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Twelve O'Clock High (1949)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 8,830 users  
Reviews: 114 user | 37 critic

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

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Title: Twelve O'Clock High (1949)

Twelve O'Clock High (1949) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
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Robert Arthur ...
...
John Kellogg ...
Robert Patten ...
Lt. Bishop (as Bob Patten)
Lee MacGregor ...
...
Roger Anderson ...
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Storyline

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

Plot Keywords:

bomber | general | combat | pilot | bombing | See All (55) »

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Action | Drama | War

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 February 1950 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Un homme de fer  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Twelve O'Clock High" is an example of a pilot's enemy position call. During World War II pilots would call-out the positions of enemy airplanes by referring to their bearings via the use of a pretend face of a clock. In this case, 12 O'Clock meant the enemy was directly ahead, whereas 6 O'Clock would mean directly behind. "High" or "Low" referred to whether the enemy was above or below the airplane respectively. "Even" meant that the enemy was level with the pilot's plane. See more »

Goofs

During the bombing mission depicted in the film, the tail gun of General Savage's "Picadilly Lily" B-17F airplane is shown briefly, but it is a late-war model "Cheyenne"-type tail turret - incorrect for the time period during which the events in the film take place. See more »

Quotes

General Frank Savage: 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 reason for being. Gately!
Lt. Col. Ben R. Gately: Yes sir?
General Frank Savage: [...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in Strange Wilderness (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

The Whiffenpoof Song
(uncredited)
Written by Tod B. Galloway, Meade Minnigerode, George S. Pomeroy and Rudy Vallee
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the Near-Great Films of All-Time; Immensely Moving, Powerful
24 June 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This stirring war film about the Eight Air Force and their war against the German Luftwaffe was written by Sy Bartlett and Beirne Lay, Jr. . It starred Gregory Peck as the Colonel, Frank Savage, head of the 918th Bomber Group assigned to making winged warfare succeed where his nice-guy predecessor, ably played as always by Gary Merrill, had failed. He is aided by brilliant Dean Jagger as Harvey Stovall his exec, his honest Boss Millard Mitchell, and others; but his chief opponent turns out to be the men themselves, not the Nazis...he has to completely turn their thinking around, make them write off survival and think only in terms of getting the job done--so they will have the best chance to maintain group integrity in the air. bomb their targets, and get home safely afterward. How he does this, by stalling their requests for transfer and winning them over to his way--the American way--of making war produces a powerful story. Others in the large, but uneven cast include capable Hugh Marlowe, John Kellogg, Bob Patten, Lawrence Dobkin, Joyce Mackenzie and many others credited and not. This epic was directed by veteran Henry King in what most believe is masterful fashion in B/W. Music was supplied by Alfred Newman and cinematography was done by Leon Shamroy. Art directors Maurice Ransford and Lyle Wheeler deserve every praise for the style they infused into the entire production, mixing actual war footage with their new scenes. Sets such as the large hut where missions are outlined, HQ House, the general's office, the bar, the now-overgrown airfield, the hospital and the airplane interior shots are all memorable achievements. The climax of the film is compromised a bit by changing the original storyline; instead of merely being unable to fly and watching his men get the job done without him, in the filmed version Savage has a near-breakdown from which he rouses only when his pilots begin arriving home. But there is so much power in this film and in its message that self-assertion is better than sloppiness, cowardice, inattention, non-cooperation, defeatism, et al, the film justifiably is still a well-beloved. Frequently, it provides an unforgettable look at how U.S.'s officers and men had to grow up as military operatives in the throes of WWII. To see the men in the film have to watch their Toby mug being turned around, signaling the beginning of another call to mission is moving; the film's opening, when having found the mug again in a shop, tourist Jagger takes it with him, climbs a fence into a field and finds the already-disappearing remains of the hardtracks down which B-17s had so recently roared, carrying the fight to the enemy and men to their deaths or heroisms or both--is frankly a classic sequence; it is also the scene which leads to the film being told as a flashback recounting the events of Savage's vital assignment. Highly recommended.


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