The fight for Guadalcanal is intense, but Marine Raiders led by Maj. Steve Lockhart (Pat O’Brien) and Paramarines under Capt. Dan Craig (Robert Ryan) repulse the Japanese with vigor and valor, despite a reckless moment in which impulsive Craig takes on a sniper pocket single-handedly. On leave in Australia, Craig takes another risk: falling for Flight Officer Ellen Foster (Ruth Hussey). That puts him on a collision course with Lockhart, who thwarts Craig’s marriage plans by transferring him home stateside to train future Marines – under Lockhart, now his bitter enemy. Marine Raiders seamlessly knits together Army combat footage and studio re-creations to capture the ferocity of battle and the arduous task of preparing men to fight (shot on location at California’s Camp Elliott). It also marked a turning point for leading man Ryan, whom O’Brien recommended for the role, and who afterward entered the Marine Corps, becoming a drill instructor at Camp Pendleton. Frank McHugh and Barton MacLane costar in this thoughtful and potent flag-waver.

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