Battle Hymn

Battle Hymn is a 1957 American war film directed by Douglas Sirk and starring Rock Hudson as Colonel Dean E. Hess, a real-life United States Air Force fighter pilot in the Korean War who helped evacuate several hundred war orphans to safety. The cast also includes Anna Kashfi, Dan Duryea, Don DeFore, Philip Ahn, and Martha Hyer. The film was produced by Ross Hunter and filmed in CinemaScope.


In the summer of 1950, one month after the invasion of South Korea, Dean Hess has been a small town minister in Ohio for two years. He has been suffering a crisis of conscience, however. He realizes he cannot continue as a priest, due to the overwhelming guilt he still feels from accidentally dropping a bomb on an orphanage and killing 37 children, when he was a fighter pilot in Germany during World War II. Hess volunteers to return to the cockpit, leaving his wife behind in Ohio. He promises her he won't see combat, he will be the senior USAF advisor/Instructor Pilot to the Republic of Korea Air Force, only serving as a teacher and flying F-51D Mustangs.