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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Gary Cooper was 40 years old when he made "Sergeant York," and his Southern accent is weak at best, but those things do not end up detracting all that much from his performance or this film. Directed in 1941 by Howard Hawks, "Sergeant York" has strong propagandistic elements. A whiskey-drinking hell-raiser, Alvin C. York undergoes a religious conversation when lighting strikes his gun and almost kills him. His goal in life becomes getting himself a piece of bottom land so he can propose to Gracie Williams (Joan Leslie). Things go against him, but Alvin holds his temper and does what the Good Book tell him to do. Then World War I breaks out and Alvin is drafted. Unable to get status as a conscientious objector because of his religious beliefs, Alvin has to come to terms with the obligations of citizenship versus the dictates of scripture. The film is surprisingly even handed in showing Alvin debating the matter with his superiors. In the end he comes to the only conclusion possible for men of conscience forced to go to war: killing is justified to save lives.
On the Argonne Forest battlefield Alvin, made a corporal because of his marksmanship, becomes a hero when his unit is trapped and he single-handedly kills 25 and captures 132 prisoners. Called the "greatest civilian solider of the war" by General Pershing, York received the Medal of Honor, France's Croix de Guerre, and basically every high medal the Allies could bestow upon him. But while the film does a first-rate job of showing York's heroic exploits, ultimately it is more about the man that the solider. Cooper's sense of dignity is well-suited to the role, which gives more weight to York's life in the hills of Tennessee than to the war in Europe. What he learned back home clearly stands Alvin in good stead on the battlefield.
The supporting cast of "Sergeant York" is truly outstanding, with George Tobias as "Pusher" Ross, Ward Bond as Ike Botkin and Robert Porterfield as Zeb Andrews. Both Walter Brennan as Pastor Rosier Pile and Margaret Wycherly as Mother York received well deserved Oscar nominations in the supporting category. Brennan marvelously underplays his role as Alvin's spiritual leader while Wycherly is simply the anchor for the entire film. Mother York says little and moves slowly, but everything comes out through her eyes. The scene where Alvin finally gets home from the war and sees his mother at the train station is especially touching: his face lights up completely and her "I'm right glad to see you, son" is the equivalent of other people crying and screaming for joy. In addition to Cooper winning his first Oscar as Best Actor, William Holmes receives one for Film Editing. This is one of those movies I never get tired of seeing and it remains the ideal film to watch on Memorial Day.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 May 2016
SPLENDID! I loved this film about the life and heroic acts of a very real American soldier. It is very deservedly considered a classic. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.

PRECISION: this is the review of Region 1 NTSC USA+Canada version. It will NOT play on Region 2 PAL Europe+UK equipement.

This film tells the story of sergeant Alvin C. York, who won very much deserved fame for acts of incredible heroism during World War I - after having been a conscientious objector! In case you are not familiar with his exploits, I advise you to NOT research him. Watch the movie instead and allow yourself to be surprised. However, the greatest treasure of this film is not in the war time events, which ultimately take only a small part of the film. The best part is everything that precedes the war and it is a great, great story, narrated with great mastery by Howard Hawks. York was indeed 30 years old when he became a war hero and he already lived a lot before that.

York character is played wonderfully by Gary Cooper, who won the Oscar for this role. Joan Leslie, who left us only recently at respectable age of 90, plays Gracie Williams, a beautiful, smart, tough, non-nonsense, hard-to-get girl-next-door who attracts the attention of young Alvin York...

Born in poor rural area of Tennessee, York worked hard since his early childhood but as young man he was also wild, hard drinking and always looking for trouble. This long film (134 minutes) begins precisely in those early years, when at 25 he was considered as one of the most troublesome men in the whole county - in fact many people considered him and his close friends almost as a bunch of rogues. I will say no more about the story, but believe me, it is a great and dramatic tale and you will not see the time passing by.

I will keep this review short to avoid any temptation of providing spoilers. This film was in 1941 a spectacular box office success and it didn't age at all. It is a dramatic and moving story about one man's journely through life, love and war. I am so keeping this DVD for another viewing. ENJOY!
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The movie was well paces and had just the right people to play the characters. It was fun to watch how Alvin (Gary cooper) suddenly and progressively alters his look on life. He gives meaning to "I see the light".
I appreciated the scene where he is in on the mountain contemplating the dichotomy of life and defense. It has the same feel as in the movie "The Razors Edge" where Tyrone Powers contemplates being one with God.
Later it was fun to see how Alvin applied his turkey target skills. And asking people to take a few prisoners off his hands.
This is one of those movies that can use repeated viewing,
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on 25 November 2000
This film is based on a true story. Our hero sergeant York is a religious man that has to decide between his non violent religious beliefs and the call to defend his country. Gary Cooper always excels playing the simple down to earth man and this is no exception. The film is charming and delighful, but none the less gives account of a very brave man. Sergeant York was one of the most decorated soldiers of World War I. If you love war movies this is a must. If you love Gary Cooper this is a must. If you just love movies this is a must.
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on 20 March 2014
I see this film years ago and when I was asked what films inspired me this one came to mind strait away so I had to buy it and it was as inspiring as when I see all them years ago
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The movie was well paces and had just the right people to play the characters. It was fun to watch how Alvin (Gary cooper) suddenly and progressively alters his look on life. He gives meaning to "I see the light".
I appreciated the scene where he is in on the mountain contemplating the dichotomy of life and defense. It has the same feel as in the movie "The Razors Edge" where Tyrone Powers contemplates being one with God.
Later it was fun to see how Alvin applied his turkey target skills. And asking people to take a few prisoners off his hands.
This is one of those movies that can use repeated viewing,
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on 1 September 2010
This region 1 warner brothers two disc dvd is excellent, because it has great documentaries including a documentary about the movie and there is also a documentary about Gary Cooper which is hosted by Clint Eastwood. There is also a gallery of Gary Cooper trailers and a looney tunes cartoon which are both worth watching.
This is one of my favourite movies because the story is great and Gary Cooper does an excellent performance as Alvin York which he won an oscar in 1942. The movie also won an oscar for best film editing and was also nominated for nine academy awards including best director Howard Hawks.
Walter Brennan was nominated for best actor in supporting role as Pastor Rosier Pile and british actress Margaret Wycherly was nominated for best actress in supporting role as Gary Coopers mum.
The first hour of the movie is based in Alvin York's hometown and he tries to get a plot of land and he turns into a religious person, which he learns that killing is a bad thing. Around the middle of the film, York becomes a soldier and he wins the medal of honour for capturing 132 germans in the battle of Argonne. The battle scene is brilliant because the explosions look very realistic and it gives you an idea how terrible the war was.
Ronald Reagon, Henry Fonda and James Stewart had the chance to play Alvin York, but Alvin York wanted Gary Cooper to play the role.
If you have not seen this classic movie I would advice you to buy it on a two disc dvd and I hope you enjoy it.
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on 22 December 2014
5 stars a present for a good friend he bin waiting to watch this film for long time
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on 30 December 2014
Although hawkish in its politics, this is a well-made and well-played film.
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on 29 January 2016
Very pleased to receive this item would recommend site
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