How well do you remember "South Pacific?"

Susan McDonald

Image: tmdb

About This Quiz

The music! The scenery! The weird colored camera filters! The film version of Rodgers & Hammerstein's "South Pacific" tells the story of true love's triumph over outdated prejudices amid the dangers of war, and the songs are timeless. Test your knowledge of the movie now!

What branch of the military does Joe Cable belong to?

Although he is being assigned to a Naval base, Joe is a Marine. That's why Captain Brackett, upon meeting Joe for the first time, asks why he has been assigned there.

What is Mary's nickname among the sailors?

Mary is a beloved character at the base, bringing local culture and native trinkets for sale. The guys call her Bloody Mary and even sing a song to her by that title.

How does the pilot prove to Joe that the Japanese control most of the islands they are flying over?

As they are approaching the naval base, Joe seems skeptical about the number of islands controlled by the Japanese, but he gets the picture when they come under fire as the plane descends. Maybe this is how pilot Buzz Adams earned his nickname.

Why can't most of the guys at the base go to Bali Hai?

Luther Billis is most anxious to get to the mysterious island of Bali Hai, but one thing stands in his way. Only officers are allowed to sign out boats and he is an enlisted man. When Joe arrives, he sees an opportunity.

Why do so many of the sailors want to go to Bali Hai?

Not only is the island filled with native women, but most of the local planters sent their daughters to Bali Hai when the U.S. military is in the area. Luther wants to experience the local culture he has heard about, but like most of the guys, he is mostly interested in the women.

What does Bali Hai mean?

Mary tells Joe that Bali Hai means "your special island," adding that she is certain it is special for him, in particular.

What is Nellie Forbush's job?

Ensign Nellie Forbush is a nurse assigned to the naval base hospital. She helps care for the guys on the base when they are sick or injured.

Why do Nellie's friends call her Knucklehead Nellie?

Nellie tells Emile that even though they are in a dangerous area and in the middle of a war, she refuses to be gloomy and pessimistic. The song Cockeyed Optimist expands on her feelings.

What is Nellie's hometown?

Nellie is from Little Rock, Arkansas, a far different world from the South Pacific island where she is now stationed. She became a nurse and joined the Navy to see more of the world and meet people who are different from those in the small-town life she has known.

How long have Emile and Nellie known each other when he proposes marriage?

Nellie and Emile have only been seeing each other for two weeks when he asks her to marry him. Although both agree that it is a short time, they feel they know what is in their hearts.

Why did Emile leave France?

Emile confesses to Nellie that he was forced to leave France because he killed a man in his hometown. When he explains the circumstances, she says the information doesn't bother her because she knows he is a good man.

Where did Nellie and Emile meet?

Emile and Nellie met at a function at the base Officer's Club. They were attracted to each other immediately and began seeing each other.

What is a "coast watch" operation?

Joe and Emile are asked to undertake a dangerous "coast watch" mission to further the war effort. The job is to hide in the mountains on a nearby island where they can see the area below and report on the movement of enemy ships.

Why does Emile refuse to help with the secret operation?

Emile is not unsympathetic to the Navy's cause, but he has just found happiness with Nellie. He does not want to take a chance on losing the future they are planning.

When he arrives on Bali Hai, why does Mary take Joe to her house?

From the moment she meets Joe, Mary is determined that he should marry her daughter, Liat. Her instincts are good, because they fall in love immediately.

Where does Liat take Joe?

Liat takes Joe to a secluded lagoon where they enjoy swimming together. Her mother comes along and sings the classic song "Happy Talk."

Why does Captain Brackett call Nellie into his office?

There are lots of rumors about the mysterious planter, and the captain wants to know more about him before asking him to join a spy mission. Who better to ask than Nellie, since it is known that the two have been dating.

Who sings the song "Some Enchanted Evening?"

"Some Enchanted Evening" is perhaps the most famous song in South Pacific. Emile sings this romantic ballad to Nellie when they share an evening together at his plantation as he tells her he wants a future with her.

How does Mary try to entice Joe to marry Liat?

Mary tells Joe that since the war started, she has made lots of money by selling her trinkets to the guys on the base. She promises to continue working and earning money so Joe and Liat can spend all their time enjoying themselves.

What kind of show does Nellie put on?

Part of Nellie's role on the base is helping plan and implement entertainment for the troops. Although she is distraught over the state of her relationship with Emile, she goes ahead with the base's Thanksgiving show, much to the delight of her audience.

When Nellie decides to break up with Emile, what metaphor does she use to describe how she plans to forget about him?

In one of the film's most memorable songs, Nellie vows to "wash that man right out of my hair and send him on his way." Some of her fellow nurses join her and encourage her decision.

What is the rumor about all the planters on the island?

The planters on the island have come from other parts of the world and it is rumored that they are running from something. In Emile's case, at least, this proves to be true.

Why does Emile throw a party?

Emile hopes to accomplish two things with his gathering. He wants Nellie and his friends to meet each other, but his larger goal is to let her see what her life would be like if she marries him and stays with him on the island.

What does Emile hate most?

When Emile explains to Nellie the reason he left France, he tells her the man he killed was a bully and the people in his town were glad Emile killed him. He brings up the topic again in a conversation with Captain Brackett, saying there is nothing worse than a bully.

What does Nellie say is the biggest difference between her mother and herself?

After reading a letter from home, Nellie tells Joe that her mother doesn't understand or like anyone who is different. This frustrates her, because Nellie has come halfway around the world hoping to meet people unlike those she grew up with.

Who plays "Honey Bun" in Nellie's show?

The highlight of the show is the musical number "Honey Bun." While Nellie sings the song, Luther parades around the stage in a wig, grass skirt and coconut bra.

Why does Nellie change her mind about marrying Emile?

Nellie is not bothered by the fact that Emile has two very young children, or that he was married before. Because of the way she was raised, she is upset that his late wife was not white, but rather a native of the island, and she decides that she cannot overcome that.

On what island is the covert outpost located?

Marie Louise Island is chosen because it overlooks the "bottleneck," or a channel through which Japanese naval vessels often pass. Because he used to have a plantation on the island and knows it well, Emile is asked to join Joe in the mission.

Why does Emile change his mind about taking part in the spy mission?

Since his initial reason for refusing the mission no longer exists, Emile agrees to participate. This means the mission, which was about to be scrapped, can go forward.

How does Nellie learn that Emile has joined a spy mission?

Since Nellie has broken off contact with Emile, she does not know he has embarked on a dangerous mission for the Navy. When she hears talk among patients about "the Frenchman" and the valuable information he is sending, she asks Captain Brackett if they are talking about Emile and he confirms it.

What do Joe and Nellie have in common?

Although they realize it is wrong, both Nellie and Joe learn that they hold deep-seated prejudices that they did not realize existed. Although Joe loves Liat, he cannot bring himself to marry her because she is Polynesian, and Nellie has the same feelings about Emile having been married to a Polynesian woman.

How does Luther become involved in the spy mission?

Luther's presence on the plane becomes known when the Japanese blow a hole in the section where he is hiding. He falls out of the hole, but parachutes safely to the water and creates a diversion that ends up helping the plane land safely.

How does Joe die?

After providing a great deal of information on enemy movement, Joe and Emile must move quickly because the Japanese are zeroing in on their location. Later Emile transmits a sad message to the base, letting them know that Joe did not survive.

What is Joe and Liat's love song?

"Younger Than Springtime" is the song Joe sings to Liat when he first meets her on Bali Hai. The song comes up several more times during the film to denote the love they feel for one another.

What do Emile's children refuse to do until Nellie sings?

Not knowing whether he is dead or alive, and realizing that her love for Emile outweighs her prejudices, Nellie goes to his home and cares for his children while he is away. She serves them lunch, but they refuse to eat until she sings the French song their father sings with them.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes