From Here to Eternity


From Here to Eternity

Critics Consensus

It has perhaps aged poorly, but this languidly paced WWII romance remains an iconic, well-acted film, featuring particularly strong performances from Burt Lancaster and Montgomery Clift.



Total Count: 52


Audience Score

User Ratings: 14,846
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Movie Info

The scene is Schofield Army Barracks in Honolulu, in the languid days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, where James Jones' acclaimed war novel From Here to Eternity brought the aspirations and frustrations of several people sharply into focus. Sergeant Milt Warden (Burt Lancaster) enters into an affair with Karen (Deborah Kerr), the wife of his commanding officer. Private Robert E. Lee "Prew" Prewitt (Montgomery Clift) is a loner who lives by his own code of ethics and communicates better with his bugle than he does with words. Prew's best friend is wisecracking Maggio (Frank Sinatra, in an Oscar-winning performance that revived his flagging career), who has been targeted for persecution by sadistic stockade sergeant Fatso Judson (Ernest Borgnine). Rounding out the principals is Alma Lorene (Donna Reed), a "hostess" at the euphemistically named whorehouse The New Congress Club. All these melodramatic joys and sufferings are swept away by the Japanese attack on the morning of December 7. No words could do justice to the film's most famous scene: the nocturnal romantic rendezvous on the beach, with Burt Lancaster's and Deborah Kerr's bodies intertwining as the waves crash over them. If you're able to take your eyes off the principals for a moment or two, keep an eye out for George Reeves; his supporting role was shaved down when, during previews, audiences yelled "There's Superman!" and began to laugh. From Here to Eternity won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and supporting awards to Sinatra and Reed. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


Burt Lancaster
as Sgt. Milton Warden
Montgomery Clift
as Robert E. Lee Prewitt
Deborah Kerr
as Karen Holmes
Frank Sinatra
as Pvt. Angelo Maggio
Donna Reed
as Alma Lorene
Ernest Borgnine
as Sgt. Judson
Philip Ober
as Capt. Dana Holmes
Jack Warden
as Cpl. Buckley
George Reeves
as Sgt. Maylon Stark
John Dennis
as Sgt. Ike Galovitch
Tim Ryan
as Sgt. Pete Karelsen
Barbara Morrison
as Mrs. Kipfer
Kristine Miller
as Georgette
Jean Willes
as Annette
Merle Travis
as Sal Anderson
Arthur Keegan
as Treadwell
Claude Akins
as Sgt. Baldy Thom
Robert Karnes
as Sgt. Turp Thornhill
Robert J. Wilke
as Sgt. Henderson
Bob Wilke
as Sgt. Henderson
Douglas Henderson
as Cpl. Champ Wilson
Don Dubbins
as Friday Clark
John L. Cason
as Cpl. Paluso
John Bryant
as Capt. Ross
Vicki Bakken
as Suzanne
Weaver Levy
as Bartender
Tyler McVey
as Major Stern
Robert Healy
as Soldier
James Brick Sullivan
as Military Guard
Freeman Lusk
as Col. Wood
Robert Pike
as Major Bonds
Carleton Young
as Col. Ayres
Fay Roope
as Gen. Slater
Alvin Sargent
as Nair [uncredited]
Wayne Norman
as Soldier
Willis Bouchey
as Lieutenant Colonel
John Davis
as Soldier
Manny Klein
as Trumpeter
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News & Interviews for From Here to Eternity

Critic Reviews for From Here to Eternity

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (48) | Rotten (4)

  • The film tells a compelling story with many of the elements that audiences find appealing.

    Jul 1, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The film is anonymously directed, functionally paced and hysterical at times, though it seduces as a hot-blooded spectacle that stitches emotional detail onto the epic canvas of history.

    Feb 23, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    David Jenkins

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • There isn't a dull moment in the picture.

    Feb 23, 2015 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • In From Here to Eternity, you can glimpse an uneasier future for America, with the social wreckage and the pretending.

    Jan 29, 2014 | Full Review…
  • The cast includes Frank Sinatra, Montgomery Clift and Ernest Borgnine, all of whom are fine, in what is essentially a melodrama.

    Sep 29, 2010 | Rating: 4/5
  • I have to say that Clift's plot is far less compelling than Lancaster's and something of the zip goes when Frank Sinatra disappears from the action, sent to the stockade. But what a punch this movie still packs.

    Sep 23, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for From Here to Eternity

  • 2d ago
    A fine cast in excellent form is the main attraction in this look at the desultory days for some few military camp personnel in Honolulu prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor."We make as much pain and heartache for one another in peacetime as an enemy attack does in wartime," seems to be the subversive gist of the piece. And one of the few films I've seen about the 50th state that doesn't bend over backwards to tell you how Hawaii is a tropical oasis.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Sep 06, 2016
    Excellent film. Absolute classic.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Apr 14, 2016
    The camera loves Montgomery Clift and his perfect face, and he is exceptional as always along with Lancaster and Sinatra, but while during its first hour it feels like a film that you can watch forever, it soon starts to drag and make all too evident its lack of a well-defined structure.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 03, 2014
    Man, through "From Her_ to Eternity", Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds kind of ruined this neat little title for me. Yeah, yeah, these folks can worry about a possible Japanese invasion, but maybe we should have tightened up for the Aussie invasion of the '80s, because Nick Cave is a little too much experimental post-punk than I'm comfortable with. Shoot, maybe they could have gotten an early start during WWII, because it doesn't seem like these guys are so much concerned about Japanese attacks, as much as they're concerned with bickering with one another and worrying about the women in their lives. This film is good and all, but it isn't much of a war film, which is probably a good thing, because it could be taken as military propaganda enough as it is without cool action and junk. Kids, don't look at this film and think that when you get into the military, you'll get the chance to lounge around a Hawaiian beach, making out with a beautiful woman. Well, you might be able to pull that off if you have Burt Lancaster's physique and grin, or if you looked like Montgomery Clift, or if you could sing like Frank Sinatra. This is one seriously Hollywood army, and there's still no action, which is fine, because this film is still plenty compelling, despite its issues, and its having plenty of time to run into issues. Running not even a whole two hours, this film is by no means terribly long, but like I said, for a military film, it doesn't have much going on, so storytelling often struggles to find material to work with, until it gets to be kind of repetitious, and feels as though it's losing focus the more it spends too much time with one plot layer over the others. The film follows three intertwined, yet still distinct storylines, and each one is thoroughly compelling, but considering that pacing is so uneven, the transitions between each overdrawn layer go convoluted feel relatively sudden. The storytellers tend to fumble all of the layering which, to a certain extent, reflects the ambition which is further emphasized by refreshing dramatic touches that in turn emphasize the lapses in originality, of which there are many, to where a certain predictability often rears its ugly head in amidst surprises. It doesn't help that contrivances are among the tropes hit in the storytelling, for the plots are nothing if not melodramatic, and made all the more disingenuous in feel - despite all of the inspiration - by heavy-handed dialogue and contrived characterization. Through all of the film's grace is subtlety issues, some of which are a little cheesy, and all of which are either lazy or further reflective of an ambition to bloat the kick and structure of this drama, whose value is limited to begin with. I've said it time and again, but this isn't much of a military drama, and by that, I mean that's not a particularly dynamic drama at all, having enough potential to be made into a rewarding final product, but not enough for it to be easy to overlook all of the excess, unevenness, familiarity and melodramatics. The final product's reward value is well-threatened, but ultimately secured, and pretty firmly, partly because it knows how to immerse. Something of an intimate character drama, this film isn't thoroughly exploratory of its Hawaiian setting, but a lot of the film's engagement value thrives on its boasting such a beautiful setting, which is both aesthetically pleasing, - in spite of a lack of color - and tight enough to actually help in complimenting the sense of intimacy which this story would be nothing without. Sure, the intimacy of the story concept minimalizes the scope of this drama of a limited sense of consequence, and is betrayed by some subtlety issues to storytelling, but as I said, each one of the plots in this melodrama is compelling, with human themes regarding men's principles and love that hold a lot of potential for a grace which was ahead of this time in dramatic filmmaking. Daniel Taradash's Oscar-winning screenplay, with its contrivances and other heavy-handed touches, does a degree of injustice to the depth of this film, while also shaking momentum through excess and inconsistencies, but more than anything, it's sharp, with solid dialogue and enough taste to characterization and audacity to the handling of worthy subject matter to carry some genuine heart. Fred Zinnemann brings resonance to this heart, because if momentum is sustained here, then it's through Zinnemann's well-paced scene structuring which draws upon the sharp highlights in scripting in order to sustain entertainment value, and your attention with it, through and through, until finding unexpected subtlety. There are times in which the film is rather moving, but there are few, if any times in which the drama is less than compelling, for no matter how much fumblings in ambition challenge your investment, the inspiration and taste found throughout the film endears about as much as the performers. This is a sizable cast full of talent, and just about every member is, at the very least, sparklingly charismatic, and that especially goes for leading men Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift and Frank Sinatra, who also hit their share of dramatic highlights which, especially for the time, are powerful in their defining the vulnerability of the central focuses of this intimate character drama. These leads carry the final product about as assuredly as anyone, or at least highlight the reflections of heart which can be found in most every area of this drama, and although it is hard to completely disregard the shortcomings, they are decidedly overcome. Once eternity is reached, the film takes a touch too long to unevenly unravel a sometimes formulaic, frequently melodramatic and somewhat thin narrative, but engagement value is consistently sustained by the lavish locations, noble subject matter, thoughtful writing, effective direction and strong performances by Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift and Frank Sinatra which make Fred Zinnemann's "From Here to Eternity" a compelling, intimate portrait on the challenges of soldiers which extent beyond the military. 3/5 - Good
    Cameron J Super Reviewer

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