MacArthur (1977) starring Gregory Peck, Ivan Bonar, Ward Costello, Nicolas Coster directed by Joseph Sargent Movie Review

MacArthur (1977)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Gregory Peck in MacArthur (1977)

5 Star Peck

First things first and "MacArthur" covers the life and career of General Douglas MacArthur from 1942 where he reluctantly heads to Australia on the orders of the then President. It closes with him being removed from his command in the Korean War by President Truman. This is book ended by scenes of MacArthur giving a speech at WestPoint.

Now regular visitors to The Movie Scene will know what comes next as when it comes to historical movies about famous people involved in the war I tend to have little idea. This is because of the British education system of the 80s which when it came to history it taught all that stuff from centuries ago rather than the war. As such whilst I know the name Douglas MacArthur most of what I have learned about him, which isn't much, came from watching movies. And because of this whilst it should be obvious I had better state I do not know how accurate this movie is or how authentic Gregory Peck's performance is.

But my lack of knowledge or connection to the story puts me in a position to judge "MacArthur" as a piece of entertainment which is also informative and as such it is simply good but not great. Now I expected that as I am sure that "MacArthur" works best for those who have some knowledge ahead of time and can relate what they see in the movie to what they know. But it works well enough to educate someone with a lack of knowledge like me but done in a reasonably entertaining way rather than in an overly heavy and dry way.

What though did impress me was the performance of Gregory Peck as he instils his characterisation with various levels. We see things such as MacArthur being a man of the people, a soldier first who believed in honour and leading the line. We also see how those in power didn't like his attitude and mocked him. But at times you also get a sense that he not only felt a duty to his county but also to his family name to do his best and be a man of his word. There are other aspects and it makes Peck's MacArthur this man of layers which makes him real.

What this all boils down to is that "MacArthur" is a good movie even for those like me who have little historical knowledge. But whilst it is a good movie you get a sense that it could have been great, more powerful than it ended up.