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Wake Island 1942 American war movie

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War Movies

Wake Island was one of (if not the only) war movie in history that was filmed when the events depicted were still going on - first scenes were shot in California while Japanese were still bombarding Wake Island.

In December 1941 Japanese have raided Pearl Harbor, just hours later the news have reached the American bases around the world, including small US Marines unit on Wake Island atoll, 2000 miles west from Hawaii. For them it was especially grim news - they could be the next target of Japanese attack and they are hardly likely to win such battle. With only few airplanes, few naval guns and few anti-aircraft guns the commander has to come up with a plan to defend the outpost located on completely flat islands. When Japanese airplanes bombard the atoll the Marines defence seems to be sufficient, but soon later Japanese fleet, part of task force that attacked Pearl Harbor, arrives with cruisers and landing forces and the balance of power changes completely.

Film was used as morale booster in United States, with Marines compared to defenders of Alamo, but despite being shot as a propaganda tool Wake Island is actually quite decent movie made in unusual circumstances.


  • According to Hedda Hopper's newspaper column of June 23, 1942, three different endings of this movie were shot. The ending to be used when released in August would depend upon how the war was going by then.

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War movies

War movies blog - the best war movies in history (or sometimes the worst). We search the war movies from around the world - not only classic American war movies or British war movies, but also those less known or just less interesting films from other countries. Each of them presents the different face of the war - some concetrate on soldiers and most important battles in history, but others present the suffering of the civilians and the trauma of the men involved in the fighting.

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