The Fighting Lady (1944) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Fighting Lady (1944)

The Fighting Lady





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Movie Info

One of three morale-boosting government documentaries directed by Lieutenant Colonel William Wyler (the others were The Memphis Belle and Thunderbolt), The Fighting Lady follows the exploits of an aircraft carrier, its crew, and the planes transported on its deck. The officers and enlistees are not required to perform; that function is handled by a professional narrator. Much of the combat footage resurfaced in the postwar era to bolster many a low-budget aviation picture. As an added advantage, The Fighting Lady was photographed in full color by Edward Steichen, meaning that the stock footage would come in handy on TV from the 1960s onward. The Fighting Lady is frequently released on videocassette in tandem with one or both of William Wyler's other government-sponsored films.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Special Interest
Directed By:
On DVD: May 15, 2001
US Navy

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Audience Reviews for The Fighting Lady


Largely a propoganda tool, this film by Bill Wyler still provides some idea of the times we all should never have to live through again, if at all. NOT a movie at all, least wise not a plot. More a documentary.

Wait for about 20-30 minutes into the film, from there you will see real combat footage of aircraft on missions. Its quite astounding to see actual combat missions in progress.
Up to that point and afterwards its all about living aboard the ship. Robert Taylor narrates throughout the film.


Great shooting scenes give some idea of the power of these boats.

See some of the action here:


SEE the whole film at:

"The Fighting Lady," directed by William Wyler, provides a portrait of life on a World War II aircraft carrier, a vessel that is "enormous,wonderful, and strange to us." After profiling the various activitiesof the soldiers' day and following the ship's voyage through the Panama
Canal, the film takes the audience through a litany of actual combat engagements.


NOTES about the film:

1 In this massive operation, later dubbed the "Marianas Turkey Shoot," American pilots downed almost four hundred Japanese Zeros, while incurring only twenty-two losses themselves.

2 Shot in Kodachrome, this film depicts life onboard an Essex class carrier during WWII. Though not named in the film, most of the footage was shot onboard the USS Yorktown. "The Fighting Lady" highlights the saying that war is 99% boredom followed by 1% of sheer terror. We see footage of everyday life aboard the ship: from sailors stuck on KP duty to the aircrews responsible for arming and fueling planes to the pilots who manned them.

3 The plot of the film revolves around the life of seamen on board an anonymous aircraft carrier. Because of war time restrictions, the name of the aircraft carrier was disguised as "the Fighting Lady"; afterwards the ship's true name became public - she was the USS Yorktown.

4 The film is notable for its use of Technicolor footage shot by "gun cameras" hoisted directly on naval artillery during combat. This gives a very realistic edge to the film, while the chronological following of the ship and crew mirror the experiences of the seamen who went from green recruits through the rigours of military life, battle, and, for some, death.


REVIEWS of the film:

1 "Beautifully filmed in color and exquisitely narrated by Robert Taylor, a realistic documentary of live aboard a fleet carrier during World War II."

2 A pretty good film that won the Best Documentary Oscar in 1945.


Producer: William Wyler
Audio/Visual: sound, color

Directed by Edward Steichen
Narrated by Robert Taylor

Charles Boyer (French version only)
Release date(s) December 21, 1944

Running time 61 min.


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