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The Americanization of Emily (1964)

aka The Americanization of Emily

Directed By: 
Written By: 
Details: 115 mins · English


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Small Lt. Cmdr. Charles Edward Madison
Small Emily Barham
Small Adm. William Jessup
Small Lt. Cmdr. Paul 'Bus' Cummings
No_movie_poster Mrs. Barham
Small Adm. Thomas Healy
No_movie_poster Sheila
Small Old Sailor
Small Capt. Harry Spaulding
No_movie_poster Adm. Hoyle
No_movie_poster Young Sailor
Small Beautiful Girl
Small Chief Petty Officer Paul Adams
No_movie_poster Capt. Marvin Ellender


No_movie_poster Paddy Chayefsky Screenplay
Small Arthur Hiller Director
No_movie_poster Martin Ransohoff Production
No_movie_poster Tom McAdoo Editing


LCDR Charlie Madison (James Garner), USNR, is a cynical and highly efficient adjutant to RADM William Jessup (Melvyn Douglas) in 1944 London. Madison's job as a dog robber is to keep his boss and other high-ranking officers supplied with luxury goods and amiable Englishwomen. He falls in love with a driver from the motor pool, Emily Barham (Julie Andrews), who has lost her husband, brother, and father in the war. Madison's sybaritic, "American" lifestyle amid wartime scarcity both fascinates and disgusts Emily, but she does not want to lose another loved one to war and finds the "practicing coward" Madison irresistible.

Under stress since the death of his wife, Jessup obsesses over the Army and its Air Corps overshadowing the Navy in the forthcoming D-Day invasion. The mentally unstable admiral decides that "The first dead man on Omaha Beach must be a sailor." A film will document the death, and the casualty will be buried in a "Tomb of the Unknown Sailor."

Despite his best efforts to avoid the duty, Madison and his gung-ho friend, LCDR "Bus" Cummings (James Coburn), find themselves and a film crew with the combat engineers who will be the first on shore. When Madison tries to retreat to safety, Cummings forces him forward with a pistol. A German shell lands near Madison, making him the first American to die on Omaha Beach. Hundreds of newspaper and magazine covers reprint a photograph of Madison on the shore, making him a martyr. Jessup, having recovered from his breakdown, regrets his part in Madison's death but plans to use it in support of the Navy when testifying before a Senate committee in Washington. Losing another man she loves to the war devastates Emily.

Then comes unexpected news: Madison is not dead, but alive and well in an English hospital. A relieved Jessup now plans to show him during the Senate testimony as the heroic "first man on Omaha Beach." Madison, angry about his senseless near-death, uncharacteristically plans to act nobly by telling the world the truth of what happened on the beach, even if it means being imprisoned for cowardice. Emily persuades him to instead choose happiness with her by keeping quiet and accepting his heroic role.

Release Dates:

DVD : 2005-05-10