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Wing and a Prayer (1944)

Approved | | Action, Drama, War | 11 January 1945 (Argentina)
An aircraft carrier is sent on a decoy mission around the Pacific, with orders to avoid combat, thus lulling Japanese alertness before the battle of Midway. All the men have their ... See full summary »



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lt. Cmdr. Edward Moulton
Ens. Hallam 'Oscar' Scott
Admiral (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
Kevin O'Shea ...
Ens. Charles 'Cookie' Cunningham
Beezy Bessemer
Ens. Malcolm Brainard (as Henry Morgan)
Ens. Gus Chisholm
Executive Officer
Renny McEvoy ...
Ens. Cliff Hale
Ens. Paducah Holloway
Cmdr. O'Donnell
B.S. Pully ...
Flat Top


An aircraft carrier is sent on a decoy mission around the Pacific, with orders to avoid combat, thus lulling Japanese alertness before the battle of Midway. All the men have their individual worries and concerns, but become increasingly frustrated at their avoidance of combat, for reasons unknown to them. But in the end, all get their chance to fight. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


THE MOST DANGEROUS MISSION IN THE WAR! (original ad - all caps) See more »


Action | Drama | War


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

11 January 1945 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

Queen of the Flat Tops  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)


(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Director Henry Hathaway and his camera crew spent several weeks shooting approximately 50,000 feet of film aboard an American aircraft carrier. This included atmospheric shots, background footage and actual combat scenes. The "Hollywood Reporter" of 12 January 1944 reported that this footage was "the first ever approved by the Navy Department or War Department of any action on one of the new post-Pearl Harbor fleet plane carriers." Whilst on the flat top, Hathaway and crew also studied US Navy procedures and technical manual elements. See more »


When the commander of torpedo squadron five reported to the carrier captain he failed to salute. See more »


Lt. Cmdr. Edward Moulton: Moulton to Squadron. Remember when you think you're in close, go in closer before you drop that fish.
See more »


Features Tin Pan Alley (1940) See more »


My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean
Sung on deck at night by the crew
See more »

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User Reviews

activities before Battle of Midway
3 November 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Wing and a Prayer" is a decent WW II film made in 1944. It stars Don Ameche, Dana Andrews, William Eythe, Cedric Hardwicke, Charles Bickford, Harry Morgan, and Richard Jaeckel (so young it's unbelievable). It's directed by Henry Hathaway.

The story concerns Naval decisions made during World War II before the Battle of Midway. It's not complete -- because of the time that it was made, info was still classified. We had broken the Japanese code and knew what was going to happen at Midway. This particular film is about a carrier, probably in real life, The Enterprise, that was supposed to make the Japanese think the Navy was spread all over the place so that they wouldn't anticipate the forces at Midway. When they were seeing carriers in different spots, they were in fact seeing only this carrier. The crew was told not under any circumstances to engage with the Japanese, which caused fatalities and problems when pilots could not defend themselves.

The crew was in the dark, of course, and had no understanding of this policy, so they were angry and frustrated.

Don Ameche plays a very stern flight commander, Bingo Harper, a man without a sense of humor, who seems detached from his men. Andrews plays lieutenant commander Edward Moulton, and William Eythe plays Hallam "Oscar" Scott, a film star who carries his Academy Award with him for luck.

This is a 20th Century Fox film, and Andrews and Eythe were two actors who came up during World War II and were groomed by Fox to take over for its absent actors. Eythe bore a resemblance to Tyrone Power and was being groomed for stardom. The role he plays here is undoubtedly based on Power, who was indeed a movie star-pilot with an unusual first name. And he had kissed Betty Grable, just like Hallam. Unlike Dana Andrews, Eythe probably would never have made first ranks - he is rough around the edges, awkward physically, and he just didn't have star quality. He was given some excellent roles, but after Zanuck found out he was gay and pretty openly the lover of actor Lon McAllister, he got rid of him. Eythe found work in television and on the stage but died at the age of 38 of hepatitis.

All in all, a pretty good movie, though the characters aren't very well developed, particularly Andrews' role. The minor characters have more back story.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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