The Americanization of Emily (1964)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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The lively but somehow slightly distasteful The Americanization of Emily stars James Garner as a WWII naval officer who happens to be a craven coward. While his comrades sail off to their deaths, Garner makes himself scarce, generally hiding out in the London flat of his lothario navy buddy James Coburn. Garner falls in love with virtuous war widow Julie Andrews (the "Emily" of the title), but she can't abide his yellow streak. Meanwhile, crack-brained admiral Melvyn Douglas decides that he needs a hero--the first man to die on Omaha Beach during the D-Day Invasion. Coburn is at first elected for this sacrifice, but it is the quivering Garner who ends up hitting the beach. He survives to become a hero in spite of himself, winning Andrews in the process. Paddy Chayefsky's script, based on the novel by William Bradford Huie, attempts to extract humor out of the horrors of war by using broad, vulgar comedy instead of the light satirical touch that would seem to be called for. Americanization of Emily was Julie Andrews' second film; it should have led to a steady stream of adult-oriented roles, but the box-office clout of Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music consigned her to "wholesome family entertainment". ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Classics , Comedy , Drama , Romance
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James Garner
as Lt. Cmdr. Charles Edward Madison
Julie Andrews
as Emily Barham
James Coburn
as Lt. Cmdr. Paul "Bus" Cummings
Melvyn Douglas
as Adm. William Jessup
Joyce Grenfell
as Mrs. Barham
Edward Binns
as Adm. Thomas Healy
Liz Fraser
as Sheila
Keenan Wynn
as Old Sailor
William Windom
as Capt. Harry Spaulding
John Crawford
as CPO Paul Adams
Douglas Henderson
as Capt. Marvin Ellender
Edmon Ryan
as Adm. Hoyle
Steve Franken
as Young Sailor
Gary Cockrell
as Lt. Victor Wade
Alan Sues
as Enright
Bill Fraser
as Port Commander
Lou Byrne
as Nurse Captain
Alan Howard
as Port Ensign
Janine Gray
as 1st "Nameless Broad"
Judy Carne
as 2nd "Nameless Broad"
Kathy Kersh
as 3rd "Nameless Broad"
Paul Newlan
as Gen. William Hallerton
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Critic Reviews for The Americanization of Emily

All Critics (11)

Another director (not Arthur Hiller) would have been more suitable in translating to the big screen Paddy Chayefky's witty WWII serio-comedy.

Full Review… | July 27, 2010

I would have appreciated the film more if it was less talky and if it didn't completely ignore the obvious that fighting madman Hitler was necessary.

Full Review… | April 28, 2006
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Though a bit overstuffed with long-winded speeches, Chayefsky's scabrously funny script brims with snappy, crackling dialogue.

Full Review… | May 24, 2005
Slant Magazine

Classic anti-war comedy. Ahead of its time.

November 12, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Quote not available.

June 26, 2005

Quote not available.

May 24, 2005

Audience Reviews for The Americanization of Emily

Despite the title the film really has little to do with the love story or Julie Andrew's Emily. It's mostly James Garner's film as his cowardly aid does everything in his power to avoid seeing combat. The broad topic of this film seems more like the sort of thing you'd expect from the '60s or '70s counter-culture movement as we're expected to sympathize with the idea that war is immensely stupid and celebrating heroes a travesty. It would have fitted better if it had been in Korea or Vietnam and could easily have stood alongside MASH or Good Morning Vietnam. As it stands it's their older, slightly frizzier big brother.

Stuart McCunn
Stuart McCunn

Interesting and cynical movie about war. Reminds me a little of Billy Wilder, specifically the characters of Stalag 17. Good script.

Matt Heiser
Matt Heiser

Great politics for its time. This is a real ass movie, buncha truth bombs about war, politics, glory and sentimentality. The only downside is that Charlie's the only real 3D character in the film. Even Emily is pretty flat... Though she gets better by the end.

Jenna Ipcar
Jenna Ipcar

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