IMDb > Island in the Sky (1953)
Island in the Sky
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Island in the Sky (1953) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 14 | slideshow) Videos (see all 2)
Island in the Sky -- A transport plane crash-lands in the frozen wastes of Labrador, and the plane's pilot, Dooley, must keep his men alive in deadly conditions while waiting for rescue.
Island in the Sky -- A transport plane crash-lands in the frozen wastes of Labrador, and the plane's pilot, Dooley, must keep his men alive in deadly conditions while waiting for rescue.


User Rating:
7.0/10   2,351 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
Popularity: ?
Down 5% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Ernest K. Gann (screenplay)
Ernest K. Gann (novel)
View company contact information for Island in the Sky on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
5 September 1953 (USA) See more »
A C-47 transport plane, named the Corsair, makes a forced landing in the frozen wastes of Labrador, and the plane's pilot, Captain Dooley, must keep his men alive in deadly conditions while waiting for rescue. | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
(7 articles)
Western Director Andrew V. McLaglen Dies at 94
 (From Variety - TV News. 3 September 2014, 10:33 AM, PDT)

Western Director Andrew V. McLaglen Dies at 94
 (From Variety - Film News. 3 September 2014, 10:33 AM, PDT)

Restored ‘Silent Night, Bloody Night’ is Coming to DVD
 (From DailyDead. 18 November 2013, 8:27 AM, PST)

User Reviews:
The Benign Indifference of the Universe See more (71 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

John Wayne ... Capt. Dooley

Lloyd Nolan ... Captain Stutz

Walter Abel ... Col. Fuller

James Arness ... Mac McMullen

Andy Devine ... Willie Moon

Allyn Joslyn ... J.H. Handy
Jimmy Lydon ... Murray (as James Lydon)

Harry Carey Jr. ... Ralph Hunt
Hal Baylor ... Stankowski

Sean McClory ... Frank Lovatt
Wally Cassell ... D'Annunzia

Gordon Jones ... Walrus
Frank Fenton ... Capt. Turner
Robert Keys ... Maj. Ditson
Sumner Getchell ... Lt. Cord

Regis Toomey ... Sgt. Harper

Paul Fix ... Wally Miller
Jim Dugan ... Gidley
George Chandler ... Rene
Louis Jean Heydt ... Fitch (as Louis Heydt)

Bob Steele ... Wilson

Darryl Hickman ... Swanson

Mike Connors ... Gainer (as Touch Connors)

Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer ... Sonny Hopper (as Carl Switzer)
Cass Gidley ... Stannish

Herbert Anderson ... Breezy (as Guy Anderson)
Anthony De Mario ... Ogden (as Tony De Mario)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Billy Lee Aimone ... (uncredited)
Dawn Bender ... Murray's Wife (uncredited)
Gene Coogan ... Stutz's Navigator (uncredited)

Ann Doran ... Moon's Wife (uncredited)
Ed Fury ... Server in Officer's Mess (uncredited)
John Indrisano ... Mechanic (uncredited)
Tom Irish ... Dusty - McMullen's Co-Pilot (uncredited)
Billy Lunde ... (uncredited)

Fess Parker ... Fitch's Co-Pilot (uncredited)
Richard Walsh ... (uncredited)
Michael Wellman ... Mike Moon (uncredited)
Tim Wellman ... Jim Moon (uncredited)

William A. Wellman ... Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
Phyllis Winger ... Margaret - Girl in Flashback (uncredited)

Directed by
William A. Wellman 
Writing credits
Ernest K. Gann (screenplay)

Ernest K. Gann (novel "Island in the Sky")

Produced by
Robert Fellows .... producer (uncredited)
John Wayne .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Emil Newman 
Hugo Friedhofer (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Archie Stout (photographed by)
Film Editing by
Ralph Dawson 
Art Direction by
James Basevi 
Set Decoration by
Ralph S. Hurst  (as Ralph Hurst)
Makeup Department
Web Overlander .... makeup artist
Production Management
Nate H. Edwards .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Andrew V. McLaglen .... assistant director (as Andrew McLaglen)
Art Department
Joe LaBella .... property man (as Joseph La Bella)
Sound Department
Ed Borschell .... dialogue recordist
Earl Crain Sr. .... dialogue recordist
William A. Mueller .... sound: WarnerPhonic (as William Mueller)
Special Effects by
Alex Weldon .... special effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Don Christy .... still photographer
William H. Clothier .... aerial cameraman (as William Clothier)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Carl Walker .... wardrobe
Joan Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
Music Department
Arthur Lange .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Emil Newman .... musical director (uncredited)
Herbert W. Spencer .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Lloyd Young .... music editor (uncredited)
Other crew
Sam Freedle .... script supervisor
Ernest K. Gann .... technical advisor
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"William A. Wellman's Island in the Sky" - UK (complete title), USA (complete title)
See more »
109 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (WarnerPhonic/RCA Sound System) | 4-Track Stereo (WarnerPhonic/RCA)
Australia:PG | Finland:S | Sweden:Btl | UK:U | UK:U (video rating) (2007) | USA:Approved (PCA #16574) | West Germany:12 (f)

Did You Know?

The general plot is based on a true story that the author, Ernest Gann related in his 1961 autobiographical book about his flying career, "Fate is the Hunter". He and other pilots searched successfully for a lost fellow pilot in the wilds of northern Canada during World War II.See more »
Factual errors: Hearing an incorrect latitude reading, Dooley says it could put them in Paris, Vladivostok, or Bangor ME, "all on the same latitude". The last two cities are at latitudes 43.1° and 44.8° north, which might be considered roundly the same, but Paris is significantly farther north at 48.8°. As a pilot with experience on Atlantic flights, Dooley would certainly know this.See more »
Capt. Dooley:I'll shoot the first one of ya to leave camp. I'll aim for your legs. I may miss and hit ya in the back of the head. Either way serves ya right.See more »
Movie Connections:
Island in The SkySee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
42 out of 44 people found the following review useful.
The Benign Indifference of the Universe, 20 May 2002
Author: Piafredux from United States

"Island in the Sky" has long vanished from television station inventories: I last saw this movie in, best guess, 1960. But I've never forgotten it, & two years ago I tracked down the knuckle-biter Ernest K. Gann novel on which the film is strongly based.

When a transport plane goes down in the white-blindness of sub-arctic Labrador its crew is in dire straits: howling winds, icy weather, almost no food, and no shelter or heat source. Fellow pilots & aircrews organize an air search, but the Labrador landscape they search is vast, monotonous & unforgiving of downed airmen: the searching crews know they're in a race against time, that the odds against their downed mates' survival decrease with every tick of the clock. The film sublimely depicts the searchers long hours of tedium in their inadequately heated Douglas C-47 flight decks, all the while with their hope for sighting their downed comrades dimming. They battle the ice-fog, the weather fronts, the monotonous vastness of the landscape, the limits of their aircraft and radios and compasses, and the human limits of their flying and navigational skills and their powerful fatigue. Yet nobody will give up the search: each of the rescue crews knows that they themselves might, at nature's or a fouled sparkplug's whim, have been the men crash-landed in the frigid wasteland beneath their wings.

We also see the plight of the downed aircrew scrabbling in their plane's wreck for morsels of food, shelter, clothing, and with their frozen fingers struggling to whirl the crank of a "Gibson Girl" emergency radio transmitter of dubious value. We feel their growing, chilling despair: after all, they're veteran airmen who know the odds against a search crew sighting their snow-covered wreck in this sub-arctic expanse where, from the air, every lake, hummock, snowfield, depression, hill and endless sweep of terrain looks alike. They know their would-be rescuers are flying over uncharted space, without a single reliable reference point; and they know that magnetic compasses (long before GPS satellite navigation came on the scene)in the Labrador region are subject to grievously false readings - they know the searchers could well be flying the same search routes over and over again without even realizing it: and the search crews know it too. And because there are no distinguishable landmarks, and because compasses are untrustworthy, the shivering men know that even if they are sighted it's likely that a rescue plane at the limit of its fuel could well be unable to relay accurate headings or recognizable landmarks to the crew of a follow-up aircraft.

The script neatly follows Gann's novel & its spirit: man and his pitifully inadequate, yet much-ballyhooed technology pitted against nature, against what has been called "the benign indifference of the universe". Gann was a veteran transport pilot whose novels, and this one is no exception, convey the grim obstacles airmen faced in aviation's primitive days. Gann's characters aren't heroes: they're just guys who happen to operate equipment which, like the men themselves, has finite limitations in the face of remorseless nature. Like the novel's, the film's dialogue is terse, the casting superb: you can imagine each actor being the man Gann wrote about in his novel. "Island in the Sky" is a no-frills film: no special effects worth mentioning, and none are necessary. You get to be on the frozen earth in the middle of nowhere, and on the flight deck with the weary, half-snowblind, anxious search crews. You feel the fear, the anxiety, the pressure, the cold, the crews' frustration with the limits of their technology and abilities.

I'd love to see "Island in the Sky" come out on DVD: a solid, bare-bones, no glamor, no mercy story well told.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (71 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Island in the Sky (1953)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
John Wayne...crying? OIF-Retread
When was this last seen on T.V. agoreski
Origins of the Gann story carpevitae
Location shots look wrong for Quebec or Labrador. philpaine
Dooley-Grandpa moift
Pan and Scan??? WarnersBrother
See more »


If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Alive Flight of the Phoenix The High and the Mighty The Mysterious Pilot The Snow Walker
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Adventure section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.