Montgomery D. Bonner | Vancouver, WA United States | 04/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Since I grew up with this movie, I have seen it at least 30 times. This is one of the best Submarine Movies of WW-II action made. And not everyone knows this but this movie did deal with some truth. When the skipper is shot by a "Q" ship in a surface attack, he uses the command "Take Her Down" which was in actuality used by the CO of the USS Growler, after being critically wounded in action in 1942. And the torpedo trouble in the movie was also true and they did drop warheads from on high to test out various firing options. One submarine mentioned in the Movie was the Corvina, which really was a USN Sub, and she was suck by a Japanese Submarine like the movie portrays. Unlike other Sub Movies, this one has a lot of truth in it and is an excellent watch. It is made more realistic by being in black and white. Sources for the above "Sink em All" By Vice Admiral Charles A. Lockwood, USN COMSUBPAC during WW-II"
When things go wrong and one is in harm's way.
Michael J. Dykes | Olympia, WA United States | 08/10/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a chilly saga of an American sub captain plagued by failure-prone weapons and an ocean full of Japanese to fight. They find the reason the torpedoes didn't work and put back to sea, this time, to take good care of the nasty business at hand. One scene that brings the cost of war home is that the Thunderfish loaned another sub a movie, "Washington Slept Here." Sometime later, they find wreckage of an American sub, and the movie tells them who is at the bottom of the ocean. The Thunderfish strikes back at the sub that got their friends, showing how dangerous it was out there and what courage it took to fight this war. The climax scene shows them in a Japanese-controlled harbor, with a waiting task force. They fire their new and deadly torpedoes, and radio back to Cincpac about the taskforce and its location. They run for cover, and barely survive massive retaliation: the outcome is in doubt until the last, as it was for many other submariners. A moving, poignant, and bittersweet tale that stresses the fact that nothing ever comes for free, even in war."
Classic, but only amongst sub movies
Alan Holyoak | In the shadow of the Tetons | 07/12/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This show depicts JW being handed what he least wants, to be left ashore during wartime to solve a technical problem with torpedos -- something that really happened.
There is much of the standard John Wayne character in the movie -- he's strong and larger than life, even when he faces a ruggedly handsome younger man who is vying for the same woman. John Wayne is, of course, the hero, and that's OK.
The best part about the movie, however, doesn't have anything to do with subs. The best part is the showdown between two nurses when one tells the other how things really are, and to quit whining about things (I paraphrase, badly).
Nevertheless, this movie is a great option for a free Saturday afternoon.
Addendum...I just read (3/2006) the non-fiction book "The Terrible Hours" by Maas, and found many similarities between Swede Momsen of that book and JW's character in this movie. While Operation Pacific doesn't do more than mention in passing that JW's character was involved in diving on a sunken sub before WWII, that and the work he does on solving the torpedo problems plaguing WWII fleet subs is enough to make the connection between JW and Swede Momsen. If you like this movie, you'll probably also like the book "The Terrible Hours.""
Authentic in Every Detail
Alan Holyoak | 05/17/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"What makes "Operation Pacific" stand out is its authentic pigboat crew dialogue and operational procedures. It is also unique in that it took from a real life WWII sub commander's life. Cdr. Howard W. Gilmore (played by Ward Bond as the fictitious 'Pop Perry' in the movie) who actually did speak the words, "Take her down" as he lay mortally wounded on the bridge of his sub, USS Growler", thus saving the lives of his crew. This is an exceptional WWII submarine movie, a huge step above all of the rest."
The Duke + WWII sub movie = How can you lose?
T O'Brien | Chicago, Il United States | 09/07/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Following WWII, a new subgenre of war movies appeared, the submarine movie, including Destination Tokyo, Run Silent, Run Deep, and Torpedo Run among others. But Operation Pacific with John Wayne is not often mentioned or known as a quality WWII submarine war movie, which is too bad because it's a more than solid movie. Returning from a mission that required the crew to rescue two nuns and a group of little kids off a Japanese-held island, the USS Thunderfish returns to Pearl Harbor. Back in port, Lt. Commander Duke Gifford hopes to get back together with his divorced wife, Mary Stuart, and rekindle the love they had four years before. But before he can win her back, the Thunderfish is sent back out on patrol, and with torpedoes that don't blow on impact. The rest of the movie involves the effort to fix the firing pins along with the Thunderfish's involvement at the battle of Leyte Gulf. The sub footage is excellent here as the Thunderfish goes up against everything the Japanese Navy has to offer and more. And unlike a lot of movies with forced love stories, the relationship between Duke and Mary is believable and doesn't detract from the movie overall. A good blend of action, drama and some laughs, Operation Pacific isn't a well-known WWII sub movie, but it's definitely worth a look.
John Wayne had it easy here, starring as a character with his own nickname, Lt. Cmdr. Duke Gifford. Gifford is the first officer on the Thunderfish who while trying to win his ex-wife back has to deal with some unexpected problems that arise. Patricia Neal is a good sparring partner for Wayne as Mary Stuart, his ex-wife and a nurse at Pearl Harbor. Wayne and Neal's scenes together keep the movie going instead of grinding it to a halt. Ward Bond is perfect as Cmdr. "Pop" Perry, the commander of the Thunderfish and Gifford's best friend. Wayne and Bond together were always perfect together, and here is no different. Phillip Carey plays Lt. Perry, Pop's kid brother who is trying to marry Mary which doesn't go over well for Gifford. The crew of the sub includes Scott Forbes, Martin Milner, Paul Picerni in a funny role, William Campbell, Vincent Fotre, Sam Edwards, and in maybe his meatiest part, and his best, Jack Pennick as the Chief.
The DVD is a good deal with a clean B&W standard presentation that looks pretty smooth throughout although it's fairly obvious when war footage is inserted in. Only special features here are a trailer and some brief filmographies of the cast, Wayne, Neal, and Bond. But overall, fans of submarine movies won't be disappointed here, especially with Wayne and Bond together again. Check out Operation Pacific!"