Thunderbirds (1952 film)

Last updated
Original film poster
Directed by John H. Auer
Produced by John H. Auer
Screenplay by Mary C. McCall Jr.
Story byKenneth Gamet
Starring John Derek
John Drew Barrymore
Mona Freeman
Gene Evans
Eileen Christy
Ward Bond
Music by Victor Young
CinematographyReggie Lanning
Edited by Richard L. Van Enger
Republic Pictures
Distributed by Republic Pictures
Release date
  • November 20, 1952 (1952-11-20)(Washington, D.C.)
  • November 27, 1952 (1952-11-27)(United States)
  • December 10, 1952 (1952-12-10)(San Francisco)
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1 million (US) [1]

Thunderbirds is a 1952 war film directed by John H. Auer and starring John Derek, John Drew Barrymore, Mona Freeman, Gene Evans, Eileen Christy and Ward Bond. [2] It features the exploits of the 45th Infantry Division in the Italian campaign of World War II. The film was made by Republic Pictures with sequences filmed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. [3]



Close friends Gil Hackett and Tom McCreary both love and leave the same girl, Mary Caldwell, after they are called up to the Oklahoma National Guard and then on to the Army for wartime duty in 1940.

A tough, stoic sergeant named Logan keeps an eye on them as the unit ships out to Europe following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Tom speaks of his father, who supposedly died a hero's death in the First World War, but another soldier claims he's heard that Tom's father was disgraced and dishonorably discharged.

Mary reveals that Tom is the one she loves. Gil finds solace in meeting Lt. Ellen Henderson, a nurse. The fighting continues in Italy and Sicily and when Tom ends up missing, Logan will not permit a search. Logan later heroically reports a movement of German tanks just before being shot.

With the invasion of Southern France at hand, it is learned that Logan had been court-martialed during World War I for authorizing a search party that led to the death of more soldiers. He reenlisted under a false name to prove himself again, particularly to Tom, who is actually his son.


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  1. 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1953', Variety, January 13, 1954
  2. Thunderbirds at TCMDB
  3. "Thunderbirds (1952) - Notes". Turner Classic Movies.