From Here to Eternity (1953)

9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 10/10

Classic movie...classic beach kiss

Older style of acting

Movie Info

Movie Name:  From Here to Eternity

Studio:  Columbia Pictures

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  August 5, 1953

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


I have sand…in everything!

Robert E. Lee Prewitt (Montgomery Clift) is transferred to Schofield Barracks on Oahu in Hawaii. When he arrives he finds himself immediately in battle with the other soldiers when he refuses to fight as a boxer. As Prewitt struggles to fit in, he finds aid from another outcast in Private Angelo Maggio (Frank Sinatra) and a new love in a call girl named Alma “Lorene” Burke (Donna Reed). First Sergeant Milton Warden (Burt Lancaster) is also playing a dangerous game when he begins to see Karen (Deborah Kerr) who is the wife of his commanding officer Captain Dana Holmes (Philip Ober). Both Prewitt and Warden’s problems might be moot when Pearl Harbor comes under attack from the Japanese.


I’m a singer damn it!!!

Directed by Fred Zinnemann, From Here to Eternity is a classic. It adapts the 1951 novel by James Jones and was the winner of Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (Frank Sinatra), Best Supporting Actress (Donna Reed), Best Cinematography (Black & White), Best Film Editing, and Best Sound. It was also nominated for Best Actor (Montgomery Clift), Best Actor (Burt Lancaster), Best Actress (Deborah Kerr), Best Costume Design, and Best Score.

From Here to Eternity is a rather strange film for the time in that it isn’t much of a plot driven story.  The characters frustrations and challenges build through the film until the Japanese attack in almost a deus ex machina effect that forces the characters to take a stand. The attack is almost a solution to all the problems of the characters, and seems almost incidental to the real story which is pretty anti-military.


Stupid attack is getting in the way of our complex love lives.

Many had argued that the film could never be made due to the density of the novel.  The novel was a lot racier and James Jones allegedly wasn’t entirely happy with this version due to a softening.  Examples are that Sinatra’s character was a hustler and there was a look at gay Hawaii, and the famous beach kiss had to just be a kiss…no sex (though it is pretty obvious where that kiss is going).

Clift is great as the bull-headed Prewitt whose past has made him almost immobile. If someone says jump, he sits, but he does have strong morals and loyalty when he sets out to avenge Maggio against the bully Staff Sergeant James R. “Fatso” Judson (Ernest Borgnine). The flipside of Clift’s character is Lancaster’s more by-the-book approach to the military but his decision to completely break ranks and date the promiscuous and lonely Deborah Kerr.  Both she and Donna Reed were kind of playing against their normal roles.  Another big winner was Frank Sinatra whose casting led to the rumors that the mafia helped get the part (and the infamous scene in The Godfather).

From Here to Eternity is a classic and should be seen.  The movie still looks great today (they chose to shoot it in black-and-white to make it harder), and the acting is still strong though kind of an older style.  You need to see From Here to Eternity if for nothing else the kiss in the ocean…bet they were picking sand out of every nook & cranny for months!

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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