Guadalcanal Diary

  • PG
  • Lewis Seiler (1943)
  • US
  • 89 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
4 out of 5

Richard Tregaskis's novel, an "I was there" account of the struggle to recapture the South Pacific island of Guadalcanal from the Japanese during the Second World War, was difficult to film without resorting to cliché: even if platoons were comprised of characters from all walks of life, on screen they always look like Stereotypes Anonymous. Nevertheless, 20th Century-Fox pulls out all the stops in the authenticity stakes here, with superbly staged (and expensive) action sequences, and war-movie fans should lap this up. Richard Jaeckel is exceptionally fine, and should have been a bigger star, and he receives solid back-up from the likes of William Bendix, Anthony Quinn and Lloyd Nolan. Preston Foster offers some unusually unsentimental homilies as the padre and, overall, the movie contains a rare honesty as it eschews the usual Hollywood heroics and depicts a very matter-of-fact view of the average soldier's feelings when faced with impending death - genuine, honest-to-goodness fear.

Plot Summary

Second World War action drama starring Preston Foster, based on the bestselling novel by Richard Tregaskis. In August 1942, a marine platoon attacks Guadalcanal, the largest of the Solomon Islands, as part of the US offensive against Japanese forces in the Pacific.

Cast and crew


Father Donnelly
Preston Foster
Hook Malone
Lloyd Nolan
Taxi Potts
William Bendix
Captain Davis
Richard Conte
Jesus "Soose" Alvarez
Anthony Quinn
Private Johnny Anderson
Richard Jaeckel
Captain Cross
Roy Roberts
Colonel Grayson
Minor Watson
Ned Rowman
Ralph Byrd
Lionel Stander


Lewis Seiler

Other Information

Black and White
Theatrical distributor: 
20th Century Fox Film Co. Ltd
Some violence.
Available on DVD
Certificate PG