne and Lee Marvin, but I see heaps of mistakes in saloon brawl scenes.

Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

Donovan's Reef Quotes

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