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Desperate Journey (1942)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 26 September 1942 (USA)
When the crew of a downed British bomber escape from their Nazi captors with Top Secret intelligence, they make a desperate journey to get out of Germany alive.



(original screenplay)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Flying Officer Johnny Hammond
Kaethe Brahms
Major Otto Baumeister
Flight Sergeant Kirk Edwards
Flying Officer Jed Forrest
Dr. Mather (as Albert Basserman)
Patrick O'Moore ...
Squadron Leader Lane-Ferris
Felix Basch ...
Hermann Brahms
Ilka Grüning ...
Frau Brahms (as Ilka Gruning)
Frau Raeder (as Else Basserman)
Charles Irwin ...
Captain Coswick
Richard Fraser ...
Squadron Leader Clark


When Flight Lt Forbes and his crew are shot down after bombing their target, they discover valuable information, about a hidden German aircraft factory, that must get back to England. In their way across Germany, they try and cause as much damage as possible. Then with the chasing Germans about to pounce, they come up with an ingenious plan to escape. Written by mike.wilson6@btinternet.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

escape | factory | bombing | nazi | uniform | See All (70) »


Man alive, just picture this excitement! See more »


Action | Adventure | Drama | War


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

26 September 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fugitivos del infierno  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Over the fresh grave of Flight Officer Lloyd Hollis (Ronald Sinclair); Flight Lt. Terrence Forbes (Erroll Flynn) recites a line of poetry "If some corner of a foreign field...that is forever England." The poem it refers to is "The Soldier" by Rupert Brooke (1887 - 1915):

If I should die, think only this of me; That there's some corner of a foreign field That is for ever England. There shall be In that rich earth a richer dust concealed; A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware, 5 Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam, A body of England's breathing English air, Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away, A pulse in the eternal mind, no less Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given; Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day; And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness, In hearts at peace, under an English heaven. See more »


Near the end of the film where the three escapees board the captured British plane, they are attacked by the Germans. Flynn enters the gun turret, rotates it to sight the enemy then opens fire. When Reagan pulls his injured mate into the plane and closes the door, he relieves Flynn who goes forward to start the engines and fly out. Before this happens, Reagan again rotates the turret and fires on the Germans. Rotating the turret and firing the guns was worked by hydraulics which were only operable with the planes engines running. See more »


Flying Officer Johnny Hammond: [upon discovering a Nazi plan to use an English plane to bomb the Battersea Waterworks] If I only had a pistol.
Flight Lieutenant Terrence Forbes: Ha, how 'bout a tank?
Flying Officer Johnny Hammond: Nah, a pistol would do. I could put a slug in that bomb before those Krauts knew what was going on.
Flight Lieutenant Terrence Forbes: Maybe we'll get a chance to do something if they break off for lunch.
Flying Officer Johnny Hammond: Well, why wait? There's only twelve of them!
See more »


Referenced in Shadows (1959) See more »


God Save the King!
(1744) (uncredited)
Music attributed to Henry Carey
Variations often in the score
See more »

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User Reviews

Far-Fetched but Action-Packed Flynn Adventure!
18 September 2003 | by (Las Vegas, Nevada) – See all my reviews

Of all the actors who made WWII adventure films, Errol Flynn was second only to John Wayne in being accused of 'winning the war single-handed'. His civilian status ridiculed (Flynn HAD attempted to enlist; despite his healthy appearance, it was discovered he had an 'athlete's heart', plus traces of malaria and TB he had contracted in his youth, and was turned down), and his wild lifestyle becoming impossible for WB publicists to cover up any longer (his arrest for trumped-up charges of statutory rape was about to explode into the nation's headlines), Flynn's unique status as an Australian who was also an American movie star would, nonetheless, make him an ideal leading man for war movies that would not only be morale boosters for American audiences, but international audiences, as well.

DESPERATE JOURNEY was the film Flynn's detractors most often ostracized, with it's 'over-the-top' action, and wildly improbable story (downed fliers reap havoc on moronic Nazis, then return to England in a stolen bomber). Certainly, Flynn's ease in both eluding and harassing the Germans, and the infamous tag line he delivers at film's end ("Now to Australia, and a crack at those Japs!") were comic book heroics, at best, and could not be taken seriously. But the same critics that lambasted him ignored the equally far-fetched WWII-themed ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT and ACROSS THE PACIFIC (with Bogart), THEY MET IN BOMBAY (with Gable), and ONCE UPON A HONEYMOON (with Cary Grant). The pity about all this was, when Flynn would appear in superior war pictures (EDGE OF DARKNESS and OBJECTIVE, BURMA!), the films would be 'lumped in' with his more cartoonish epics.

All this being said, as a 'tongue-in-cheek' adventure yarn, DESPERATE JOURNEY is fast-paced and very enjoyable! Directed by action film veteran Raoul Walsh, the story of British bomber 'D-for-Danny', shot down over occupied central Europe, offers a terrific cast, including Ronald Reagan and Arthur Kennedy (in their second teaming with Flynn), and Alan Hale (in his tenth of 12 Flynn films). The gifted Canadian actor, Raymond Massey, also making his second appearance with Flynn, is a thoroughly hiss-able Nazi Major (speaking the gobbly-gook Hollywood passed off as 'German' in these films) who 'loses' the captured fliers (after a brilliantly funny scene with Reagan, which Flynn, jealous of his co-star, attempted to cut, or have re-written for him), then pursues them, futilely, across the continent. The fliers receive aid from a sympathetic German doctor and his beautiful assistant (Nancy Coleman, providing a bit of romance for Flynn), lose Hale (a truly sad moment, in the film's most dramatic escape), and Flynn, Reagan, and Kennedy eventually discover a captured, fueled British bomber, about to be used to attack England, which provides a convenient means of returning home (so Flynn can have his 'crack' at the 'Japs').

At a running time of 108 minutes, the film seldom drags, provides Flynn a chance to give a "There'll always be an England" soliloquy, and has more one-liners than most screen comedies (Reagan's hilarious 'double-speak', describing allied bomber capabilities, leading to knocking Massey out, with the comment, "The Iron Fist has a Glass Jaw.")

The years have been far kinder to DESPERATE JOURNEY than many other war era films, and it holds it's own very well in the 'Indiana Jones' climate of today's action flicks.

It is certainly a 'must' for any Errol Flynn fan's collection!

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