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Yanks (1979) - Plot Summary Poster

(1979)

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Summaries

  • During WWII, the United States set up army bases in Great Britain as part of the war effort. Against their proper sensibilities, many of the Brits don't much like the brash Yanks, especially when it comes to the G.I.s making advances on the lonely British girls, some whose boyfriends are also away for the war. One Yank/Brit relationship that develops is between married John, an Army Captain, and the aristocratic Helen, whose naval husband is away at war. Helen does whatever she needs to support the war effort. Helen loves her husband, but Helen and John are looking for some comfort during the difficult times. Another relationship develops between one of John's charges, Matt, a talented mess hall cook, and Jean. Jean is apprehensive at first about even seeing Matt, who is persistent in his pursuit of her. Jean is in a committed relationship with the kind Ken, her childhood sweetheart who is also away at war. But Jean is attracted to the respect with which Matt treats her. Despite Ken and Jean getting engaged during one of his leaves, Jean and Matt continue to see each other and fall in love. Beyond the issue of Jean's mother's disdain for Yanks and Ken and Jean's engagement, Matt and Jean still have to overcome the differences between the two worlds in which they live. Regardless, the goings-on of the war may override any of their immediate wishes.

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Synopsis

  • It is 1943 and streams of American soldiers are stationed in England awaiting orders for the D-Day Invasion, the end of World War II. Three soldiers and their involvement with three English women of different social classes metaphorically represent the larger relationship between England and America. The main story is about American Sgt. Matt Dyson (Richard Gere), and British girl Jean Moreton (Lisa Eichhorn). Dyson is a cook whose ambition is to return to America and establish a chain of Motels, whereas Jean seems satisfied to wait for her childhood boyfriend Ken (Derek Thompson) to return so they can start a family and a life together. The second romance concerns Officer John (William Devane) and his extramarital affair with Helen (Vanessa Redgrave), a socialite with an absent husband and troubled young son in boarding school. The third couple featured is about Sgt. Danny Ruffelo (Chick Vennera) and Mollie (Wendy Morgan) and their romance. The Americans experience a certain prejudice from the English and this reaches a climax at a New Year's dance where some of the White English women dance with some of the Black American Soldiers resulting in a brawl that leaves the couples at odds with each other. The American attitude voiced by Danny seems to be stick with your own kind, whereas the British attitude voiced by Jean is no one should be an outcast because of skin color. Eventually word comes that the war has ended and the Americans leave behind mixed memories of their stay.

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