Story of World War I hero who captured German position single-handedly. Film also portrays York's earlier life in the mountains of Tennessee.
Gary Cooper plays Alvin York, the real-life country lad and sharpshooter drafted to fight during World War I but blocked from killing by his pacifist sentiments. Howard Hawks makes a rousing, heroic film out of the tale, and Cooper gives one of his best performances (for which he won an Oscar). The 1941 feature seems as much a valentine to wartime America (and a not-so-subtle piece of propaganda) as anything, with Hawks capturing splendidly shot scenes of life in York's home state of Tennessee, which in turn provide a striking contrast to the battlefield. A key scene in the film, in which York is presented with an argument in favor of killing in war, is still thought provoking. --Tom Keogh
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