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The Battle of Midway

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The Battle of Midway  (1942) 
by John Ford
A US Navy documentary film, on the Japanese aerial attack on Midway Island and U.S. ships in the area. Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature (1943)
Key (info)
Dialogue
In scene
Storyline

OFFICIAL

NAVY DEPARTMENT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

UNITED STATES NAVY

THE BATTLE
of
MIDWAY

PHOTOGRAPHED BY THE
U.S. NAVY
IN TECHNICOLOR
FROM A 16MM ORIGINAL

THIS IS THE ACTUAL PHOTOGRAPHIC REPORT IN THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY.

IN NUMBER OF SURFACE AND AIRCRAFT DESTROYED IT IS THE GREATEST NAVAL VICTORY OF THE WORLD TO DATE.

THE FOLLOWING AUTHENTIC SCENES WERE MADE BY U.S. NAVY PHOTOGRAPHERS.

A Navy patrol plane. Routine patrol. Only behind every cloud may be an enemy.

Midway Island. Not much land, right enough. But it's our outpost, your front yard.

NO SMOKING
ON DOCK

SIXTH DEFENSE BATTALION ⋅ M ⋅ F ⋅

These are the natives of Midway. Tojo has sworn to liberate them.

The birds seem nervous. There's something in the air. Something behind that sunset.

Excitement this morning: the dawn patrol have sited an enemy fleet. During the night, Flying Fortresses have landed at Midway.

An historic council of war is held.

"That fellow's walk looks familiar. My neighbor's boy used to amble along just like that."

"Say, is that one of them Flying Fortresses?"

"Yes madam, it is."

"Why, that's young Will Kinney. He's from my hometown, Springfield, Ohio. He's not gonna fly that great big bomber?"

"Yes madam, that's his job. He's a skipper."

"Will's Dad is an engineer. Thirty-eight years on the old Ironton Railroad."

SERVING

OUR COUNTRY

"And his mother. Uh! Well, she's just like the rest of us mothers in Springfield or any other American town. And his sister, Patricia, she's about as pretty as they come."

"I'll say so."

"Well, Junior Kenny."

"Good luck! God bless you, son!"

Suddenly, from behind the clouds, the Japs attack!

"There go the Marines!!!"

Yes. This really happened.

Meantime our warships stopped the Jap fleet.

Then suddenly, the trap is sprung.

Navy planes roared from the decks of our carriers. Army bombers, Marines, under destruction over a three hundred-mile battle area.

The invasion forces were hit, and hit, and hit again.

Men and women of America, here come your neighbor's son, home from the day's work. You want to meet them. There's Jimmy Thatch. Seven meatballs on his plane.

"How many more today, Skipper?"

Back at Midway, Tojo swore he'd liberate the natives.

"I see just as free as they ever were!"

The Battle of Midway is over. Our front yard is safe. But a big job is still to be done. Day after day our patrol planes search for survivors. Every tiny coral reef, every distant mile of sea. Search for men who fought to the last round of ammunition, and flew till the last drop of gas, and then crashed into the sea.

Eight days. Nine days. Ten days without food or water.

His first cigarette.

"Oh! that first drag sure tastes good."

Eleven days. Well done, Massie Hughes—

—Logan Ramsey—

—Frank Fessler. That's thirteen for Frank!

U.S. NAVY

"Get those boys to the hospital. Please do, quickly! Get them to clean cots and cool sheets. Get them doctors and medicine. A nurse's soft hands. Get them to the hospital. Hurry! Please!"

There was a hospital. Clean, orderly, a hundred beds. And on its roof the red cross plainly marked, the symbol of mercy the enemy was bound to respect!

The next morning, Divine services were held beside a bomb crater, that had once been a chapel.

At eventide, we buried our heroic dead. The last salute from their comrades and their officers.

Captain Simard of the Navy.

Colonel Shannon.

Major Roosevelt.

4
JAPANESE CARRIERS
SUNK

28 JAP
BATTLESHIPS
CRUISERS, DESTROYERS
SUNK OR DAMAGED

300
JAPANESE AIRCRAFT
DESTROYED

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).