From Here to Eternity

Released: 1953
Grade: B

From Here to Eternity (1953) on IMDb


Several months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, an Army private is transferred to a base in Hawaii. In his previous assignments, he had been a middle-weight boxer and a bugler. He no longer wants to be a boxer nor a bugler, much to the dismay of the commanding officer. He causes all kinds of problems for the new soldier.


This is a very good movie, and one that I definitely recommend. This is filled with a lot of great acting performances, and the directing is nearly flawless. The outstanding performances of Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra and Donna Reed are more than enough reason alone to see this movie.

Though it’s about the US Army, this is a very emotional film, and Clift’s performance is the key to making this film work at all. I really can’t think of too many actors who could have done as well as Clift did. Toward the end of the movie, this film becomes Clift’s when he finally plays Taps on his bugle. Then later, Donna Reed takes over and she carries it the rest of the way to the very end.

I’d rate it higher except that I wasn’t at all impressed with Burt Lancaster. I’m not sure why he received an Oscar nomination for his performance. In all honesty, I don’t think he plays his role very well at all. It’s too obvious to me that he has memorized his lines. He would have better performances in other films, but this isn’t one of his best.

Of Note

An interesting bit of trivia – when Donna Reed saw the completed film, she didn’t think there were enough closeup shots of her character in the movie. She brought up her concerns to William Lyon, the film’s editor, and he agreed. He actually convinced Fred Zinnemann to re-shoot some of the scenes.