The Long Gray Line (1955) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Long Gray Line1955

The Long Gray Line (1955)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Long Gray Line Photos

Movie Info

The life story of West Point athletic director Marty Maher was the inspiration for John Ford's The Long Gray Line. Told in flashback, the film recalls the first days at the Point for Irish immigrant Maher (Tyrone Power), a pugnacious boy who can't seem to fit in with the institution's regimen of unquestioning discipline. Athletic director Ward Bond takes a liking to Maher and arranges for the young man to become his assistant; Bond also plays Cupid between Maher and Irish maidservant Mary O'Donnell (Maureen O'Hara). When Mary's baby is stillborn, the Mahers begin to regard the West Point cadets as their surrogate children: this eventually leads to the film's most touching scene, in which Mary bids farewell to her son-substitute as he marches off to World War II. Following Mary's death, Marty stays on at the Point, until the place seems somehow incomplete without his presence. On the occasion of his forced retirement, Maher gently pleads with one of his former students--President Dwight D. Eisenhower--to permit him to remain at his post (Ike is played by Harry Carey Jr. in his early scenes, and by the voice of Paul Frees in the wraparound White House scenes). Based on Marty Maher's autobiography, The Long Gray Line seems at first glance too leisurely for its own good, but this appealing film gradually grows on its audience--just like Marty Maher himself.

Watch it now


Tyrone Power
as Martin Maher
Maureen O'Hara
as Mary O'Donnell
Robert Francis
as Red Sundstrom Jr.
Donald Crisp
as Old Martin
Ward Bond
as Capt. Herman J. Koehler
Betsy Palmer
as Kitty Carter
Philip Carey
as Charles Dotson
William Leslie
as Red Sundstrom
Harry Carey Jr.
as Dwight Eisenhower
Patrick Wayne
as Cherub Overton
Sean McClory
as Dinny Maher
Peter Graves
as Cpl. Rudolph Heinz
Milburn Stone
as Capt. John Pershing
Erin O'Brien-Moore
as Mrs. Koehler
Walter D. Ehlers
as Mike Shannon
Don Barclay
as McDonald
Martin Milner
as Jim O'Carberry
Chuck Courtney
as Whitney Larson
Philip Kieffer
as Superintendent
Don Murphy
as Army Captain
Donald Murphy
as Army Captain
Lisa Davis
as Eleanor
Dona Cole
as Peggy
Robert Roark
as Cadet Pirelli
Robert Ellis
as Cadet Short
Ken Curtis
as Specialty Bit
Jack Pennick
as Recruiting Sergeant
James Sears
as Knute Rockne
Tom Hennessy
as Peter Dotson
John Herbin
as Cadet Ramsey
Mickey Roth
as Cadet Curly Stern
Willis Bouchey
as Maj. Thomas
Elbert Steele
as The President
Mickey Simpson
as New York Policeman
View All

Critic Reviews for The Long Gray Line

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (2)

John Ford's 1955 bio-pic about the longtime officer Marty Maher is one of his grandest and heartiest films.

June 29, 2020 | Full Review…

Clearly not for every taste, but a work that vibrates with tenderness and emotion.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

The result is one of the most emotional films of its author. [Full Review in Spanish]

September 11, 2019 | Full Review…

Eloquently and simply directed by John Ford.

January 30, 2014 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Heartbreaking drama, with many unusual film making approaches.

August 8, 2008 | Full Review…

Atmospheric, unusual Tyrone Power vehicle--no less different for director John Ford.

April 27, 2007 | Rating: 4/5

Audience Reviews for The Long Gray Line

Earnest but somewhat schmaltzy drama of career West Point teacher, good cast even if the accents are laid on a little thick.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

The Long Gray Line Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features