Sergeant York (1941)
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Based on a true World War I story, Howard Hawks' Sergeant York follows a religious Tennessee boy (Gary Cooper), who is initially opposed to war. York is drafted into the Army, where he realizes that there is indeed justification for fighting and in the course of service, he becomes one of the most acclaimed and decorated heros of World War I. Cooper won an Academy Award for his performance in this moving, exciting film. Sergeant York has also been shown in a computer-colorized print.
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Critic Reviews for Sergeant York
The performance of Gary Cooper in the title role holds the picture together magnificently, and even the most unfavorable touches are made palatable because of him.
The first half is quite good, documenting York's rural upbringing with great simplicity and charm. But the second part -- the war -- degenerates quickly and grotesquely.
Even given a nest of flaws, the basic arc works beautifully: Cooper's abashed, aw-shucks demeanor is a perfect fit for the part.
Moving, memorable, great Warner Bros. biography of WWI hero York, with fine Cooper performance--an Oscar winner.
Sergeant York brought him Hawks one and only Oscar nomination for Best Director, and it's arguably his least interesting film.
This is one of those movies where the star appears to have been born to play the role.
Setting a precedent by preseting the saga of a celeb sill alive, the Hawks biopic is a tale of transformation of an obscure Tennessee hillbilly into a national hero, thus showing the validity of the democratic credo that heroes are not born but made.
The breathless pace, the good script, and the mostly fine performances made me more forgiving of the dated aspects of this film. Overall, though, it's Gary Cooper's film.
First-class Hawks biopic on the WWI hero.
Sergeant York is a quadruple 'A' attraction, destined to go many places and leaving complete satisfaction in its wake.
Audience Reviews for Sergeant York
A "simple" Appalachian converts to Christianity and then goes to WWI.
There is a scene in which York is struck by lightning, which propels him to "find God." While it purports to be based on a true story, shit like that makes me doubt its veracity. What's worse is the film's treatment of York, who is portrayed without even enough sense to tie his shoes, yet by the end of the film, we're supposed to revere his bravery and conversion from conscientious objector to violence. This characterization - I balk at calling anyone in this film a "character" - not only paints Americans and Appalachians as decidedly anti-intellectual, but it also suggests that Christianity is mutable enough to be jettisoned at the first call of violent duty.
Overall, this film is both insulting and ridiculous.
I liked Sergeant York but wasn't absolutely floored by it. The first half of the movie where York is a hell-raising yokel was entertaining, even if it did feel kind of forced. The second religious half was good even if there weren't enough of the WWI battles I'd expected and storywise it was more interesting, too. I'm not the world's biggest Gary Cooper fan but he was pretty good here. The hickishness of Sergeant York got kind of annoying after awhile but consider the source. Overall, it wasn't what I expected but it was still good.More
I don't want to be a soldier. I don't want to go to war. I would seriously consider dodging the draft if there still was one. I identified with Gary Cooper's character. Yet, the movie's message is strongly supporting war and a soldier's work. Somehow I still enjoyed the film, and can appreciate it for the things it does well.More
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