It follows several U.S. military nurses, including Lt. Janet "Davy" Davidson (Colbert), Lt. Joan ODoul (Goddard), and Lt. Olivia D'Arcy (Lake), as they survive or die alongside the soldiers they bravely try to ease out of pain or help to die as peacefully as possible.
The nurses begin their service by heading to Hawaii; that trip is circumvented by the surprise Japanese attack on that fateful day in December 1941. Soon afterward, the women are rerouted to the Philippines, where they witness the horrors of war in the Pacific Theatre.
Compare Cry 'Havoc', another 1943 film about American military nurses involved in the doomed defense of Bataan.
- Action Bomb: Oliva decides to help her trapped nurses by becoming this.
- Anyone Can Die: Various nurses who we've grown accustomed to seeing die tragically.
- Chromosome Casting: The majority of all the screen time goes to the women, but there are some men sprinkled around for romance.
- Crisis Point Hospital: The film takes place in the various military hospitals the women are assigned to.
- Deadpan Snarker: Joan, especially if Kansas is around to make fun of.
- Excited Show Title!: So Proudly We Hail!
- A Father to His Men: Davy is the one who keeps the morale of the women up. However, when she thinks John is dead, she has to leave him behind in the Phillipines, she's left almost catatonic.
- The Film of the Book: Adapted from the nonfiction book I Served on Bataan, written by real-life U.S. Army nurse Juanita Redmond.
- Flashback: The film is told in total flashback after the women have been rescued to Australia.
- Off-into-the-Distance Ending: The last shot of the film pans to the sky and the nurses reading out a letter from John, whose future is uncertain.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Kansas. Joan probably doesn't even know his real name.
- Thousand-Yard Stare: Davy, when she gets off the plane. It's because she doesn't know if John is dead or not.
- Titled After the Song: From "The Star-Spangled Banner", which plays over the opening credits.
- Tomboyish Name: Major Davy.