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Flying Leathernecks (1951) was a Drama - War Film directed by Nicholas Ray and produced by Edmund Grainger.

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On Blu-ray: John Wayne and Robert Ryan Butt Heads in Flying Leathernecks (1951)

By KC on Nov 4, 2020 From Classic Movies

Flying Leathernecks (1951) is an unusual entry in World War II cinema. While it leans into the familiar camaraderie and hijinks of many war films from the era, it offers a few visceral glimpses at the violent realities of war. This is most likely due to the influence of director Nicholas Ray, who wa... Read full article


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This movie is often considered merely another assignment of Nicholas Ray's at RKO for Howard Hughes to prove his political and professional alliance during the Red Scare. A blatant pro-war movie that Hughes cared about and Ray did not, Ray disagreed with the film's politics and is said, along with Robert Ryan, to intentionally over-act. Ryan and Ray, who were leftist liberals, constantly fought against John Wayne and Jay C. Flippen, who were conservatives and supported the Blacklist.
The film's dedication states: "Dedicated to the United States Marine Corps, and especially to Marine aviation. Appreciation is gratefully acknowledged for their participation and assistance which made this picture possible."
There was some controversy over the casting, since both John Wayne and Robert Ryan were clearly much older than real pilots during World War II.
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Also directed by Nicholas Ray




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Also produced by Edmund Grainger




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Also released in 1951




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