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  • The authentic portrayal of mountain life, an honorable protagonist portrayed by a great actor in his finest role, hard decisions in the time of war mixed with a healthy dose of levity, not to mention an outstanding supporting cast are just a few of the reasons why this film has always been my favorite movie. I am aware that this was a WWII propaganda film but I'm just idealistic enough that I buy the whole package.
  • How does one define a classic film? It has been over 50 years since Sergeant York was made and It is still a joy to watch. Gary Cooper is, well, Gary Cooper. A Hollywood Icon and arguably one of the best actors ever. He gives a memorable, true to life portrayal of this simple back woods man thrust into a situation seemingly beyond his ability to comprehend. Alvin York was not an educated man, not a worldly man and not a great student of philosophy. Armed only with his dog-eared Bible and his own beliefs of right and wrong he must somehow balance his religious faith, his patriotic duty and his duty to his comrades. The script is well written. The performances are superb. This movie has action and humor and a warmth that touches one and all. Sergeant York stands the test of time. Whatever your definition, this is a classic.
  • Alvin Cullom York (1887-1964), a modest American and Christian hero of World War I, is the subject of this biographical picture which goes beyond the mere telling of the tale how he won all the medals he did for bravery during the Meuse Argonne Offensive. It's the inner struggle of a man whose pacifist Christian beliefs came into conflict with his patriotism. It's the heart and soul of this film, beautifully crafted by director Howard Hawks.

    The real Sergeant York eschewed all money making ventures that would have capitalized on his heroics in World War I and had resisted giving the rights to his story to Hollywood. He relented because in 1941 he became concerned with the danger fascism posed for the world and advocated preparedness. Part of what brought him out was the speechmaking of that other American hero Charles A. Lindbergh who was an appeasement advocate.

    York even called the shots on who was to play him. So Jack Warner made a call to Adolph Zukor over at Paramount and probably paid one hefty sum for Gary Cooper's services. It was worth every penny of it as Cooper got his first Oscar for Best Actor.

    Alvin York is a poor farmer supporting a widowed mother and a brother and sister. And he likes to cut loose every so often with a jug and a rifle. But he gets converted and gets involved in Walter Brennan's church which is a strict fundamentalist sort with pacifist tenets. When America gets into World War I, his very soul is tormented by the tenets of his church and the volunteer tradition of his state. Tennessee is known as the Volunteer State and that nickname is no lie. It bothers him more than other men because as Pastor Walter Brennan tells him he's "got the using kind of religion."

    These people may be fundamentalists and somewhat backward, but they're not phonies. No high hog living preachers here, just simple people trying to get through life the best they can. Howard Hawks did a masterful job in casting this film with some actors very used to playing rustics. Ward Bond, Noah Beery, Jr. Howard DaSilva, Clem Bevans and most of all Walter Brennan as Pastor Rosier Pyle, tripling as preacher, postmaster, and owner of the general store. Brennan got an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, but since he'd already won three of them, the Academy voters gave Donald Crisp a break that year for How Green Was My Valley.

    The York family is played by Margaret Wycherly, June Lockhart and Dickie Moore as mother, brother, and sister. Wycherly is one you'll remember also. Hard to believe this is the same woman who is also James Cagney's Ma in White Heat. Come to think of it, maybe not, Ma York and Ma Jarrett are both tough survivors.

    As for the action that won him decorations from all the Allied powers including the Congressional Medal of Honor, you'll just have to see the film for that. But while some liberties are taken with York's pre-war story, what happened in the Argonne is actually what happened.

    We could use a whole lot more Sergeant Yorks, those with the using kind of religion.
  • funkyfry3 November 2002
    Heartfelt, involving saga of Tennessee's WWI hero Sgt. York. The first half of the story, almost a movie in itself, shows York in his native valley as he tries to get a nice plot of "bottom land", finds God, and learns that killing is wrong. In the second, York trains to become a soldier and decides that it's OK to die, or even kill, to preserve his freedom. Cooper carries the film's weight with conviction, painting the figure of a likeable, naive but intelligent, American hero. Hawks weaves the story's many threads together believably and with good humor.
  • Perhaps when this comes out on DVD later in the year (2006), I'll enjoy this as I did when I first saw it on tape. Subsequent VHS viewings were nowhere as appealing at that first look, unfortunately. As most people know, this is the story of World War I hero Alvin York, who went from drunken good-for-nothing to solid Christian man and war hero.

    Gary Cooper certainly was a great choice for the role. Few people in his era were better at playing modest, soft-spoken-but-manly heroes like "Coop." When "York" makes no apology for his 100 percent belief in the Bible, no one challenges him because he's earned the respect from all, believers and non- believers. Cooper's status as an actor helps make that all the more "believable." Sgt. York also gives one of the best examples of forgiveness I've ever seen on film.

    Another nice feature of this movie is seeing Joan Leslie in the female lead. She was one of the most pretty and wholesome-looking ladies of her day. She's always a treat to see. Walter Brennan also is interesting, as usual, and in here plays a minister, which also was a surprise.

    Much of this film was a surprise because I'm just not used to seeing on film things like true forgiveness, the hero citing Scripture, military officers shown in a compassionate light (letting York, with his pacifistic views, decide what he anted to do) etc. What a shame so few films in the last 50 years have had similar values.
  • ..SGT.YORK...yeah, it was released during WW2,to help the war effort, but it was a true story of the backwoods young man who really did not want to to go to war..and kill others in combat, which at first got him in some trouble.... But, did become a true hero and earned an Oscar for star Gary Cooper. The BEST part of the movie is before..York is drafted and first decides to hide in the hills ...Ward Bond, Walter Brennen are just two favorites that play important roles. The beautiful outdoor scenes in wonderful black and white, in the first of the film is unforgettable along with the fun and realistic setting of York's pursuit of his future wife and a piece of farm land,and the troubles he encounters before...going to war. Another 194O's classic with a lot of heart and soul, along with lots of entertainment value!.
  • "Sergeant York" is my favorite classic movie. Gary Cooper stars as Sergeant Alvin York one of the most revered hero's in World War I. The movie takes you through his life from the days when he was a lot less responsible. When he drank a lot and had a short fuse, but ends when he become a hero of the war. The black and white picture enhances the beautiful cinematography in the film. Keep in mind most of the film revolves around his life before the war and so you get to see a lot of the fantastic scenery.

    Gary Cooper won himself a well deserved Oscar for the film, but there were some other fine performances in the film. Walter Brennan, the star of almost 200 other films, plays York's small town Pastor, Rosier Pile. Young Joan Leslie plays the part of Gracie Williams who later marries York. Then there is Ward Bond in one of his many films (Over 250 of them I believe). Now a little for the trivia books. Cooper was 41 when he made this film and Leslie was only 16, but this is fairly consistent with the true ages of York and Gracie when they were beginning their relationship. So the film tries to be very accurate and honest. You won't find that in a modern film.

    If you have not seen "Sergeant York" then you have yet to see one of the most touching films of all time. It is as much an attention holder today as it was back in 1941 and makes an excellent Memorial Day film which is in fact the best time to try and catch it if you happen to have cable and some of those classic film channels.
  • Gary Cooper turned in an incredible performance in this movie. Although I've been familiar with his name for as long as I can remember, I was a little unsure as to why he was so highly regarded as an actor. Now I know. Just watch his face throughout this movie - he's incredibly expressive in communicating York's confusion and emotions during the changes he goes through.

    That said, it's somewhat unfortunate that the movie simplified York's life (eg. in reality, he was stuck with a hefty mortgage on that nice house). The lightning-bolt incident didn't happen, either. But these are minor complaints, as the movie stays true to the key events of York's amazing story.
  • stac3630522 January 2005
    I love this movie! It is a heartwarming story of a man coming to terms with entering a war right after he receives his new found pacifist ideas. It also shows how a mother's love is everlasting no matter how her child acts. We were required to watch this movie in a history class, and I admit I thought it was going to be dumb. I ended up being drawn into the story, so I recommended it to my family. I watch this movie any time I get a chance. My entire family ends up walking around using their backwood mountain accent for days after we watch the movie. If I could find it on DVD or video, I would definitely purchase this film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When you hear it said that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, it's the story of "Sergeant York" that might have been the inspiration. I'd been on the lookout for this film for some time when it appeared today on Turner Classic Movies as part of a Veteran's Day tribute. I tried to picture the real life hero Alvin York on the battlefield amid enemy fire pulling off the ruse that led to the capture of one hundred thirty two enemy soldiers, and all because a superior officer ordered him to take charge. Perhaps he should have been ordered to win the war.

    I would like to have seen the real Alvin York, he must have been quite the extraordinary person. Not in a celebrity fashion, but in a deep spiritual sense, to have integrated his pacifist background with a sense of loyalty and brotherhood with his fellow soldiers. I can think of no other man you would want more in your corner when the chips are down and it's a matter of life or death.

    Gary Cooper's Best Actor Oscar was well deserved for his portrayal of Sergeant York. He's convincing throughout as he transforms York from a rabble rousing back woods country hick to a principled man of values and ideals. The scenes where he records his meager earnings in hopes of buying some fertile downland is nearly heartbreaking, made even more poignant when he later makes amends with the men who essentially betrayed him.

    Cooper is backed up with a fine supporting cast, but I have to admit I wound up chuckling a time or two when Walter Brennan's pastor character appeared. For some reason, those bushy black eyebrows called to mind an image of Groucho Marx that I just couldn't shake. Margaret Wycherly brings a matriarch's knowing instincts to the part of Mother York, somehow knowing that her son would eventually get his own patch of land someday, even when her own husband's experience seemed to suggest otherwise.

    It was somewhat surprising yet gratifying at the same time to learn that the real Alvin York shunned all attempts to cash in on his name and hero status in order to get back to his home and family responsibilities. When he finally relented to numerous requests to make a film of his war time achievements, he had only two conditions - that all of the proceeds go to religious charities, and that the actor to portray him would be Gary Cooper. I'd say he cut a square deal.
  • The worst war movies were made during the war, but the best ones too. This seems to be a paradoxity but if we think a little bit about this statement we find that this is obvious. If we compare the bad war films with the good ones we find only one difference, but this difference is fundamental: the matter of the actors. And Gary Cooper is a great actor. His personality guarantees the standard high quality all over the movie. He plays a farmer from Tennessee who wants to guarantee a comfortable life for himself and his love (beautiful: Joan Leslie) but the United States declares war to Germany and he has to enlist to the army. The first half of the movie is full of eye-popping black-and-white sceneries and great, laughable characters and situations. I love the character of George York (Alvin York's younger brother, played by Dickie Gibson) the most. That scene is so cool where he finds Alvin at the bar, which is settled on the border of Tennessee and Kentucky, and forces his brother to go home. He has a big gun in his hands for safety sake. These people are simple farmers, they live in peace and harmony, don't care much about the rest of the world (they don't even heard about the World War), they live by the rules of the Bible.

    There is a great battle scene at the second half of the movie. Alvin realizes that the war is similar to the turkey hunting, kills lot of German soldiers and becomes a national hero and the most decorated American soldier of the WWI. This film is great because it's lack of unnecessary patriotism and heroism. It's about the duty we have to fulfill because there are situations in life when our personal happiness is less important than the freedom of others. Alvin C. York realizes this and goes to a war against a country which he has never heard of and protects people whom he has never met. That's why he is a great man. And when he fulfilled his duty he goes home to the well-earned peace and comfort. And when Gary Cooper fulfilled his duty and gave a superb performance as Alvin York, he got the well-earned Academy Award for the Best Actor.
  • dentonsfarm24 September 2005
    This film really shows Howard Hawk's flair for story telling. Turner didn't have to put this masterpiece in color for it to be colorful. The characters are extremely memorable, such as Walter Brennan as Pastor Pyle. I believe there was a comment made on IMDb that Sergent York was an Ozark hillbilly. I would like to correct that because in fact and according to the movie he was from the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee. The Ozarks are around Oklahoma and Arkansas.

    However, to get back to what I was say about the film, it is perhaps one of the greatest films ever made. It is for sure, an under rated film by the American Film Institute. Why it was never placed in the top 100, I don't know. Or, why Michael Medved never placed it in his top 10 list of greatest Christian films.

    On top of this it is a good family film with extremely high redeeming values. The war scenes toward the last half of the film have some mildly violent images, compared to now days. I'm saying this because there are some families out there who may not want to subject there children to any violence what so ever, not even on screen.
  • I feel one of the great strengths of this movie are the actors who played in the supporting character rolls. Joan Leslie, who must at this time only of been a teen ager, as York's wife. Margaret Wycherly as his mother was most compelling. Walter Brennan was just simply great. Add in George Tobias and Ward Bond to help cement the story and you see how they gave Gary Cooper the power of the main character.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    As a film that Hollywood made in anticipation of our eventual involvement in WWII, this film was magical and sure did its job in rallying Americans to the cause. The film is a propaganda masterpiece and can't help but affect the viewer. While I am sure many today might laugh at its sentimentality and clichés or some might get angry at its unabashed Americanism, the fact is that this is a brilliantly made film. Heck, by the end of the film, I found myself all choked up--even though I knew that the real story of Sergeant York was a bit different (though he still was an amazing man).

    Speaking of inaccuracies, believe it or not, compared to most biopics, this film actually is mostly correct. The inaccuracies were mostly done for dramatic effect and don't really change the nature of the man or his deeds. Sure, his conversion was a lot less spectacular and he was already married before he went off to war, but the spirit of the film was correct. Leave it to Warner Brothers to get wonderful supporting character actors and a wonderful musical score and great cinematography to work together to make a perfect film for the time. Not surprisingly, the film took home the "Best Actor" Oscar in 1942.

    I'd say more but frankly, there are already a ton of reviews on this seminal film. I'd hate to be repetitive, though just had to point out how much I love and respect the film, having just seen it again for the second time.

    By the way, get a load of Walter Brennan's eyebrows. I'd LOVE to know what the preacher REALLY looked like!
  • "Sergeant York" (1941) is based on the true life story of Alvin C. York - a must see. It has every facet of life: struggles and celebrations, pride and humility, anger and reflections, war and peace, atheist and faithful, lazy and zealous, in solitude, in combat, in glory, in contentment of family, satisfying love and rewarding joy. The yin and yang's of living.

    Yes, it's the perfect role for Gary Cooper to portray Corporal Alvin C. York. In fact, York himself had the insight to personally make it a condition for the realization of the film with no other but Cooper to play him. The film encompasses the humble beginnings, the struggles York went through from a seemingly good-for-nothing' fellow (but quite a sharpshooter for mischief or turkey hunting) to becoming a decent faith abiding man with his dream for a good piece of land and a house for the girl (Joan Leslie portrays the energetic & affectionate Gracie) he yearned for. The firm yet nurturing love of his mother was exemplary, in spite of the hardship a widowed woman raising 3 children (York being her eldest), Mama York's enduring strength helped York to go on when things didn't turn out as he expected. She patiently prayed and believed that faith would come to her eldest when the time comes. Besides her kindred, she's well-respected by the pastor, shopkeeper, neighbors one and all.

    Glad TCM included "Sergeant York" in their film tributes to Gary Cooper. Besides the family aspect, the soldiers in training, army in battle segments are equally represented. In times of war as we are now, even though those of us who do not have immediate affiliation to men and women in battlefields abroad, it's so easy to simply dismiss the life-risking duty of a soldier. We are lucky to be enjoying 'pseudo'-peace within our country's soil vs. enemy grounds. War is never pretty. Deaths & injured are inevitable. Two World Wars past and we're still learning as history continues. When military situation arises, trust in our leaders may require leaps of faith, including their course of action. The decision to go to war as a peace-advocating nation is never easy - to fight for a cause and "to kill in order to save lives" (referenced in "Sergeant York") seem to be unappealing logic and of reasons hard to understand. Nevertheless, faith & trust we'd need as the film's biographical storyline of Alvin York reinforced.

    We only hope our freedom of expression doesn't get overly abused or taken for granted: that journalism, documentaries, television broadcasts, political agenda do not indiscriminately expose information that may compromise safety of soldiers in combat or military strategies - that wars will eventually be unnecessary and global harmony will see the light of day.

    Insightful filmmaker Errol Morris' "The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara" (2003) is a worthwhile & informative documentary film. It's available on DVD.

    King Vidor's "Fountainhead" (1949) based on Ayn Rand's novel is another Gary Cooper film with tour de force performance along with a feisty irresistible Patricia Neal. Also in B/W with Max Steiner music. Unconventional, rebellious, conflict and passion, in work and in love, architect and socialite, it's dramatic to say the least. An enduring engaging film.
  • ciocc100120 January 2003
    This movie might not be an entirely accurate depiction of what occurred, but it certainly is an enjoyable and inspiring movie. And I hope it will inspire viewers to look into this slice of history. With the internet, that is easy these days. I found a fascinating bio written by Michael Birdwell on the Alvin C. York Institute website. Did you know that York considered running against freshman Tennessee Senator Albert Gore in 1930? Just think: in a parallel universe, York's son might have run against George Bush!

    This is one of those movies that stays with you the rest of your life. Watch it!
  • Many of the best films have portrayed real-life events -- and Sergeant York is no exception. Gary Cooper as Sergeant York delivers an Oscar-winning performance as a Tennessee hillbilly who, for personal and religious reasons, doesn't want to kill anyone and refuses to join the war on the Western Front in WW I. After much soul searching, he eventually dons a uniform and ships out to France. Using uncanny marksmanship skills acquired from years of living in the back woods, he prevents his platoon's position from being overrun by the enemy by methodically mowing down a few dozen German soldiers. One of Sergeant York's secrets to shooting accuracy is wetting down his sights with a bit of saliva to prevent glare. He emerges from the war as a hero, marries his favorite girl, moves into a house given to him by the State of Tennessee as a symbol of their gratitude, and lives happily ever after. Great stuff, and all true. A stunningly moving film that everyone should see.
  • Definitely a Must See and Must Own!! This movie rates a 10!! A great film for all ages and squeaky clean! My family love this movie, even my girls!! It has a good content and excellent acting. One of the best b&w movies that I have ever seen. It has great action and shows that those who stand behind their belief in God and still get the job done! I also, as a mom, appreciate a movie that I can watch at anytime with my whole family and not worry about too much violence, excessive sex or nudity and foul language. Gary Cooper was an excellent actor during his time and definitely gave Alvin York a worthwhile portrayal. I recommend this movie to all families!! I recommend this film for your family video library!
  • In my book this is one of the best movies of all time. It is the story of Sergeant York, the most decorated soldier of WWI.

    Whether the movie presents factual the story or not, is up to historians. But 50 or 100 years from now this movie WILL be the factual history.

    Great filming, great acting, great story, all add up to perfection. One of the reviews at this site said something like "an otherwise undistinguished cast." Well, wake up, it has a cast of Walter Brennan, Ward Bond, Noah Beery, Jr. Howard DaSilva, Clem Bevans, Margaret Wycherly, June Lockhart, Dickie Moore, George Tobias, and Joan Leslie. Including probably the greatest character actor of all time, Walter Brennan.

    One of the few movies I can watch over and over and over.
  • I reside in Fentress County, the county it talks about in "Sergeant York". Because I live here and also go to the Alvin C. York Agricultural Institue in Jamestown, I have seen this movie many times. Let me tell you it is a great movie for the entire family. It is a movie about Alvin York from Pall Mall, Tennessee. In the movie he turns from his wicked ways and gets saved. Shortly after this he is drafted into the War. There he captures many Germans and plays a vital role in helping America defeat Germany. Some parts may be a little corny... but then, what movie wasn't in the 1940's? If you have not watched this movie I encourage you to do so. It is great!
  • This is one of my all-time favorite films. I've seen it dozens of times and probably many more. The moving and deep drama of the Ozark hillbilly working himself to death to obtain some 'bottom land' is heavy and compelling drama in itself, so much so that one tends to wonder when the war will become an issue. But it does and again, it fills the heart and mind with pathos and suspense. Sergeant York was released during WWII, as an obvious war-bond pusher and patriotism builder, and it is no wonder that is was wildly successful. The war scenes and Cooper's acting are set into a realistic and colorful environment of battle and personal conflict. When York's "You done gimme command" line erupts from the speakers, the viewer is on the edge of his seat, already entranced by the personal heroism of this quiet man. What York did in the war, capturing 132 Germans was real, and the film's portrayal is right on the money, even to the extent, I believe, of filming it on the actual site, but I'm not willing to swear to it. It's the kind of film that makes one proud to be an American and that was its goal. Cooper is entirely believable, although the real Alvin York was hardly as good-looking. It's easy to fall in love with the ever-pretty Joan Leslie, a gem of a woman, as well as the simple and practical Margaret Wycherly as Ma York. Don't you get the idea that she and Pastor Pile have a thing going? Just an irreverent thought.
  • bpflanzer14 November 2003
    I've seen this film many times. I've been anxious for it to come to DVD but... so far-- it's not coming. It's a great sorry about someone who is quite a rabble-rouser until God gets his attention. Then, luck would have it-- he gets drafted. Even before I found Christ- I loved this movie; It's a good wholesome story-- Even great for Kids!!! I read a review today that this is coming to DVD in Feb 2004. I haven't found "proof" but I hope it's true. I don't doubt that I'll buy it as soon as possible. I've even considered VHS version; but my player isn't that good. I don't wanna buy a new player.
  • There are movies that you can barely remember hours after watching them, and there are movies you can't forget even years later. Sergeant York is the later. The movie remains etched in my mind and heart.

    It is a story clearly told, yet not oversimplified, with characters boldly drawn, yet not caricatured, at least not the main ones. It would be a great story even if it were not true, but it is true, at least in the main. York's conversion by a lightning bolt striking his rifle is fiction, though his heavy drinking, fighting and ultimate conversion are not. So the lightning is cinematic device to shorten the process, and a brilliant one.

    Those who talk about it as a war story (and who complain the first part is boring) miss why this film is so great. It is also a love story and a story of family. Joan Leslie is heartbreakingly sweet and lovely as Gracie Williams. We can feel the chemistry, and see that she is a force for good in Alvin's life, who was 30 when he was drafted.

    Leslie's portrayal of Gracie is so full of life and youth and charm. Compare that with Margaret Wycherly's portrayal of Mother York, who is old, tired, dessicated of emotion. Yet she is full of wisdom, of understanding Alvin's passion for Gracie. In her eyes, you can see her thinking back to when she was once Gracie, in her long ago youth. It is a silent, motionless look, plumbing the depths of memory -- a master actress's use of silence.

    I think most viewers take Wycherly's performance for granted, perhaps assuming we are seeing the real Wycherly. Yet she was born in London in 1881 to a father who was a doctor -- far from the poverty of Pall Mall, Tennessee -- and had been mainly a British stage and film actress. Nevertheless, those who knew the real Mother York say Wycherly's portrayal was spot on. Now that is real acting.

    It is curious that this is the role that earned Gary Cooper his first Oscar. We, the modern viewer, have seen that Aw Shucks persona many times. But apparently it fit the real Alvin York, who insisted on Cooper playing him on screen, and was present for the movie's premiere. You can read about Alvin York online, on Wikipedia and on, which has a 1920s biography online. In the quotes of the actual Alvin York, you can easily hear Gary Cooper's voice.

    Henry Fonda was considered for the role, and matched York's looks more closely. But he was only a few years younger than Cooper, so it wouldn't have helped much with the Gracie-York match up. I think he could have done the role, but Cooper's fit was right and almost magical. Modesty was the hallmark of York, and Cooper had it down, far more than Fonda. Frankly, I don't notice the age thing when I watch it; it's a movie and you need to be prepared to suspend disbelief up to a point. Besides, people who work hard outside tend to look older, especially if they don't have much to eat.

    The scene where the family sits down to dinner and Mother York proudly presents the bag of salt is so beautiful. She reminds me of a stray mother cat who will do anything to protect and feed her children, even to the point of starvation or death, herself. And when I buy salt, I sometimes think about this, and how lucky I am.

    As to the portrayal of "hillbillies," we must remember that this was an extremely rural mountain area with no road coming in -- the real Alvin pushed the state to build one after the war -- and it was nearly a century ago. People were different. There was little schooling, too, and the real Alvin later raised funds to build a school. While we see Alvin drinking and fighting, we also see hard working, intelligent, gentle people with nice homes, so I don't see any stereotyping here.

    As to the war, yes, the story is true. You can read about it yourself. And it provides a great lesson we should continue to remember today and in the future: The only justification for killing people in war (aside from self defense) is to end the killing and end war.

    That is what was in York's mind, and he says so, to stop the killing. York was a pacifist at heart. Killing the enemy out of anger, hatred, retaliation or revenge was not in his mind, and should not be in the mind of any soldier. When this happens, it corrodes the soul of the soldier, so that he can no longer feel like a normal human being.

    It was also probably what was on the minds of thousands of Americans who enlisted after seeing this movie, which was released months before America actually entered the war following Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. By then, the war had already been raging for two years, and America's entry was consistent with York's hope of helping to bring the fighting to an end.

    York didn't lose his feeling for his fellow man. I found this item from the IMDb trivia section interesting:

    "Alvin York himself was on the set for a few days during filming. When one of the crew members tactlessly asked him how many "Jerries" he had killed, York started sobbing so vehemently he threw up. The crew member was nearly fired, but the next day, York demanded that he keep his job."

    While the attack he lead killed 28 German soldiers, he also captured 132, saving their lives.
  • barbb195323 July 2009
    Warning: Spoilers
    I started watching this with expectations of seeing a hero right at the start, and a very human, tarnished man appeared. That shouldn't be surprising, since what is just so difficult to grasp is that this movie accurately portrays what happened that day in the Argonne. Wow. You have to ask: how did a real man do all that? This is what the movie as a whole tries to answer, and I think it succeeds pretty well in doing so.

    On an external level, it was really fun to watch Gary Cooper, Ward Bond, and Noah Berry, Jr.,partying all over the place; and there was Walter Brennan bringing "old time religion" to the Tennessee hills. I didn't recognize Brennan at first, just his voice. The eyebrows were a bit much, I agree.

    The story is an exceptionally deep one, about a man's religious conversion and then testing. I'd like to see another movie today, this time with the real story of his conversion, although the version in this film is powerfully and well done.

    The major's comment after York returns from his 10-day furlough really gets at the heart of the matter. The captain is concerned that York's ongoing struggles with conscience will make him a battle risk, but the major understands that York has really proved that he is an ideal fighter -- one who will work away at a challenge until he beats it.

    The battle sequences are done with as much authenticity as the sequences in Tennessee were. There really isn't much screen time for the set-up scene in the trenches, but Hawks wastes no chance to convey the hellish battlefield setting, the soul-numbed and battle-shocked human being that stares out at us from the British soldier's eyes, and the nervousness and yet willingness of the new American troops as they wait in the trench for the signal to go "over the top."

    This meant a lot to me since I recently found out that the local VFW post is named after a local man who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions in the same general area where York and other Americans were operating, a week or two earlier than York's action on October 8, and who was killed in action three weeks to the day after York's action and less than two weeks before the Armistice. His story moved me quite a bit; I don't know much about WWI and appreciate learning a little more about it.

    In this movie, Hawks also shows York's new status as hero and how he deals with it (which is the same as he has handled all his other tests, by thinking it over until he sees the right way to proceed). That was a good thing to include.

    There were a couple of weak spots -- the major's telling York on the battlefield that York's desire to save lives was the most remarkable thing of all. Actually, from all I've read, that is what motivates generally all soldiers, including those who eventually are given medals for their actions. I think the major would have known that, and of course, soon all America would re-learn it.

    Also, the last part where she surprises York is totally unbelievable, since the field is right out there by the brook and he would have seen all that probably even before he crossed the bridge. Still, even though it's hokey and you pretty much know what is going to happen, it's enjoyable, and it's a good place to end the movie.
  • I love every aspect of this movie, especially Coop's performance. This is (in my opinion) his greatest performance because he was the perfect representative of America's veteran's coming home from a major war and stating clearly that he is not proud of what he did in his service to his country. In the film (as well as the real Sergeant York) he is offered several thousands of dollars (possibly millions) and he refuses it for those reasons stated above. This is my idea of a true hero and what better role model to have than Gary Cooper.
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