Wake Island (1942)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

The winner of four Oscar nominations, Wake Island was one of the first major Hollywood films to deal with America's forced participation in World War II. The first two reels takes place in the weeks prior to Pearl Harbor, as Wake Island military commander Brian Donlevy carries on a friendly rivalry with Seabee supervisor Albert Dekker. Once the US is in the shooting war, all previous differences are forgotten and the Wake Island personnel begin pulling together. Despite being heavily outnumbered during the subsequent Japanese attack on Wake, the Americans put up a valiant fight, at great cost to the Imperial Forces. In a scene calculated to evoke long, loud cheers from the audience, Donlevy, weary and battle-stained, relays to the American mainland the legendary (if offensive) challenge "Send us more Japs!" As in the like-vintage Bataan, the military defeat of the Americans is treated-and justifiably so--as a moral victory. Utilizing some of the top male talents in Paramount's contract pool-Donlevy, Dekker Robert Preston, MacDonald Carey, William Bendix--Wake Island remains an excellent example of propaganda-as-entertainment ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Action & Adventure , Classics , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
MCA Universal Home Video


Brian Donlevy
as Maj. Caton
Macdonald Carey
as Lt. Cameron
Robert Preston
as Joe Doyle
Barbara Britton
as Sally Cameron
William Bendix
as Smacksie Randall
Albert Dekker
as Shad McClosky
Walter Abel
as Cmdr. Roberts
Mikhail Rasumny
as Probenzky
Don Castle
as Pvt. Cunkel
Rod Cameron
as Capt. Lewis
Bill Goodwin
as Sergeant
Damian O'Flynn
as Capt. Patrick
Frank Albertson
as Johnny Rudd
Phillip Terry
as Pvt. Warren
Philip Van Zandt
as Cpl. Goebbels
Keith Richards (II)
as Sparks Wilcox
Willard Robertson
as Col. Cameron
Jack Chapin
as Squeaky Simpkins
Rudy Robles
as Triunfo
John Sheehan
as Pete Hogan
Charles Trowbridge
as George Nielson
Mary Thomas
as Cynthia Caton
Mary Field
as Miss Pringle
Richard Loo
as Mr. Saburo Kurusu
Earle Tex Harris
as Tex Hannigan
Hillary Brooke
as Girls at Inn
Patti McCarty
as Girls at Inn
William Forrest
as Maj. Johnson
Jack Mulhall
as Dr. Parkman
Ivan Miller
as Colonel
Hugh Beaumont
as Captain
George Nielson
as Charles Trowbridge
Edward Earle
as Commander
James Brown (II)
as Wounded Marine
Anthony Nace
as Gordon
Holly Bane
as 1st Lieutenant
Frank Faylen
as Wounded Marine
Dane Clark
as Marine
Alan Hale Jr.
as Sight Setter
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Critic Reviews for Wake Island

All Critics (6)

It's fairly exciting action cinema... [that] falls apart on the generally anemic, one-note characterisations and the lack of any particularly memorable performance.

Full Review… | June 12, 2014
Antagony & Ecstasy

Though largely fictionalized, this is a moving report of the defense of the Pacific Island base, with strong emphasis on the heroic gallantry of three Manrines, played by Robert Preston, Brian Donlevy, and William Bendix.

Full Review… | September 20, 2006

Succeeds in its attempt to dramatize the war effort.

Full Review… | April 30, 2006
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A good, old-fashioned war movie, the kind of movie you watch with your dad on a Saturday afternoon.

Full Review… | December 19, 2004
Goatdog's Movies

Quote not available.

November 18, 2004
Reeling Reviews

Quote not available.

Full Review… | January 10, 2003
Nick's Flick Picks

Audience Reviews for Wake Island


A bit of propaganda in the midst of the war effort, Wake Island is a passable film. I'm sure it also did its job in selling those war bonds.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

pretty good action but that's about it, no real depth. it was made in 1942 so propaganda is to be expected.

Harim Kim
Harim Kim

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