Hellfighters is one of John Wayne’s non-Western films and probably one of the best in that outfit. Directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, it features drama, thrills, fire, danger, and explosions. The perfect mix!
Chance Buckman (John Wayne) owns an oil-fire fighting organization based in Houston. He’s been divorced for 20 years and though he and his wife love one another, his wife cannot bare his risky and dangerous business. His daughter, Tish (Katharine Ross), finds him after he gets injured while putting out a fire and she wants to get to know him. She quickly falls in love with Greg (Jim Hutton), his assistant.
This reunites Chance with is wife Madelyn (Vera Miles) and she is once again pulled into his firefighting world. He chooses to leave his business behind for his wife and take a corporate job, though he longs to be back into the game.
When a fire at a Venezuela mine puts his daughter and son-in-law in harms way, he must take the chance to return to his duty as one of the best oil-fire fighters in the world.
There is a theory that John Wayne does not really act, he just plays himself. While I see that in a lot of films, in this one I saw him play a different character. Vera Miles, who has also appeared in The Searchers and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, does an amazing job as his conflicted wife who loved her husband, but cannot stand to see him be put in danger time and again.
FAVORITE QUOTE: I think we oughta get her a tin hat.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Violence, Language, Mild thematic elements
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