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Mister Roberts Reviews

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Michael G

Super Reviewer

June 1, 2010
Mister Roberts is yet another testament to the legend and greatness of Henry Fonda. John Ford's (half) direction (Mervyn LeRoy took over after Ford went batshit drunk) offered some of the greatest shots this side of Monument Valley. James Cagney also turns in a great performance if you can handle him playing a total asshole and his scenes with Fonda are great also. A young Jack Lemmon also does a great job as does William Powell in his final screen role. Mister Roberts is also full of great characters even if the story doesn't really go anywhere unexpected or far. The scene where Lemmon read that last letter pissed me off in ways any human language can never hope to describe but that final scene kind of turned it around.
Ken S

Super Reviewer

July 5, 2007
Good Old Fashion Fun

Super Reviewer

March 4, 2007
Enjoyable if lightweight naval comedy set on a cargo ship during WWII. The presence of Henry Fonda and James Cagney adds dramatic credibility and Jack Lemmon supplies the comic relief, but it's a little inconsequential.
John B

Super Reviewer

December 30, 2013
One of the most delightful of war "comedies' Mister Roberts provides a good starring role for Henry Fonda and puts him toe to toe with legendary James Cagney. Throw in Jack Lemmon and William Powell and you have the recipe for something special which is delivered most effectively.
Danny R

Super Reviewer

February 25, 2010
A marvelously entertaining classic film that brought the beloved Broadway comedy hit to the silver screen, superbly directed by John Ford & Mevyln Leroy. Henry Fonda reprise his brilliant Tony-winning role of Lt. Doug Roberts, who is eager to be transferred to a battleship in the war zone rather than serve on a cargo supply ship named "Reluctant" which is dominated by a petty, tyrannical Captain who is fierce adversary of Lt. Roberts, played with great relish by the great James Cagney in a truly memorable performance, Jack Lemmon won his first Academy Award as the hapless, lecherous, rambunctious and opportunistic Ensign Pulver who is a laugh riot and is unforgettable, Lemmon steals the show in every scene which he appears, and in his final film William Powell proves once again to a master of comedy timing as "Doc," the world -weary medic of the ship. A superb comedy that endures the test of time, an American classic.
ashley h

Super Reviewer

August 18, 2007
Henry Fonda was robbed of an Oscar. I adore jack Lemmon,and this is one of the best WW2 dramadies
Sunil J

Super Reviewer

April 25, 2008
The premise seemed a bit blah at first but when i watched it, I was very amused and the actors are all very likeable.

Super Reviewer

April 5, 2007
Just saw this again the other night on AMC...Great movie w/ Henry Fonda, James Cagney, Jack Lemmon, Ward Bond and I believe, a very young Patrick Wayne.
November 22, 2011
Pretty funny. Lemon really gets to stand out, and Henry Fonda is just playing the blowhard ra-ra guy who can't wait to die for his country. I'm surprised his crew likes him so much; these guys are just trying to survive the war and here's this guy talking about how much he wants to "do something." I think most real sailors just trying to survive the war and having to hear that all of the time for real in WWII would be like: "STFU."
July 31, 2013
Not sure, but this might have worked better on Broadway. It was a good picture, but the one part I truly loved was Jack Lemmon's Oscar winning role.
January 16, 2012
Mister Roberts (1955) -- [6.0] -- Henry Fonda is caught between a beleaguered WWII cargo crew and their vindictive captain in this oddly cheerful, lightweight drama directed by John Ford and Mervyn Leroy. James Cagney hams it up as the nutcase captain while William Powell makes a graceful big screen exit as the ship's doctor. Jack Lemmon won the first of his two Oscars for his supporting role as an angsty ensign. It's a fluffy piece of work made watchable by its sheer star power. Composer Franz Waxman must have missed the "fluffy" memo -- he goes bombastic in the strangest places here.
January 5, 2012
Cute and strangely unique comedy that utilizes its setting well, as well as creating characters that define the main actors well--apart from James Cagney, who is incredibly under-utilized here. Henry Fonda is great as the reserved title character who learns a lesson and teaches others, too.
December 1, 2006
Of the few good moments there are in this flick, the majority of the film seems to miss several emotional beats intended to resonate with the audience. Since this is based on a play, I would imagine the performances would have much more delivery on stage. Though the majority of the cast is solid, Jack Lemmon overwhelms viewers with his overly irritable character portrayal (significantly effecting the rating of this movie).

Yet another simple story for simple people... however, it may just be too quaint for present-day viewers to care.
May 29, 2010
Usually noted for it's comedy, this movie has its share of drama too and some very touching moments. We follow the boredom and struggles of the men stuck on a supply ship with a horrible captain during the last days of the war. Greatly entertaining and moving film that sort of transcends three genres - comedy, drama and war. It touches on each very well and is definitely worth checking out.
May 18, 2010
"Captain, it is I, Ensign Pulver, and I just threw your stinking palm tree overboard. Now, what is all this crud about no movie tonight?"
July 10, 2009
This is a good example of how the cast can make a film truly great - Jack Lemmon in an Oscar winning role, Henry Fonda, James Cagney and William Powell are all outstanding. Superbly directed, the writing is magnificent. Funny,m touching and unforgettable.
August 16, 2008
The is a good comedy

Plot: A cargo officer is waiting to get reassigned from the naval supply ship he''s been working on and see some real war action. His life isn''t made easier by the tyrannical ship captain and a zany crew o...( read more read more... )f misfits, including the woman-obsessed laundry officer, Ensign Pulver.
November 25, 2008
Excellent war classic, all the cast fit the part perfectly. This movie originated as a play, then became so popular that they made a movie about it.
July 10, 2008
Think of it as a more fun One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, only with a war going on. Kind of.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is one of my favorite movies of all time. Now, this movie was made over two decades earlier, so I really can't fault this movie for dealing with many of the same themes. Although, to be honest, the outward rebellion of people over a tyrannical system is nothing new. Just containing the cast creates a very volatile situation and both movies take full advantage of it.

Most of the movie is pretty slow. I'm really not sure if this movie should be classified as a comedy or drama. I just don't really feel like this is a traditional war movie becuase these guys never actually see war or battle. It's more Sgt. Bilko than Saving Private Ryan. The real thing about this movie is that it has these comedic moments, but rarely are the jokes overtly hilarious. Similarly, the drama in the movie is fairly contained for most of the movie, giving way to jokes and banter. I really just can't define this movie. It's entertaining, but not really. Really, the movie doesn't really become anything truly stellar until the last ten to fifteen minutes. I mean, there's stuff to follow, but the movie is a bit too straightforward.

What you are really watching this movie for is the cast, which is really top notch. I mean, Fonda, which is a pull in itself. (So much so that John Ford left the movie sooner than Henry Fonda did. The man hadn't acted in shy of a decade and he pulls that sh*t. The balls on that child abusing bastard!) Now, Fonda, by far (and being the titular character) steals the show. He's the one who's actually got the most depth to his performance and is central to the entire story. He's the Christ figure and it is really obvious how noble that character is. All of the other parts are fantastically played, but they're much more one-dimensional. Cagney is fantastic as the Nurse Ratchet character. He's really a bastard's bastard and shows no sign of competance or morals anywhere in the movie. I wouldn't say that he delivers a fantastic, nuanced performance. But this is his character acting, pure and simple. Similarly, we see the traditional character acting out of Jack Lemmon. Apparently, this movie spun Lemmon into similar parts after that. Really, I think this part was just an over-the-top version of his characters that we've seen time and time again both before and after the making of this film. He does that kind of character very well, so I cannot begrudge him that, but I would have loved to see a little depth in this one. Really, you know what the guy is going to do and when he's going to do it througout. There's little surprises when it comes to that character's arc.

I have to address that character in relation to the end. Like I mentioned, the end is what makes the movie. I kind of saw it coming, but it was effective regardless. The only problem is that as powerful and stunning as the ending is, the last (literally last) fifteen seconds are terrible! Before the "The End" sign come up, you wish that they just called it a day and didn't have that moment. I would have loved to had the One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest ending with the sink going through the bars and that's really it. We could have seen the plant go into the ocean and "The End." But that last second killed half-a-star for me and that's a bit disappointing.

I feel like this really is a movie without identity. It is trying to be so much and so different that it can't commit to a certain direction. That probably can be accounted for by having two directors, but I blame the movie in general. There's so much better and more focused tales of what is going on in this movie. Also, the overly straightforwardness of this movie makes me feel kind of dumb. The thing is, I'll still say that it was a pretty good movie, but I don't think it really deserves the classic attention that the 501 gives it.
February 23, 2008
The 1950s was the last great era of John Ford films and I feel that Mister Roberts fit into this time period which starts at around The Quiet Man and ends with The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Cagney doesnt need to convince anyone he can play a sour jerk and we certainly shouldnt be surprised to find Fonda as the hero of the film. Throw in Jack Lemmon as Pulver the comic relief and long time John Ford player Ward Bond in and you have an enjoyable WWII film that doesnt study the violent side of war but shows the desperation and disgrace involved with non combatant troops.
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