Beach Red

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Beach Red
BeachRed poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Cornel Wilde
Written by Story:
Peter Bowman
Clint Johnston,
Don Peters,
Cornel Wilde
Starring Cornel Wilde
Rip Torn
Burr DeBenning
Jaime Sánchez
Cinematography Cecil R. Cooney
Edited by Frank P. Keller
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
Running time
105 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Beach Red is a 1967 World War II film starring Cornel Wilde (who also directed) and Rip Torn. The film depicts a landing by the U.S. Marine Corps on an unnamed Japanese held Pacific island, however is thought to be Red Beach, Palo, Leyte in the Philippines. A reference to the recent Bougainville Campaign early in the film presumably dates the action to November 1943 or later. During World War II Allied amphibious operations, designated invasion beaches were code named by colour; such as Beach Red, Beach White, Beach Blue etc.

The film is based on a lengthy piece of prose, not quite a novel, written by Peter Bowman and based on his experiences with the US Army Corps of Engineers in the Pacific Islands campaigns.


The opening sequence of an opposed beach landing bears a stylistic resemblance to Saving Private Ryan, even though there is more than thirty years between the productions. In one scene during the landing a Marine is shown with his arm blown off similar to Tom Lea's painting The Price.

As Americans are shown consolidating their gains, flashbacks illustrate the lives of American and Japanese combatants. Shifting first person voice over in a stream of consciousness style is also used to portray thoughts of numerous characters. Like Wilde's previous production of The Naked Prey the film does not use subtitles for characters speaking Japanese.

The film contains large sections of voice over sections, often juxtaposed with still photographs of wives etc. (who inexplicably are dressed in 1967 attire rather than WW2). It contains a huge amount of crying by the troops, and an abnormal sympathy for the enemy. In one scene an injured marine is lying close to an injured Japanese soldier in a scene paralleling the famous scene in All Quiet On The Western Front just after they bond, other marines appear and kill the Japanese soldier causing distress to the first marine.

Director, producer, and co-writer Wilde plays a Marine Captain the company commander, Rip Torn plays his believable company gunnery sergeant who says the film's tagline "That's what we're here for. To kill. The rest is all crap!" .


  • Filmed on location in the Philippines using troops of the Philippine Armed Forces. The sequence of the Japanese dressed in Marine uniforms was inspired by the original book mentioning Japanese wearing American helmets to infiltrate American lines.[1]
  • When seeking assistance from the U.S. Marine Corps, Cornel Wilde was told that due to the commitments of the Vietnam War all the Corps could provide the film was color stock footage taken during the Pacific Island campaigns. The film provided had deteriorated so Wilde had to spend a considerable part of the film's budget to restore the film to an acceptable quality in order to blend into the film. The Marine Corps was grateful that their historical film had been restored at no cost to them.[2]

I[who?] was in the US Navy stationed in the Philippines when this was filmed. Many US sailors appeared in the movie. It was the only time I ever disembarked down a cargo net from a LST into a LSVP. I wasn't there when the scenes on land were filmed. Maybe there were no US personnel in those scenes.


The film only has one musical theme, a song by written Antonino Buenaventura that appears in the titles sung in a folk song manner by Jean Wallace and appears in various orchestrations throughout the film. The titles of the film are various paintings that suddenly segues into the preparations for the landing.


Nobody's talking themselves red, white and blue in the face and only the sea is behind you if you turn.
It's just you and your firearm, the enemy and his, and a perfectly democratic opportunity to use your own judgement.
- Bowman, Peter Beach Red: A Novel Random House, 1945


  1. ^ Bowman, Peter Beach Red: A Novel Random House, 1945
  2. ^ p.203 Suid, Lawrence H. Guts & Glory: The Making of the American Military Image in Film University Press of Kentucky, 2002

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