Acclaimed director John Ford and screen legend John Wayne team up for what would be their final collaboration in this boisterous, rowdy South Seas escapade. The Duke, Lee Marvin and Jack Warden play World War II Navy buddies who have made the French Polynesian island of Haleakaloha their post-war paradise. Local headquarters is Donovan's Reef, Wayne's rough-and-tumble watering hole where bragging, brawling, and full-blown misbehavior are the order of the day. But destined to create more turmoil than any barroom fisticuffs is the sudden arrival of Ameilia Dedham (Elizabeth Allen), a straight-laced Boston blue blood. She's hoping to locate her long estranged father (Warden), affirm that he is "not of good moral character," and then assume control of the family's shipping dynasty back home in the States. Suave, debonair Cesar Romero and a sarong-clad Dorothy Lamour add to the laughs – and mayhem – in this tropical comedy treat.
Donovan's Reef is one of my family's absolute favorite John Wayne movies. Why? I have no idea. But we watch it over and over, and one of our favorite, and most often used, quotes, "Maaaad?" comes from this movie. Maybe we like it so much because there is nothing really serious in it, it's mostly just a comedy with some romance and plenty of good old fashioned barroom fist-fights to liven things up. Sally and Luki are just so cute, interesting fact is that the actor who played Luki was actually actress Anna Lee's son, and Father Cluzeot is such a character and a perfect example of what a good Christian can be.
My family actually classes Donovan's Reef as our idea of a Christmas movie and we usually try to make sure and watch it sometime around the holidays. Christmas does figure quite heavily in the movie; with a Christmas tree and even a John Wayne-style Christmas pageant.
Donovan's Reef is (ca)rousing good fun and a must watch for John Wayne fans!
John Wayne ... Michael Patrick 'Guns' Donovan
Lee Marvin ... Thomas Aloysius 'Boats' Gilhooley
Elizabeth Allen ... Ameilia Dedham
Jack Warden ... Dr. William Dedham
Cesar Romero ... Marquis Andre de Lage
Dick Foran ... Australian Navy Officer Sean O'Brien
Dorothy Lamour ... Miss Lafleur
Marcel Dalio ... Father Cluzeot
Mike Mazurki ... Sgt. Monk Menkowicz
Jacqueline Malouf ... Lelani Dedham
Cherylene Lee ... Sarah 'Sally' Dedham
Jeffrey Byron ... Luki Dedham (as Tim Stafford)
Kaua'i, Hawaii, USA
Paramount Studios Hollywood, Calif. USA (studio)
Michael Patrick 'Guns' Donovan: Gilhooley?
Marquis Andre de Lage: Gilhooley.
Lelani Dedham: Oh, Uncle Guns, please don't fight, don't spoil our party.
Sally Dedham: You stay out of it!
Luki Dedham: Go on Uncle Guns. Knock his block off!
Michael Patrick 'Guns' Donovan: I'll knock both his blocks off.
Michael Patrick 'Guns' Donovan: Aw, Monk, you're not gonna let three guys take on one - even if it is Gilhooley.
Sergeant Monk Menkowicz: I seen it done.
[Gilhooley about to throw bottle during fight]
Michael Patrick 'Guns' Donovan: Not the brandy, you dope!
Thomas Aloysius 'Boats' Gilhooley: [puts bottle carefully down on bar] Sorry!