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Robert Buckner
Born(1906-05-28)May 28, 1906
Crewe, Virginia, United States
DiedAugust 18, 1989 (aged 83)

Robert Buckner (May 28, 1906 – August 18, 1989) was an American film screenwriter, producer and short story writer.


Buckner studied at the University of Virginia and the University of Edinburgh. He began his professional writing career at age 20, as London correspondent for the New York World.

He wrote a play An Affair of the State;[1] the novels Sigrid and Sergeant (1959), Tiger By the Tail (1960) and Starfire (1960); and the short story "The Man Who Won the War" (1936).[2]


Bucker joined Warner Bros as a writer. His first credit was Gold Is Where You Find It (1938).[3] He did some uncredited work on Jezebel (1938) and wrote Love, Honor and Behave (1938), Comet Over Broadway (1939), The Oklahoma Kid (1939), and You Can't Get Away with Murder (1939).

Bucker had a big hit with Dodge City (1939) starring Errol Flynn, based on his original screenplay. He was credited on Angels Wash Their Faces (1939), and Espionage Agent (1939) was based on his story.[4]

Bucker wrote a follow up to Dodge City, Virginia City (1940) with Flynn, and worked on the script for My Love Came Back (1940).

Bucker received acclaim for a biopic, Knute Rockne All American (1940). He did a third Western for Flynn, Santa Fe Trail (1940) and was put on a war film for Flynn, Dive Bomber (1941).

Bucker had a huge success with his script for Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) a biopic of George M Cohan. This resulted in Bucker being promoted to producer at Warners.


Buckner's first film as producer was Gentleman Jim (1943) a biopic of Jim Corbett starring Flynn. He produced Mission to Moscow (1943) a biopic of Joseph E Davies and wrote and produced The Desert Song (1943).

Bucker made another movie with Flynn, Uncertain Glory (1944). He made God Is My Co-Pilot (1945), and wrote and produced Confidential Agent (1945) with Charles Boyer.

Buckner produced a popular Western with Flynn, San Antonio (1945). He did a biopic of the Brontë family, Devotion (1946), and did a crime drama, Nobody Lives Forever (1946).

Buckner produced a Western, Cheyenne (1947), and the prestigious stage hit Life with Father (1947).

In June 1947 Buckner left Warner Bros for Universal.[5]


Buckner's first film at Universal was Rogues' Regiment (1948), which he wrote and produced, from a story by Buckner and director Robert Florey.

He went on to wrote and produce Sword in the Desert (1948), based on an old story of Buckner's which he had turned into a novel called Night Watch.[6] It helped make a star of Jeff Chandler.[7]

He wrote and produced Free for All (1949), Deported (1950), shot in Italy with Chandler, and Bright Victory (1951).

Freelance writer

Buckner provided the story for When in Rome (1952) and The Man Behind the Gun (1953). He went to England to write To Paris with Love (1955), House of Secrets (1956) and two for Warwick Films, A Prize of Gold (1956) and Safari (1956).[8]

Buckner began writing for TV, adapting Twentieth Century and A Bell for Adano for Ford Star Jubilee.

20th Century Fox

Back in Hollywood Buckner wrote Love Me Tender (1956) at 20th Century Fox, a film best remembered as Elvis Presley's debut movie. In 1957 he wrote Sigrid and the Sergeant, his first prose in almost twenty years.[9] The following year he wrote and produced From Hell to Texas (1958) directed by Henry Hathaway at Fox.

Also for Fox Bucker created a TV series Hong Kong (1960–61) starring Rod Taylor. It only lasted a season, Bucker produced the pilot for a follow up, Dateline: San Francisco but it did not result in a regular series.[10]

At Disney he provided the story for Moon Pilot (1962).

Buckner went on to write episodes of The Rogues, Burke's Law, The Wackiest Ship in the Army, The Name of the Game and Bonanza. He also wrote the features Return of the Gunfighter (1967).

Later life

In his later life, Buckner lived in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. He was a fine artist and recognized leader in the art community there. He died and was buried in San Miguel in 1989.



  1. ^ "TALKIE TALKS". Glenelg Guardian. Vol. XVI, no. 864. South Australia. 11 December 1929. p. 3. Retrieved 27 November 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  2. ^ "The Man Who Won The War". The Daily News. Vol. LV, no. 19, 535 (CITY FINAL ed.). Western Australia. 2 November 1937. p. 9. Retrieved 27 November 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ "FILMS OF TO-DAY AND TO-MORROW". The Sun. No. 8857 (LATE FINAL EXTRA ed.). Sydney. 26 May 1938. p. 38. Retrieved 27 November 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ "ROYAL". The Newcastle Sun. No. 6834. New South Wales, Australia. 10 November 1939. p. 3. Retrieved 27 November 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ Brady, Thomas F. (14 Aug 1947). "BUCKNER TO MAKE A COMEDY FOR U-I: Former Producer at Warners Also Will Write the Scenario of 'Patent Applied For'". New York Times. p. 28.
  6. ^ 'Letter From Hollywood' By Frank Daugherty Special to The Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor [Boston, Mass] 29 Apr 1949: 5.
  7. ^ "Film Completed In Secrecy Shows Jews Killing Britons". Cobram Courier. Vol. 1, no. 253. Victoria, Australia. 1 July 1949. p. 1. Retrieved 27 November 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ "Alec Guinness in sophisticated comedy". Western Mail. Vol. 69, no. 3, 379. Western Australia. 5 August 1954. p. 16. Retrieved 27 November 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  9. ^ Smith, Cecil (3 Nov 1957). "Robert Buckner Hit by Novelist's Jitters: Robert Buckner Veteran Film Writer, Gets Novelist's Jitters". Los Angeles Times. p. F1.
  10. ^ "ROD TAYLOR STARS IN "HONG KONG"". The Biz. No. 2850. New South Wales, Australia. 18 January 1961. p. 3. Retrieved 27 November 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  11. ^ THOMAS F (6 July 1948). "U-I TO MAKE FILM OF 'NIGHT WATCH': Buckner's Novel on Palestine Purchased by the Studio -- Author Will Produce". BRADY Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times. New York, N.Y. p. 20.
  12. ^ KATHERINE VON BLON (12 Feb 1949). "'PORTRAIT OF A LADY' WELL DIRECTED, ACTED". Los Angeles Times. p. 7.
  13. ^ "SFE: Buckner, Robert".