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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 »



(story), (screenplay)

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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


MIGHTY DRAMA OF AIRCRAFT CARRIER X (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?


During the Battle of Midway, all the flyboys of Torpedo Squadron 8 were killed except for Ensign George Gay. This film's original intention was to depict their lives, especially Gay's. The Twentieth Century-Fox studio bought the rights to a 'Life' magazine story by Sidney L. James on the Battle of Midway as well as obtaining permission from both Ensign Gay and the United States Navy to film the story. The 23 September 1942 edition of the 'Hollywood Reporter' stated that "The Navy has relented in its stand against the use of the names of war heroes in film dramatizing their deeds and will not stand in the way provided the permission of the hero is obtained and the story content is satisfactory." However, the studio decided to produce a fictionalized telling of the Battle of Midway. The 'New York Times' of 6 February 1944 reported that the film script about Ensign Gay and Torpedo Squadron 8 was "entirely discarded" after "the protest of a certain high Government official that the proposed picture would carry a defeatist implication." See more »


Many of the US fighter planes shown in the movie are Grumman F6F "Hellcats." This plane was not used against the Japanese until September 1943. In the battle of Midway, the fighters would mostly have been Grumman F4F "Wildcats." 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 »


Edited into All This and World War II (1976) See more »


Anchors Aweigh
Music by Charles A. Zimmerman
Played often throughout the picture
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User Reviews

Excellent WW II Navy Movie!
3 January 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Wing and a Prayer" really gives those of us not born yet a realistic idea of what life on a carrier was like going up against Japan in World War II. The tough decisions brought on by war were very poignant as were the losses of friends and shipmates in combat. The film was a bit murky at the end as to how the carrier (name?!) fit in with the Battle of Midway and the Japanese ship models were pretty cut-rate, even by 1940's standards. Using U.S. Navy Wildcat planes with white circles painted over their US star to represent Japanese planes was campy, but understandable since the US was in the process of really shooting all of the real zero's out of the sky during the time of the movie. Harry "MASH" Morgan was a 29 year old pilot hotshot that was nice to see him in his prime. Don Ameche did a very good job being a serious-as-death commander who had to be a hard *ss in order to send men into mortal combat. A great film!

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