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The Fighting 69th

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The Fighting 69th
Movie Poster
Country Flag of the United States.jpg United States
Directed by William Keighley
Release Date January 26, 1940
Language English
Studio Warner Bros.
Distributor Warner Bros. Pictures
Main Cast
Character Actor
Private Jerry Plunkett James Cagney
Father Francis P. Duffy Pat O'Brien
Major "Wild Bill" Donovan George Brent
Sergeant Joyce Kilmer Jeffrey Lynn
Sergeant "Big Mike" Wynn Alan Hale Sr.
Terence "Crepe-Hanger" Burke Frank McHugh
Lieutenant Oliver Ames Dennis Morgan
Lieutenant "Long John" Wynn Dick Foran

The Fighting 69th was filmed in 1940 with James Cagney playing a misfit named Jerry Plunkett and his inability to fit into the unit due to a mixture of bravado and cowardice. Pat O'Brien stars as the real-life character Father Francis P. Duffy, a military chaplain who attempts to bring out the good side of Plunkett. Pat O'Brien speaks to "Wild Bill" Donovan, played by George Brent to give him a chance and keep him in the unit. But over time due to his cowardice, it cost the lives of several soldiers including the brothers of Sergeant 'Big Mike' Wynn. When Cagney deserts his patrol that costs the life of Sergeant Joyce Kilmer then the regimental commander "Wild Bill" Donovan orders Plunkett's court-martial. Just before Plunkett's execution for desertion, he escapes to the front lines after finding God and saves the life of Sergeant 'Big Mike' Wynn by sacrificing his own jump on top of a grenade.

The cast also includes Dennis Morgan, William Lundigan, Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams, Tom Dugan, Frank McHugh, and George Reeves.

The following weapons were used in the film The Fighting 69th:


Colt 1902 Military

Colt Model 1902 Military Model - .38 ACP
Major 'Wild Bill' Donovan (George Brent) charging with a Colt Model 1902 Military Model Pistol.

Luger P08

Luger P08 Pistol - 9mm
German soldier with a Luger P08 Pistol in his hand.


Springfield 1903

Springfield M1903 - .30-06 Springfield
Lieutenant 'Long John' Wynn (Dick Foran) marching with troops armed with 1903 Springfield Rifles.
Private Jerry Plunkett (James Cagney) during bayonet practice with 1903 Springfield Rifle.

Lebel 1886

Lebel M1886 - 8 x 50mm Lebel
French troops marching back to the rear with Lebel Model 1886 Rifles.

Mauser Gewehr 1898

Mauser Gewehr 1898 - 7.92 x 57mm
German soldiers with Mauser Gew 98 Rifles in shell crater.

Machine Guns

Maxim MG08/15

Maxim MG08/15 - 7.92 x 57mm
German soldiers firing a Maxim MG08/15 Machine Gun.

Maxim MG08

Maxim MG08 - 7.92 x 57mm
German soldiers firing a Maxim MG08 Machine Gun.


Webley & Scott Mk III Signal Pistol

Webley & Scott MkIII Signal Pistol - 1 inch
Private Jerry Plunkett (James Cagney) Looking at a Webley & Scott MkIII Signal Pistol.

3 inch Stokes Trench Mortar

Stokes Trench Mortar - 3 inch
Sergeant 'Big Mike' Wynn (Alan Hale Sr.) firing a 3 inch Stokes Trench Mortar.
Private Jerry Plunkett (James Cagney) carrying the 3 inch Stokes Trench Mortar.


A German soldier throws a stick grenade and has another one on his belt. They are mock-ups rather than actual German Stielhandgranten.

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