The Fighting Seabees (1944)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

The Fighting Seabees is Republic Pictures' rip-roaring tribute to the US Navy's Construction Batallions (C.B.), without whom no plane would ever have gotten off the ground during WW2. John Wayne stars as Wedge Donovan, head of civilian construction company stationed in a pre-Pearl Harbor South Pacific war area. Despite Donovan's pleas to the Navy brass, he is denied permission to train his men for combat, the better to stave off imminent Japanese attack. Only after incurring heavy losses is Donovan given a commission and his men officially enlisted in the Navy. The self-sacrifical climax, as Donovan destroys a Japanese tank batallion at the cost of his own life, is one of the best-staged action highlights of its kind. As Constance Chesley, Susan Hayward finds herself in the unenviable position of being the apex in a romantic triangle involving herself, Wedge Donovan and Lt. Cmdr. Robert Yarrow (Dennis O'Keefe); her climactic speech, explaining how it's possible to love two men equally, is so well delivered that it transcends its essential corniness. Of the supporting cast, William Frawley stands out as Irish seabee Eddie Powers, who virtually signs his own death warrant when he begins singing happily just before an enemy sneak attack.
Action & Adventure , Classics , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


John Wayne
as Wedge Donovan
Paul Fix
as Ding Jacobs
William Frawley
as Eddie Powers
Susan Hayward
as Constance Chesley
Dennis O'Keefe
as Lt. Cmdr. Robert Yarrow
Grant Withers
as Whanger Spreckles
J.M. Kerrigan
as Sawyer Collins
Addison Richards
as Captain Joyce
Leonid Kinskey
as Johnny Novasky
Wally Wales
as Seabee
William Forrest
as Lt. Kerrick
Crane Whitley
as Refueling officer
Jay Norris
as Joe Brick
Ben Welden
as Yump Lumkin
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Fighting Seabees

All Critics (6)

One of John Wayne's popular WWII movies, in which his hero shows the exepected rebellious independence.

Full Review… | March 23, 2011

WWII flag waving + Duke Wayne = can't miss action.

August 10, 2006
Dispatch-Tribune Newspapers

Standard WW2 flagwaver.

Full Review… | February 11, 2006
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Quote not available.

September 25, 2005

Quote not available.

September 20, 2005
Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)

Quote not available.

January 13, 2003
Reeling Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Fighting Seabees


Racist, sexist, poorly written, and badly acted, The Fighting Seabees is interesting only as a WWII propaganda curiosity and a window into the less-than-politically-correct times.

Mark Post
Mark Post

This is a straight up Hollywood- propoganda- you-better-we-can-beat-the-Japs flick. While briefly kinda sorta capsulizing the creation of the SeaBees construction battalion during World War 2 it's loaded with good ole John Ford/ Wayne Irish drinking buddies battling stock war footage Japanese and USA Navy command. It's a paint by the numbers film but it's a great example of golden age Hollywood supporting the war effort in the 1940's.

Bobby Diablo
Bobby Diablo

No more no less than a propaganda film, made during wartime. Wayne plays a construction chief convinced to the necessity of training construction workers to fight as well. There's a couple of good action scenes and Susan Wayward for the curious love angle ( she's the only female around on a Japanese held island!). Standard fare.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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