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Dauntless: The Battle of Midway

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Dauntless: The Battle of Midway
Directed byMike Phillips
Produced byMike Phillips (as Michael Phillips Jr.)
Written byAdam Klein (screenplay)
Adam Klein, Mike Phillips (story)
StarringC. Thomas Howell
Judd Nelson
Jade Wiley
John Enick
Music byRyan Franks
Scott Nickoley
CinematographyJason Newfield
Edited byJason Newfield
Mike Phillips
Bayou Pictures
Gypsy Lane Films
Distributed byVMI Worldwide
Release date
  • September 6, 2019 (2019-09-06)
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited States

Amazon.com Logo.png Search Dauntless: The Battle of Midway on Amazon. Dauntless: The Battle of Midway (a.k.a. Dauntless as the working title) is a 2019 action film based on a true story dealing with the genres of war and aviation films. The title is taken from the Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber that was a key weapon at the Battle of Midway.[1] The film was written, directed and produced by Mike Phillips. The screenplay of Dauntless: The Battle of Midway was written by Adam Klein and based on an original story by Philips.

An SBD flies over Enterprise.


By June 1942, the Imperial Japanese Navy has met with spectacular success at the Pearl Harbor and has swept across the Pacific, conquering vast areas. In an effort to change the course of the war, a United States Navy carrier group is positioned off the coast of Midway, tasked with springing a trap on the enemy. The Battle of Midway turns out to be a pivotal turning point of the Pacific war.

During the battle, a two-man dive bomber crew consisting of Captain Norman Vandivier (Jade Willey) and Ensign Lee Keaney (John Enick) from the Enterprise are in the first wave of dive bombers attacking and sinking a Japanese carrier. In their attempt to escape, their aircraft is brought down by enemy fire from a surface ship. Forced to ditch, the crew look towards their comrades for rescue.

The "misfit" crew of a Consolidated PBY Catalina led by Captain Jim Browning (C. Thomas Howell are sent to search for survivors of the battle including the downed Dauntless crew. While the human drama on the ocean continues, Admiral R.A. Spruance Judd Nelson confers with his top officers in planning for the second day of the battle, knowing that his aircraft must again attack a superior foe.

At the conclusion of the battle, with the attacking force running low on fuel and attempting to find their carriers in the dark. Spruance orders all lights on the carrier Task Force 16 to be turned on, helping some of his aircraft to limp home.

Amid the vast Pacific with days passing and the chance of rescue fading, the two men in the ocean are forced to face their own mortality. At the end of the second day of the battle, Keaney finally succumbs to his injuries and Hypothermia; Vandivier reluctantly pushes his crewmate away but ultimately Vandivier also succumbs to exposure.

When the Catalina flying boat takes up station again, Browning and his crew locate other survivors. [Note 1]


  • Jade Willey as Captain Norman Francis Vandivier
  • John Enick as Ensign Lee Keaney
  • Judd Nelson as Admiral R.A. Spruance
  • C. Thomas Howell as Captain Jim Browning[
  • Byrne Offutt as Captain Murray
  • Paul Kennedy Jr. as Jackson (as Paul Kennedy Jr)
  • Chris Roark as Ensign Thomas Wesley Ramsay
  • Drew Garrett as Wade McClusky Jr
  • Jack Malykin as Gallaher
  • Miles Tagtmeyer as Allison
  • Daniel Mckinley Rhodes as Reynolds
  • Demetris Hartman as Ware
  • Nate Slaughter as Steward
  • Adam Peltier as Bennett
  • James Austin Kerr as Banks
  • Aidan Bristow as Pags
  • Christopher Lee Page as Nussbaum
  • Will Ropp as Mansfield
  • Louie Chapman as Smokey
  • Jerry Buteyn as BMC Bob Ruch
  • Mendel Fogelman as Doc


Although Dauntless: The Battle of Midway was written primarily by Mike Phillips with the help of Adam Klein who created the screenplay, Phillips had a personal interest in the story of Midway through a close connection with the family of Ensign Ramsay who fought in the battle.[2] [Note 2]

Authenticity was ensured by the use of original after action reports as the screenplay of Dauntless (working title) was developed. The reports were written by Lt. Richard Halsey Best, Lt. W. Earl Gallaher, Captain George Murray and Admiral Raymond A. Spruance. Both Lt. Richard Halsey Best and Lieutenant W. Earl Gallaher launched from USS Enterprise, commanding the SBD Dauntless dive bombers attacks. Captain George Dominic Murray was the commanding officer on the USS Enterprise while Admiral Raymond A. Spruance commanded Task Force 16 at the Battle of Midway, comprising the carriers Enterprise and Hornet.[3]

A brief contemporary account of the Attack on Pearl Harbor was shown in its original black-and-white newsreel-like footage but the remainder of the film was in color. Due to budget restrictions, heavy reliance on CGI was used for all flight sequences. An effort to accurately depict colors, markings and military hardware was seen.


Dauntless: The Battle of Midway did not see wide theatrical release being distributed through home media and streaming services.



  1. The true-life Captain Norman Vandivier and Ensign Lee Keaney were lost in the Battle of Midway.
  2. The rescue of Ensign Ramsay after his ditching during the Battle of Midway is depicted.


  1. Swanborough and Peter Bowers 1968, p. 87.
  2. "Thomas Wesley Ramsay." findagrave.com. Retrieved: July 20, 2021.
  3. Tillman 1998, p. 85.


  • Swanborough Gordon and Peter M. Bowers. United States Navy Aircraft since 1911. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1968. ISBN 978-0-37000-099-2 Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png..
  • Tillman, Barrett. The Dauntless Dive Bomber of World War II. Annapolis, Maryland, USA: Naval Institute Press, 1976 (softcover 2006). ISBN 0-87021-569-8 Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png..
  • Tillman, Barrett. SBD Dauntless Units of World War 2. Botley, Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 1998. ISBN 1-85532-732-5 Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png..
  • Tillman, Barrett and Robert L. Lawson. U.S. Navy Dive and Torpedo Bombers of World War II. St. Paul, Minnesota, USA: Motor Books Publishing, 2001. ISBN 0-7603-0959-0 Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png..

External links[edit]

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