The Battle of Midway (1942)

John Ford
1942 • 18 Minutes • 1.37:1 • United States
Color • English • United States War Activity Committee 

Voice Cast: Donald Crisp, Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell
Writers: Dudley Nichols & James Kevin McGuinness
Producer: John Ford
Cinematography: John Ford & Jack MacKenzie & Kenneth M. Pier

Awards & Honors

Academy Awards
Best Documentary

During World War II, propaganda films were prevalent on all sides of the conflict. The Battle of Midway is a collection of footage shot from the legendary real-life battle and edited together to tell the "story" of the fight.  Included in story is narration by Henry Fonda and Jane Darwell, where Darwell plays the role of a woman from Ohio, recognizing one of the soldiers in the footage. Fonda goes on to explain how important this GI is to the war effort and how proud everyone at home should be of him. Donald Crisp provides bookend narration of the battle's importance and the climax of the documentary is 16 MM footage (shot by the enlisted Ford himself) of the ongoing battle.  Ford's captured the action purely by chance as the battle broke out while he was en route to the island.  The film (as well as its Academy Award win) are pure American propaganda, but an important piece of film history.

Watch the Academy Award winning documentary, The Battle of Midway, in its entirety below.