30 user 11 critic

Command Decision (1948)

Passed | | War, Drama | February 1949 (USA)
Army generals struggle with the decision to prioritize bombing the German factories producing new jet fighters over the extremely high casualties the mission will cost.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tech. Sgt. Immanuel T. Evans
Brig. Gen. Clifton I. Garnet
Elmer Brockhurst
Col. Edward Rayton Martin
Capt. George Washington Bellpepper Lee
Maj. George Rockton
Lt. Ansel Goldberg
Maj. Homer V. Prescott
Maj. Desmond Lansing
Col. Earnest Haley
Maj. Belding Davis
Congressman Stone


General Dennis of the US Force in England in World War II finds that he must order his planes deeper and deeper into Germany to prevent the production of military jet planes that will turn the tide of battle to the Germans. He must fight congressmen, and his own chain of command to win the political battle before he can send his planes out. His problem is complicated by a very narrow window of good weather necessary to allow his effort to be successful. Adapted from a stage play, it attempts to look at the challenges of command in the political arena. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Heroes, cowards, fighters, braggarts, liars...and what goes on in their hearts!


War | Drama


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

February 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sublime decisión  »

Box Office


$3,700,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)


(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Senior officers attending the U.S. Air Force's Command College watched this film as a training aid. See more »


When Casey is wondering about the weather for the third straight day of maximum effort, he tells his staff to keep him informed with weather updates. But when he does so, his lips don't move. See more »


Maj. Gen. Roland Goodlaw Kane: Casey, this may pull down the work of twenty years. All right, let's have it.
Brig. Gen. K.C. 'Casey' Dennis: The day after you left, sir, weather conference gave us a clear break over Central and Northeast Germany 44 days running. There was a chance to do the job, possibly the last one, so I laid on 'Stitch.'
Maj. Gen. Roland Goodlaw Kane: Regardless of the fact that you might be upsetting the larger picture
Brig. Gen. K.C. 'Casey' Dennis: Larger than what, sir? The outcome of the war?
See more »


Featured in Clark Gable: Tall, Dark and Handsome (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

Make a "Command Decision" and watch this movie!
21 August 2001 | by (Columbus, Ohio) – See all my reviews

"Command Decision" is based on a stage play, so scenes of aerial combat are not to be found in the movie. This is a major difference between it and "Twelve O'clock High," released a year later in 1949, and which presented a more engaging, gritty, realistic motion picture of aerial combat and the toll it takes on the airmen and their support teams and commanders on the ground.

"Command Decision" tells a story of WWII air warfare from the point of view generals, politicians and the press, and the process of making a military decision in light of political consequences and public opinion. Clark Gable gives a great performance as General Casey, the officer who acts out of military necessity in choosing his targets, and in doing so, knows he puts the lives of his men and his friends on the line. Walter Pidgeon is General Kane, Gable's superior, who has lost some of his ability to look at his duty in purely military terms. Instead he perceives his mission is to fight the politicos and the press and to get the best spin on the actions of his command and commanders. Brian Donleavy is General Garnet, a relative newcomer to all of this. He is eager for his first command, but once on the scene at a combat headquarters, he begins to have doubts of his own about the mission, the politics and his own ability to send young men to their deaths.

The command decision in this fine, taut film is not one climatic decision, but is the story of a number of command decisions made by the three general officers, and how each effects and feeds off of the other men's command decisions throughout the film.

Good performances by all, a little melodramatic at times, but overall, one of the best war movies (especially about air warfare) you'll come across.

26 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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