The High and the Mighty (1954)

Not Rated  |   |  Action, Adventure, Drama  |  3 July 1954 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.9/10 from 4,219 users  
Reviews: 162 user | 35 critic

When a commercial airliner develops engine problems on a trans-Pacific flight and the pilot loses his nerve, it is up to the washed-up co-pilot Dan Roman to bring the plane in safely.



(screenplay), (novel)
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

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.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: John Wayne, Lloyd Nolan, Walter Abel
Blood Alley (1955)
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

His ship seized by the Chinese Communists, American Merchant Captain Tom Wilder languishes in prison but Chinese villagers help him escape to sail them to Hong-Kong.

Directors: William A. Wellman, John Wayne
Stars: John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Paul Fix
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

During WWII, a submarine's second in command inherits the problem of torpedoes that don't explode. When on shore, he is eager to win back his ex-wife.

Director: George Waggner
Stars: John Wayne, Patricia Neal, Ward Bond
Drama | War | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Major Kirby leads The Wildcats squadron into the historic WWII battle of Guadalcanal.

Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: John Wayne, Robert Ryan, Don Taylor
The Sea Chase (1955)
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

As World War II begins, German freighter captain Karl Ehrlich tries to get his ship back to Germany through a gauntlet of Allied warships.

Director: John Farrow
Stars: John Wayne, Lana Turner, David Farrar
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Construction workers in World War II in the Pacific are needed to build military sites, but the work is dangerous and they doubt the ability of the Navy to protect them. After a series of ... See full summary »

Director: Edward Ludwig
Stars: John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Dennis O'Keefe
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Following Napoleon's Waterloo defeat and the exile of his officers and their families from France, the U.S.Congress, in 1817, granted four townships in the Alabama territory to the exiles. ... See full summary »

Director: George Waggner
Stars: John Wayne, Vera Ralston, Philip Dorn
Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Sam and George strike gold in Alaska. George sends Sam to Seattle to bring George's fiancĂ©e back to Alaska. Sam finds she is already married, and returns instead with Angel. Sam, after ... See full summary »

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: John Wayne, Stewart Granger, Ernie Kovacs
Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A biography of Navy flier-turned-screenwriter Frank W. "Spig" Wead.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Dan Dailey
Jet Pilot (1957)
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Air Force Colonel Jim Shannon is tasked to escort a defecting Soviet pilot who is scheming to lure Shannon to the USSR.

Directors: Josef von Sternberg, Jules Furthman
Stars: John Wayne, Janet Leigh, Jay C. Flippen
Adventure | War | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A Union Cavalry outfit is sent behind confederate lines in strength to destroy a rail/supply center. Along with them is sent a doctor who causes instant antipathy between him and the ... See full summary »

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, William Holden, Constance Towers
In Harm's Way (1965)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A naval officer reprimanded after Pearl Harbor is later promoted to rear admiral and gets a second chance to prove himself against the Japanese.

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Patricia Neal


Cast overview, first billed only:
May Holst
Lydia Rice
John Sullivan
Sally McKee
Ed Joseph
Gustave Pardee
Ken Childs
Paul Kelly ...
Donald Flaherty
Humphrey Agnew
Julie Bishop ...
Lillian Pardee
Gonzales (as Gonzalez Gonzalez)
Howard Rice
Wally Brown ...
Lenny Wilby, navigator
Hobie Wheeler


One disaster after another happens on this trans-Pacific flight. You have the pilot who loses his nerve! The washed-up co-pilot. The milquetoast flight engineer. The young hot shot second officer. And a cabin full of passengers with every range of problems and personalities there could possibly be. Here you have the Duke in a role he didn't want, and a movie with the title song that became Duke's theme. What else could any John Wayne fan want? It's all here, and then some. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The 2-year best seller blasts to the screen with every kind of love there is! See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

3 July 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

William A. Wellman's The High and the Mighty  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (RCA Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The final film of the experienced cinematographer Archie Stout. See more »


When Jan Sterling showed a newspaper article to Robert Stack, it was dated 1948. Jan commented that the article was "8 years old". The movie was released in 1954, only 6 years after the article was written. See more »


[first lines]
Ben Sneed: Hey fella, ain't you Dan Roman?
Dan Roman: Yeah.
Ben Sneed: I heard you whistlin' and I said to myself only one guy does that just so.
See more »


Referenced in Spin City: The High and the Mighty (1996) See more »


Aloha Oe
Written by Queen Liliuokalani
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The Wayne Family needs to open the vault and get this legendary film back to the public as a DVD or VHS before people forget about it.
7 September 2001 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I saw The High and the Mighty when I was 16 in a theater when it first came out. Every woman walked out in love with John Wayne and every man wanted to BE John Wayne. We all hummed, whistled or la-la-la'd the theme song all the way home.

I would love to add The High and the Mighty to my collection of John Wayne films, but the Wayne Family Trust has got to allow this film to be converted to either a DVD or a VHS format. I know they are waiting for the time when they can squeeze the maximum number of dollars out of it, but if they aren't careful, they will wait too long and the world will have moved so far beyond the ideas, concepts and technology of the 50's that the film will not appeal to the younger generation of purchasers of movies.

It's more than just Wayne's performance that is being withheld from the public. I am also a great admirer of the work of the great British actor, Robert Newton and he turned in a marvelous performance here. So did Jan Sterling, Claire Trevor, Paul Fix, Lorraine Day and all the rest of the cast. Their fans deserve to see these actors in this film too. The only actor I could live without is Robert Stack. He has never done a thing for me. But the film as a whole is wonderful and should be released...ASAP

34 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
'So long, you ancient pelican!' shula1010430
Uhm...yeah. Okay. Metaljeeper
What happened to.. wmm575
I'm watching the moving that 'Airplane' parodies benivere
What is the aircraft in the High and the Mighty? clive-13
Help us with the campaign to get "The High and the Mighty" on DVD! kolonel_klink
Discuss The High and the Mighty (1954) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: