Left: Donna Reed and Frank Sinatra with their Best Supporting Actress® and Actor® awards
Right: Montgomery Clift and Donna Reed as Prewitt and Burke

From Here to Eternity

When Columbia Pictures secured the rights to From Here To Eternity by acclaimed author, James Jones, it is widely reported that the studio head, Harry Cohn, had Donna Reed in mind for the role of "Lorene." Fred Zimmerman, the picture's director, challenged the recommendation, but in the end, conceded the point after several successful screen tests and other concessions from Cohn.

The wartime epic is situated around Schofield Army Barracks at Pearl Harbor in the months surrounding the Japanese attack of December 7, 1941. Jones weaves a complicated tapestry of human foibles through the desperate lives of his characters. The protagonist is Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt, a boxer with a past that haunts him to steadfastly refuse to fight for his new company assignment. His friend is a scrappy, street-smart Italian named Angelo Maggio. Together the two privates endure the pressures of greed and deceit around them while finding distraction at the dance hall, the New Congress Club. It is there that Prewitt meets "Lorene," a hostess with an eye to the future. In parallel, a relationship is growing between Prewitt's sergeant, Milton Warden, and his captain's wife, Karen Holmes. The two embark on a torrid affair, punctuated by the now classic embrace of two lovers as the surf washes over them. As the war opens with the Japanese sneak attack, the destinies converge of all five principal characters in a tangled tragedy that underscores some of the futility of war.

After its release, the film tied the standing record for most Academy Award® nominations up to that point (* = award winner):

  • Best Picture - Buddy Adler (*)
  • Best Director - Fred Zinnemann (*)
  • Best Actor - Montgomery Clift, Burt Lancaster
  • Best Actress - Deborah Kerr
  • Best Supporting Actor - Frank Sinatra (*)
  • Best Supporting Actress - Donna Reed (*)
  • Best Cinematography (B&W) - Burnett Guffey (*)
  • Best Writing, Screenplay - Daniel Taradash (*)
  • Best Sound Recording - John P. Livadary (*)
  • Best Film Editing - William Lyon (*)
  • Best Musical Score of a Dramatic Picture - Morris Stoloff, George Duning
  • Costume Design (B&W) - Jean Louis

From Here to Eternity is also included in the American Film Institute's (AFI) 100 Greatest Films in 100 Years List.


  • Sgt. Milton Warden - Burt Lancaster
  • Robert E. Lee Prewitt - Montgomery Clift
  • Karen Holmes - Deborah Kerr
  • Angelo Maggio - Frank Sinatra
  • Alma "Lorene" Burke - Donna Reed
  • Sgt. Judson - Ernest Borgnine
  • Cpt. Dana Holmes - Philip Ober
  • Sgt. Leva - Mickey Shaughnessy
  • Mazzioli - Harry Bellaver
  • Cpl. Buckley - Jack Warden
  • Sgt. Ike Galovitch - John Dennis

Donna Reed Foundation - 1305 Broadway - Denison, Iowa - 51442 - USA - 712.263.3334 - 712.263.8026 (fax)

All Materials Copyright Donna Reed Foundation © 1998 - 2021 - Website questions contact Webmaster - About This Site
Oscar® and Academy Awards® are copyrighted © registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences®

Promoting excellence in education and community since 1986.
The Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (EID: 42-1285098).

Today is 26 January 2021.