Old War Movies Never Fade

By | September 14, 2018

[September 14, 2018]  On occasion, I like to watch old war movies.  I watch them for the action and to get a small glimpse into what made them so popular back in the day they were made.  Movies are made to make money but they are also a look into the minds of those who lived at that time and what influenced popular culture.

A couple of years ago I wrote about the Top 20 War Movies.  At the time, I got a lot of recommendations for this list.  The most common that readers wanted to be added was Gung-Ho!: The Story of Carlson’s Makin Island Raiders (1943) starring Robert Mitchum, Randolph Scott, and many other famous actors.  I was intrigued by Bosley Crowther who wrote in the New York Times movie review section that “Gung Ho! Is for folks with strong stomachs and taste for the submachine gun.”

Old war movies never fade.  At least the good ones don’t anyway.  They can provide us with valuable lessons that are reinforced if the director has the right actors, a good budget, and an ample supply of military experts.  Director Ray Enright had the right ingredients for a great movie and it worked.

The movie about Carlson’s Raiders was featured right here several years ago at theLeaderMaker.com (see link).  This 1942 early-war raid on Japanese held island of Makin was a tactical failure; the objective of gathering intelligence bore little fruit.  But it was a boost to troop spirits and the people back home got a temporary lift in morale.

If you get a chance to watch the movie, please do so.  It can be seen in its full-length on YouTube (at this link, 1:26 minutes). Occasionally you can find it on television.  These old black and white war movies had a special effect in making me who I was as a kid.  Wilson, my childhood friend, used to say we would one day grow up to be U.S. Marines.  Wilson was too smart, he went into business.  I went into the Army.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

19 thoughts on “Old War Movies Never Fade

  1. Andrew Dooley

    Leadership lessons can be found anywhere. Old war movies are both entertaining and full of those lessons but only if we are willing to jump in and grab them.

  2. Mark Evans

    Thank you General Satterfield for another good article that looks back in time to lessons that cannot be forgotten.

  3. Gil Johnson

    TGIF (thank goodness it’s Friday). Your article today hit a soft spot for me. These of movies of old were favorites of mine growing up and then into my young adulthood. Thank you for bringing back those memories and lessons that we learned from them.

  4. Eric Coda

    Ha! Good take on the saying that “old soldiers never die.” True to form, we can truly believe that “old war movies never fade” from our memories. We learned from them but more important we were motivated to be a good person (or soldier) from them.

  5. Danny Burkholder

    If you are wondering about why we learned lessons from those old movies, just look at how little we could learn elsewhere. In those days we had no Internet and if you wanted to know something, you went to the library and looked it up. If the book was there, you had to read read read and so on. It took more effort and thus the lessons were more likely to stay with you. Just my opinion.

    1. Lynn Pitts

      Spot on argument for why we learned so much from old war movies. Thanks Danny.

  6. Shawn C. Stolarz

    Good article. Made me think about those old movies when I was growing up.

  7. Jerome Smith

    Another very interesting article and something we can sink our teeth into the logic. Yes, I too believe we can learn from old war movies. Why? Hard for me to say but I think that there were greater ideas being presented in movies at that time than today.

    1. Janna Faulkner

      Today movies are more about the special effects than sending a good lesson. Just the way we have developed that what we “see” is more important than what we “get” from a movie.

  8. Dale Paul Fox

    I too saw the movie only recently and learned that a “gung ho” attitude is necessary for a winning attitude to take hold and push us (ie., motivation) to the next level of performance. Thanks. 🙂

  9. Tracey Brockman

    Old war movies – any movie – can provide us with valuable leadership lessons but only if we look for them. Also, it is helpful if someone helps us get such a lesson out of that movie. Great entertaining post today, Gen Satterfield. Thank you for helping make my day.

  10. Jerry C. Jones

    One of my favorite war movies since I was a little kid. Thanks for bringing back old and goodie memories.

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