Yanks (1978): WWII Romance, Starring Richard Gere and Vanessa Redgrave

Oscar winner John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy) directed Yanks, a romantic melodrama, based on the story by Colin Welland.

Set in England at the end of WWII, the story concerns three American GIs and their affairs with British women who belong to different social classes.

One affair concerns Sgt. Matt Dyson (Richard Gere) and Jean Moreton (Lisa Eichhorn, making her film debut), who is the daughter of shopkeepers (Rachel Roberts and Tony Melody). Matt is immediately smitten by her, but she is still infatuated with her boyfriend Ken (Derek Thompson).

Officer John (William Devane) has a brief extramarital affair with the socialite Helen (Vanessa Redgrave, as usual in top form).

The third pair involves Sgt. Danny Ruffelo (Chick Vennera) in a fling with Mollie (Wendy Morgan).

The Americans and the Brits have to surmount problems of status disparity and racism, brought to the for a New Year’s Eve dance.

Annie Ross from the vocal jazz group Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross appears briefly as a Red Cross nurse.

Yanks won two BAFTA awards in 1980: to Shirley Russell for Best Costume Design and to Rachel Roberts for Best Supporting Actress.


Running time: 129 minutes.

Directed by John Schlesinger

Theatrical release: September 19, 1979.

DVD: March 1, 2005

Universal Pictures