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Captains of the Clouds (1942)

Approved  |   |  Action, Drama, War  |  21 February 1942 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 946 users  
Reviews: 25 user | 7 critic

Inspired by Churcill's Dunkirk speech, brash, undisciplined bush pilot Brian MacLean and three friends enlist in the RCAF but are deemed too old to be fliers.



(story), (story), 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Johnny Dutton
Emily Foster
'Tiny' Murphy
Blimp Lebec
Scrounger Harris
W.A. Bishop ...
Himself (as Air Marshal W.A. Bishop)
Commanding Officer
Russell Arms ...
Louis 'Alabama' Prentiss
Group Captain
Sam 'Store-Teeth' Morrison
J.M. Kerrigan ...
J. Farrell MacDonald ...
Dr. Neville (as J. Farrell Macdonald)
Patrick O'Moore ...
Morton Lowry ...


Brian McLean is a ruthless bush-pilot in Canada. He offers some other pilots an opportunity of earning a lot of money, but he marries the girl-friend of one of them. After listening to Churchill's famous "Blood, Sweat and tears" radio address he and some other pilots decide to join the RCAF - and his superior is always the pilot who's girlfriend he has married. Due to this and the fact, that McLean doesn't like to obey he gets troubles. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Drama | War


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 February 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Capitanes de las nubes  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Several short scenes (beginning around the 45-minute mark) were filmed at the Chateau Laurier hotel in Ottawa, Ontario. The hotel, which marked its centennial in 2012, was originally commissioned by the Grand Trunk Railway. See more »


As MacLean is coasting up to the dock he's moving at would be at least speed walking pace; he throws his mooring rope to Emily on the dock after she catches it the view switches back to him and his plane and it has completely stopped. There is no way a float plane could stop that quickly. See more »


Emily Foster: Hey! What brought you back?
Brian MacLean: A whim.
Emily Foster: Well you can keep on going.
Brian MacLean: Oh you don't know me. I have a whim of iron!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Sincere appreciation is expressed to Major the Honorable C.G. Power P.C., M.C., Minister of National Defence for Air (Canada) and to Air Marshal L.S. Breadner D.S.C., Chief of the Air Staff, Royal Canadian Air Force, without whose authority and generous co-operation this picture would not have been brought to its splendid conclusion. We also wish to express our thanks to Air Marshal Bishop, V.C. and other officers and men of the R.C.A.F. who, in the making of the picture, are portrayed in the actual performance of their regular duties. See more »


What's New?
(1939) (uncredited)
Music by Bob Haggart
Played on the radio in Willie's restaurant
See more »

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User Reviews

Cagney, a bush pilot
23 July 2004 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Watching Captains of the Clouds yesterday, I was struck by the fact that at the time it was made, Canada had no film industry to speak of. If they had I'm sure it would have been a different film.

I yield to no one in my admiration of James Cagney as actor. But quite frankly, he's too urban, too much from the sidewalks of New York to be a convincing Canadian bush pilot. But Brian McLean is a typical cocky Cagney character. So if you can get past Cagney's speech pattern, you'll enjoy the film.

Nice location shooting. I'm not sure where the outdoors stuff was filmed, but it looked convincingly Canadian for me. Shots of Ottawa were blended nicely with back lot studio stuff.

Of the rest of the cast only George Tobias attempts an accent and he's a French Canadien. The rest of the cast does well with old scene stealer Alan Hale leading the pack.

But the official Canadian imprimatur was put on the film because Air Marshal William Bishop appears in it in a scene where graduating fliers are given their wings. For those who don't know, Billy Bishop was the finest of air aces on the Allied side in World War I. He had more confirmed kills than anyone else. He was one of the biggest heroes in Canada at that time and still is held in the highest regard by Canadians.

One thing I am sure though. Billy Bishop may have appeared in the movie, but I can't help thinking he would have much preferred the whole thing be done under Canadian auspices if it could have been.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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