Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The Sullivans attempts to find the positives in one of the most tragic chapters of World War II. Edward Ryan, John Campbell, James B. Cardwell, John Alvin and George Offerman Jr. play the Sullivan brothers, sons of an Iowa railroad worker (Thomas Mitchell) and his wife (Selena Royle). The film traces the boys from childhood, maintaining a relatively lighthearted tone until the Sullivans sign up en masse for the navy at the outbreak of the war. Refusing to be separated, the boys are all assigned to the cruiser Juneau--and all are killed when the vessel goes down at Guadalcanal. This appalling incident (which made something of a celebrity of the brothers' grieving father when he went on a nationwide patriotic lecture tour) resulted in the Navy's decision to never again allowed all the enlisted members of one family to serve on the same ship. Even from the vantage point of fifty years, the scene in which the family receives the wire from the war department is impossible to watch with a dry eye.
war, America, assignment, atrocity, battle [war], boating, boy, brother, childhood, death, death-in-family, devotion [dedication], employment, enlistment, family, father, girl, grief, home, house, life, man, Navy, patriotism, pride, railroad, responsibility, sailor, self-sacrifice, sibling, smoking, son, torpedo, town, tribute, troops, war-atrocities, wife, youth, conflict, film, lost, love