MacArthur (film)

1977 film by Joseph Sargent

MacArthur is a 1977 film that tells the story of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Allied Commander during World War II and United Nations Commander for the Korean War.

Directed by Joseph Sargent. Written by Hal Barwood and Matthew Robbins.
Daring, Defiant, Brilliant, Stubborn, Gallant, Glory-Hungry, Cold, Compassionate, Idolized, Despised, War-Lover, War-Hater, Supreme Commander, Supreme Egotist, Husband, Father. MacArthur.
  • [reflecting on stopping the flow of Chinese forces across the Yalu] I requested permission to bomb the Yangtze bridges to keep the Chinese out of Korea. They said, "You might bomb the southern half of the bridges only." In my 50 years of military service, I have never learned how to bomb HALF a bridge!
  • The days of the frontal attack are over. Only a mediocre commander would use it. Your good commanders do not turn in heavy losses.
  • [addressing West Point cadets] Duty, Honor, Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, and what you will be. They are your rallying points. They give you a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life, a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, an appetite for adventure over love of ease. In this way, they will teach you to be an officer and a gentleman. From your ranks come the great captains who will hold the nation's destiny in their hands the moment the war tocsin sounds. The Long Gray Line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, would rise from their white crosses thundering those magic words: 'Duty, Honor, Country.' This does not mean that you are warmongers. On the contrary, the soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. But always in our minds ring the ominous words of Plato: 'Only the dead have seen the end of war.' ....The shadows are lengthening for me. The twilight is here. My days of old have vanished in tone and tint. They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears, and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday. I listen vainly, but with thirsty ear, for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll. In my dreams I hear the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield. But, in the evening of my memory, always I return to West Point. Always there echoes and re-echoes: 'Duty, Honor, Country.' Today marks my final roll call with you. I want you to know that when I cross the river, my last conscious thoughts will be of The Corps, and The Corps, and The Corps. I bid you farewell.
  • [to Congress] But, once war has been forced upon us, there is no other alternative than to apply every available means to bring it to a swift end. War's very object is victory, not prolonged indecision. In war, there can be no substitute for victory. For history teaches us with unmistakable emphasis that appeasement but begets new and bloodier war. Like blackmail, it lays the basis for new and increasingly greater demands until, as in blackmail, violence becomes the only alternative. 'Why?' 'Why,' my soldiers asked of me, 'surrender military advantages to an enemy in the field?' I could not answer. The magnificence of the courage and fortitude of the Korean people defies description. They have chosen to risk death rather than slavery. Their last words to me were: 'Don't scuttle the Pacific.' I am closing my 52 years of military service. When I joined the Army, even before the turn of the century, it was the fulfillment of all of my boyish hopes and dreams. The world has turned over many times since I took the oath on the plain at West Point, and the hopes and dreams have long since vanished. But I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barrack ballads of that day which proclaimed most proudly that 'old soldiers never die, they just fade away.' Like the old soldier of that ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty. Goodbye.
  • Look at him, he's not in uniform, he's in costume.




President Sergio Osmena: You see, General, my people are going to laugh if I fell in deep water. I cannot swim!
Gen. Douglas MacArthur: That's not so bad, Mr. President. Everyone's about to see that I can't walk on water.

Lt. Gen. Richard K. Sutherland: Inchon has some of the highest tides in the world, but only once a month do they reach a height sufficient for our largest landing craft to go in. There are maybe two three-hour periods when MacArthur can put troops ashore. Which is not enough time for a major amphibious landing.
Gen. Sampson: Exactly. This is little more than a trench in the mudflats. If every possible handicap were listed, Inchon has them all.
Lt. Gen. Richard K. Sutherland: However, gentlemen, MacArthur claims that these very handicaps are what he's counting on. He feels that the enemy won't believe that anyone would try to surmount such obstacles. The element of surprise will be his most valuable ally.
President Harry S. Truman: [Looks at Gen. George C. Marshall] What do you think of His Majesty's plan?
Gen. George C. Marshall: It's daring... it's brilliant... and it's dangerous.

[MacArthur arrives at front lines and starts to get out of jeep]
Soldier: General, sir! Excuse me, sir, but we just killed a Jap sniper here not five minutes ago!
Gen. Douglas MacArthur: Fine, son! That's the best thing to do with 'em!

Harry Truman: I oughta kick his insubordinate ass right into the Sea of Japan. The lousiest trick he's pulled; I traveled 14,000 miles to reach an understanding face-to-face, and he still thinks he can do exactly what he damn well pleases!
Aide: Can you imagine he actually sent a message to the Chinese threatening to destroy their forces unless they would negotiate a solution with him personally?
Harry Truman: You know, there's a story, where Abe Lincoln was tryin' to mount a horse that was skittish. And the horse kicked a hind hoof into the stirrup. So Lincoln says to 'im, "If you're gonna get on, I'll get off." Well, I'm not gettin' off. I think Roosevelt shoulda- shoulda pulled Wainwright outta Corregidor and left that five-star brass hat MacArthur there to be the martyr.
Aide: What shall I do with the cease-fire proposal?
Harry Truman: Scrap it. I can't approach the Chinese on any political basis; not after this. That man's tryin' to start World War III and I'm tryin' to prevent it. I'll fire that brass hat prima donna right now. The hell does he think he is? God? Now, what do you think Congress'll do if I relieve the big general?
Aide: Congress would flay you alive.
[In the aftermath of MacArthur's dismissal from command in Korea and recall to the United States, Truman's approval ratings plummeted. In February 1952 his approval rating stood at 22%, a record low until George W. Bush in 2008.]


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