IMDb > The Flying Irishman (1939)
The Flying Irishman
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The Flying Irishman (1939) More at IMDbPro »


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4.9/10   119 votes »
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Up 50% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Ernest Pagano (screen play) and
Dalton Trumbo (screen play)
View company contact information for The Flying Irishman on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
7 April 1939 (USA) See more »
Did he really make the world's most spectacular mistake? See more »
This is the story of the historic 1938 flight of Douglas 'Wrong Way' Corrigan. Mr. Corrigan starred in this film... See more » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Which way did he go, George? See more (3 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Douglas Corrigan ... Douglas 'Wrong Way' Corrigan

Paul Kelly ... Butch Brannan

Robert Armstrong ... Joe Alden
Gene Reynolds ... Clyde 'Douglas' Corrigan

Donald MacBride ... Mr. Roy Thompson

Eddie Quillan ... Henry Corrigan

J.M. Kerrigan ... Mr. Clyde Corrigan Sr.

Knox Manning ... Commentator
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Dorothy Appleby ... Maybelle - a Waitress (uncredited)

Don Barclay ... Bettor (uncredited)

Scotty Beckett ... Henry Corrigan - 7 Years Old (uncredited)

Leon Belasco ... Russian Commentator (uncredited)
Becky Bohanon ... Edith - as a Little Girl (uncredited)

George Chandler ... New York Airport Gas Attendant (uncredited)

Spencer Charters ... Mr. Smedley (uncredited)

Frank Coghlan Jr. ... Teenager Taking Photograph (uncredited)

Joyce Compton ... Sally - a Waitress (uncredited)
Joe Cunningham ... Second Man Grounding Doug in New York (uncredited)

Frank Faylen ... New York Mechanic (uncredited)

Edward Gargan ... Jim 'J.R.' Robinson (uncredited)
Roy Gordon ... Doctor Brown (uncredited)

Ralph Graves ... First Man Grounding Doug in New York (uncredited)

Kenneth Harlan ... Man at New York Airport (uncredited)

Louis Jean Heydt ... Man Betting Doug Won't Get Off the Ground (uncredited)
Olaf Hytten ... Irish Airport Radio Operator (uncredited)

Lloyd Ingraham ... Doctor Attending Mrs. Corrigan (uncredited)
Charles Irwin ... Office at Ireland Airport (uncredited)

Marcia Mae Jones ... Teenager Posing For Photograph (uncredited)
Tiny Jones ... Flower Peddlar (uncredited)

Milton Kibbee ... New York Airport Manager (uncredited)
Ann Kunde ... Airplane Passenger (uncredited)

Dorothy Lovett ... Telephone Operator (uncredited)

George Magrill ... New York Airport Workman (uncredited)
Philip Morris ... Mechanic (uncredited)

Horace Murphy ... Drunk at New York Airport (uncredited)
Perry Noisom ... Messenger (uncredited)

Dorothy Peterson ... Mrs. Edith Corrigan - Doug's Mother (uncredited)
Lee Phelps ... Mechanic Hiring Doug (uncredited)
Jack Rice ... Airplane Owner Selling It to Corrigan (uncredited)

Peggy Ryan ... Miss Edith Corrigan - Doug's Sister (uncredited)

Grady Sutton ... Clothing Salesman (uncredited)

Minor Watson ... Airline Personnel Manager (uncredited)
Billy Wayne ... Photographer (uncredited)
Gayne Whitman ... New York City Announcer (uncredited)
Charles Williams ... Repo Man (uncredited)

Cora Witherspoon ... Mrs. Mamie 'Make' Thompson (uncredited)

Directed by
Leigh Jason 
Writing credits
Ernest Pagano (screen play) and
Dalton Trumbo (screen play)

Original Music by
Roy Webb 
Cinematography by
J. Roy Hunt (photographed by)
Film Editing by
Arthur Roberts  (as Arthur E. Roberts)
Art Direction by
Van Nest Polglase 
Production Management
Pandro S. Berman .... in charge of production
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Edward Killy .... assistant director
Art Department
Carroll Clark .... associate art director
Sound Department
John E. Tribby .... recordist
Special Effects by
Vernon L. Walker .... special effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Howard Tatt .... pilot: camera airplane (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Renié .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Douglas Travers .... montage
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
71 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Victor System)
Australia:G | UK:U | USA:Approved (PCA #4894) | USA:TV-G (TV rating)

Did You Know?

RKO paid Douglas Corrigan more than $100,000 for rights to his biography.See more »
Movie Connections:
La MarseillaiseSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
28 out of 34 people found the following review useful.
Which way did he go, George?, 8 May 2004
Author: F Gwynplaine MacIntyre from Minffordd, North Wales

Douglas Corrigan was an early example of the '15 minutes of fame' phenomenon. A working-class Texan from a family with strong Irish-American roots, Corrigan bought a junked aeroplane and fixed it to his own satisfaction - some parts literally held on with baling wire - and in 1938 he flew cross-country from California to New York, intending to do a Lindy and fly solo across the Atlantic to Ireland. In New York, flight officials refused to certify Corrigan's airborne jalopy as airworthy for the transatlantic flight, and he was ordered to turn round and fly back home. (The certification standards were laxer for an overland flight, for reasons which I assume are obvious.) Corrigan agreed to fly west from New York, and was cleared for take-off. Straight away he was in the air, Corrigan volte-faced as his 'plane did an about-turn and flew east. Several thousand miles later, when he landed, he affected to be greatly surprised that he was in Ireland rather than California ... claiming that he had flown above cloud cover for the entire trip, and hadn't realised he was flying over ocean instead of land! He also claimed that his instruments were defective (I believe *that* part), so he'd thought he was flying west instead of east! Corrigan was promptly nicknamed 'Wrong Way' Corrigan by an affectionate public who knew damned well he was lying, but who admired his brass-bottle gumption. To this day, one continues to encounter the nickname 'Wrong Way Corrigan' hung on anyone who proceeds in the wrong direction.

'The Flying Irishman' is a quickie film, cashing in on Corrigan's exploit and starring himself in the lead role. A sizeable number of the supporting roles in this film are played by veteran character actors, which in this case is a disadvantage: we're supposed to see this film as a factual enactment of real events, but the presence of familiar faces Robert Armstrong, Paul Kelly, Donald MacBride, Charles Lane, Frank Faylen, &c, constantly remind us that we're watching a movie. Corrigan is no actor, so his interaction with these old pros is jarring. He does nicely enough in a brief scene with blonde Joyce Compton as a blowsy waitress.

The film attempts to tell Corrigan's entire life story up to his wrong-way flight, depicting his early days and his relationship with his brother Henry. None of this material is very interesting, especially as it appears to be the usual Hollywood bio-pic confabulation. We're really here to see Corrigan's flight and what happened afterwards. Since I already knew Corrigan's story before I saw this film, there were no surprises for me here. When this movie was made, in 1939, practically everyone in America knew Corrigan's story ... so, my criticism on that point is valid. Still, modern viewers - who have heard of Corrigan but don't know anything about him - might enjoy watching this movie. Also, I admire Corrigan for his real-life nerve (risking his life to prove he was right and the aviation officials were wrong). I admire him for breaking the rules in a context that jeopardised no-one but himself, and I admire him for getting away with it afterward. I wish that screenwriter Dalton Trumbo had spent more time writing movies like this, and less time in some of his other activities. (Guess which ones, comrade.) I'll rate this movie 6 out of 10. Cleared for take-off!

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