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3.8
134 Ratings

The Long Gray Line

Directed by John Ford
United States, 1955
Biography, Drama, War

Synopsis

John Ford’s ideas of duty and community coalesce movingly in this Technicolor CinemaScope epic, surveying fifty years of life at West Point, through the invention of the football passing game and two World Wars, as seen through the life of Marty Maher, an Irish-born physical education instructor.

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The Long Gray Line Directed by John Ford

Awards & Festivals

Directors Guild of America

1956 | Nominee: Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures

Viennale

2004

Critics reviews

Taken at a superficial level, it’s a simple celebration of the very ideals of military service that Marty himself comes to embrace; on a deeper level, it’s a film that gains its power from formally indulging Marty’s romanticized vision of the armed forces while simultaneously undercutting this nostalgia to investigate the inculcation and cultural roots of patriotism in America, through ironizing a narrative structure that may seem at first to be lionizing the exact opposite to these matters.
December 29, 2016
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Along with Ford’s late James Stewart-Richard Widmark Western Two Rode Together (1961), the set’s identifiable high point is The Long Gray Line (1955)… The lesson is clear: If you live your life in selfless devotion to a tradition, whatever that tradition may be, your selflessness will not be forgotten in the final accounting. You will never truly be alone.
December 13, 2013
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On one level it’s a patriotic, pro-military sob-fest with corny slapstick that affectionately depicts then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower when he was still a West Point cadet (played, naturally, by Harry Carey Jr.), brimming with the kind of epic schmaltz that Ford has often been faulted for. But it also has the eerie ambivalence of Ford’s richest and most conflicted work, focusing on failure, death, dissolution, and defeat as it’s perceived through an utter mediocrity’s fading memory.
December 01, 2007
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