Based on James Jones’ 1951 novel of the same name, From Here to Eternity follows Army Private and bugler extraordinaire Robert Prewitt (Montgomery Clift), who has transferred to Hawaii's Schofield Barracks, some time in 1941. His transfer was in for a personal matter, which he reveals to his Sergeant, Warden (Burt Lancaster), and his Captain, Holmes (Philip Ober), to be the result of a bruised ego when an inferior bugler was promoted above him at his last posting. But his bugling skill is of no concern to either Warden or Holmes. Instead, it's his boxing skill that has Prewitt on their radar screens. Prewitt's commanding officers attempt to persuade him to join the regimental boxing team and immediately become the top middleweight on the island. More, he's promised fast promotion within the Army's ranks in exchange for lacing up the gloves. Prewitt refuses, steadfastly. He has his own reasons, but his refusal his met with not only disappointment, but anger and a longing for revenge. Warden and Holmes proceed to make Prewitt's life a living hell, tasking him with extra duty, added physical fitness routines, and general verbal bullying. Meanwhile, Warden carries on a secret affair with Holmes' wife, Karen (Deborah Kerr).
A fictional tale loosely based on James Jones' experiences in pre-World War II Hawaii, was once deemed impossible to film, not because of any sort of technically unachievable scope required to translate it to the screen, but rather for its frankness, heavy adult themes, language, and incorporation of subjects that were deemed too controversial to be included into a 1950s film. And that's even considering that it was a toned-down version of Jones' book that was first released in 1951, not the story Jones had originally penned. Nevertheless, the film was green-lit at Columbia, attracted an all-star cast, and was released to commercial and critical success on August 5th, 1953. On March 25th, 1954, From Here to Eternity won 8 Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director (Fred Zinnemann), Best Supporting Actor (Frank Sinatra), Best Supporting Actress (Donna Reed), Best Story and Screenplay (Daniel Taradash), Best Cinematography-Black & White, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Recording.