The film is based on the true story of an Iowa family, whose five sons all enlisted in the United States Navy just after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The boys wanted to serve their country together and were determined to be assigned to the same ship, so when their ship was attacked in the Pacific, all five boys perished.
There is very little in the way of battle scenes, as the movie focuses more on their family life when the boys were young. Though not perfect by any means, they were a functional and loving family. Thomas Mitchell portrays the boys' father, and he is alot of fun, especially when he decides that the boys' punishment for smoking is to treat them as "real men" by allowing them to smoke cigars.
The most haunting line in the movie is spoken by Ward Bond, who, as a Naval Officer, visits the Sullivan home to break the news of the deaths. When Mother Sullivan asks, "Which one?", Bond responds, "All five." Those words are haunting and devastating and serve to remind us of the truth that freedom isn't free. The Sullivan family gave so very much for the cause of freedom, as do all our veterans.
The Fighting Sullivans is a perfect Memorial Day movie, so I wanted to review it now---before Memorial Day---so as to give a heads-up about it. See if you can find it in time for the holiday, and if you can obtain a copy with bonus features, be sure to watch them. You'll have a chance to meet a descendant of one of the Sullivan brothers.