Why GREYHOUND Is a Strong, Inspiring, Christian, Moral, Patriotic Movie
By Movieguide® Staff
GREYHOUND is nominated for multiple Movieguide® Awards. Tune into Movieguide®’s Movies That Inspire on Easter Sunday to see who wins! The following is a portion of our review for GREYHOUND. For the full review, click here.
GREYHOUND is a war movie starring Tom Hanks as the first-time captain of an American Destroyer protecting a convoy of merchant ships and troop ships heading for England in February 1942 during World War II. GREYHOUND is a satisfying, suspenseful war drama, and Hanks portrays a Christian hero who prays throughout the movie, but there’s some brief foul language and action violence involving sea battles with submarines.
With recordings of Winston Churchill and President Roosevelt on the soundtrack, the movie informs viewers that after America’s entrance into the war, American and British battleship destroyers regularly escorted merchant ships full of troops, supplies, ammunition, war material, and fuel across the Atlantic Ocean from America to Great Britain. However, during the trip, there was a lengthy period where the air cover for these convoys was out of range. So, the convoys had to fend off by themselves packs of German submarines called wolf packs. The area where this occurred was called the “Black Pit.”
Cut to Captain Krause of the American destroyer Greyhound, the lead destroyer of four destroyers, escorting one such convoy in February 1942. It’s the captain’s first command. Captain Krause is a man of faith. After saying his morning prayer, he recalls the last time he saw the woman he loves in San Francisco. He wants to marry her, but she insists they wait until after the war. After exchanging Christmas presents, Krause tells her he will be training in the Caribbean for a month before leading his first convoy. He assures her he will be thinking of her constantly.
Back at the convoy, the time comes when the convoy’s air support has to return to base because the convoy is going out of range. The convoy won’t have any more air cover for 50 hours, when air support from England will greet them.
Sure enough, almost as soon as the air cover is gone, Greyhound discovers it’s being shadowed by a German sub. Tense moments ensue as the sub closes in for an attack, but Captain Krause and his men are able to destroy the sub, although all that is left is the oil slick that results from the sub being destroyed.
No sooner have they destroyed the German sub that the Greyhound gets a distress call from the other three destroyers that six more German subs have been detected. The Greyhound resumes battle stations and joins the other three destroyers trying to keep track of the enemy subs. The German subs repeatedly go on the attack. They manage to destroy several merchant ships and cripple one of the destroyers. The tension increases exponentially as the remaining destroyers, including the Greyhound, deplete most of their depth charges.
Based on a 1955 novel, GREYHOUND is a satisfying, suspenseful, inspiring war movie. It puts viewers in the middle of a Naval captain’s efforts to lead his crew and protect other ships from dangerous enemy submarines. As such, it depicts the claustrophobic nature of making split-second command decisions affecting hundreds of lives. Most of the times, those decisions are successful, but sometimes they’re not. Tom Hanks portrays this taciturn but commanding character as compassionate but focused on his job. There are cracks in the good captain, however, especially when he realizes he’s made a bad decision that puts more lives at stake.
The American captain prays throughout the movie, even when he has a chance to grab only a sandwich during the intense 72 hours in which the movie takes place. In one scene, the captain also reads the Protestant prayer for burials at sea, which refers to the second coming of Jesus Christ and talks about the “general Resurrection of the last day,” when “the sea shall give up her dead, and the corruptible bodies of those who sleep in Him shall be changed and made like unto His glorious body; according to the mighty working whereby He is able to subdue all things unto Himself.” Finally, several times during the movie, messages between the destroyers tell the others “Godspeed.” As a result, GREYHOUND has a strong, inspiring Christian, moral, patriotic worldview.
MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older pre-adolescent children because of some brief foul language and intense, suspenseful sea battles. The action includes multiple explosions, submarine attacks involving torpedoes, depth charges and naval artillery being fired at enemy submarines, loss of life, and many close calls. In one scene, a large merchant ship suddenly appears and almost crashes into the Greyhound destroyer.