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Twelve O'Clock High (1949)

Not Rated | | Drama, War | 1950 (UK)
2:05 | Trailer

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A hard-as-nails general takes over a bomber unit suffering from low morale and whips them into fighting shape.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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In this story of the early days of daylight bombing raids over Nazi Germany, General Frank Savage must take command of a "hard luck" bomber group. Much of the story deals with his struggle to whip his group into a disciplined fighting unit in spite of heavy losses, and withering attacks by German fighters over their targets. Actual combat footage is used in this tense war drama. Written by KC Hunt <khunt@eng.morgan.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A story of twelve men as their women never knew them...


Drama | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1950 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Almas en la hoguera  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)


(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


20th Century Fox's third largest grossing film of 1949. See more »


On the ball bearing bombing mission the camera shows a close up of the exterior of the cockpits of Picadilly Lilly, Reluctant Dragon and Fluffy Fuzzy. All shots show each plane's nose art above the navigator's windows to identify the different planes and crews. Actual nose art was painted below the navigator's windows. See more »


General Frank Savage: [to a crewman who disobeyed orders] So for the sake of your roommate you violated group integrity. Every gun on a B-17 is designed to give the group maximum defensive firepower - that's what I mean by group integrity. When you pull a B-17 out of a formation you reduce the defensive power of the group by ten guns. A crippled aeroplane has to be expendable. The one thing which is never expendable is your obligation to this group. This group... this group - that has to be your loyalty; your only ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: LONDON 1949 See more »


Edited into The Clock (2010) See more »


Bless 'em All
Written by Fred Godfrey (1917)
Revised lyrics by Jimmy Hughes and Frank Lake (1940)
Additional lyrics by Al Stillman (1941)
Sung at the officers' club
See more »

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User Reviews

'classic' an inadequate term for this one
6 June 2000 | by See all my reviews

Without any question, indisputably the greatest WWII film ever (except, perhaps for "Bridge on the River Kwai"; but that's a WWII story only in the same sense that "Moby Dick" is a book about a whale). There are no weaknesses in this movie. The screenplay is perfect, rooted as it is in the historical reality of the U.S.'s attempt to prove the superiority of Daylight Precision Bombing over the Brits favored strategy of night bombing. The terrible human pressures it placed on young American pilots AND their leaders has never been so well-portrayed on film. Dramatic tension is perfectly manipulated, and the characters are well-drawn, sympathetic and fully developed. Every member of this superb cast gives this great material the great acting it deserves. The usage of actual WWII bombing footage adds to the sense of reality. The psychological drama - what "maximum effort" does to people - is at the core of the story and supercedes the mere military aspect. And the device of the framing scenes - Harvey Stovall (Dean Jagger) recollecting the story while standing in the abandoned airstrip - is brilliant. It gives the tale an overwhelmingly bittersweet feeling of "long-ago" nostalgia. It is so powerful that Spielberg must have consciously had 12 O'clock High in mind when he used the same device in Saving Private Ryan to make that whole film a flashback, just as this one is. To hell with the flashy flamboyance of Citizen Kane; I would have to give 12 O'clock High a better shot at being "the best movie ever made". Film buffs &/or devotees of WWII history who haven't seen this one are living a deprived existence.

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