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The High and the Mighty (1954)

Not Rated  |   |  Action, Adventure, Drama  |  3 July 1954 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 4,161 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.



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



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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?


Airplane! is a loosely made parody of this film. Perhaps that is why Robert Stack agreed to play in it. See more »


When Dan Roman stumbles from the burning wreckage of an airliner in a flashback sequence, he sees and reaches for a burning teddy bear. When he picks it up, it's no longer burning. 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 »


Kaua I Ka Hua Hua'i
Written by Prince Leleiohoku
See more »

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User Reviews

John Wayne's Finest Film-The Best of the Disaster Films
20 July 2004 | by (North Little Rock, AR USA) – See all my reviews

John Wayne many talents are captured in this 1954 film. Considered by some to be the granddaddy of all disaster films, this film paved the way for the Airport movies and the Irwin Allen disaster movies of the 1970's. The film was a showcase of Hollywood's leading stars of the day. Last shown on network television in Sept. of 1979, HBO in August of 1981 and it's final telecast was on WTBS in Feb. of 1982. President of the Screen Actors Guild in 1980 William Schallert has a small role in the film. Also William Hopper of Perry Mason fame has a small role. This was an important movie in John Wayne's career because not only did he act in it, but he produced as well. A must for all John Wayne fans.

22 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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