Sunday Seconds with the Duke

Donovan’s Reef (1963)

Episode #6

Paramount Pictures released Donovan’s Reef to theaters on July 19, 1963. John Ford directs the film which stars John Wayne, Lee Marvin, and Elizabeth Allen.

Donovan’s Reef Movie Summary

Donovan’s Reef begins with Navy veteran, “Boats” Gilhooley, jumping ship as it passes his adopted home of Haleakaloha in the French Polynesian Islands during the Christmas season. The water logged Santa Claus is seeking to give a “gift” in the form of a roundhouse punch to his best friend from the Navy, Michael “Guns” Donovan. Guns also lives on the small island and is returning from a fishing trip where he is met by their mutual expatriate/friend, William “Doc” Dedham.

The three men had set up shop on the island after the war. Doc is the only physician on the island and takes care of the native’s medical needs while raising his three children that he fathered with the island’s former princess. The children’s mother died during childbirth years before and Doc has been raising them with the help of Guns and the other islanders.

Gilhooley arrives on the island on his birthday, which he also shares with Guns. The two men have a tradition going back over two decades where they have a knock-down, drag-out fight on that day to celebrate their birth. The fight is broken up by Doc who points out the ridiculousness of the fight, and asks what the two men have been fighting about over the decades, to which neither man has a clear answer.

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Paramount Pictures released Donovan's Reef to theaters on July 19, 1963. John Forddirects the film which stars John Wayne, Lee Marvin, and Elizabeth Allen.

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