IMDb > The High and the Mighty (1954)
The High and the Mighty
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The High and the Mighty (1954) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
7.0/10   3,909 votes »
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Down 69% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Ernest K. Gann (screenplay)
Ernest K. Gann (novel)
Contact:
View company contact information for The High and the Mighty on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
3 July 1954 (USA) See more »
Tagline:
The 2-year best seller blasts to the screen with every kind of love there is! See more »
Plot:
When a commercial airliner develops engine problems on a trans-Pacific flight and the pilot loses his nerve... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won Oscar. Another 1 win & 6 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Fine Characters; Well-Acted; Most Realistic Airplane Film See more (158 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

John Wayne ... Dan Roman

Claire Trevor ... May Holst

Laraine Day ... Lydia Rice

Robert Stack ... John Sullivan

Jan Sterling ... Sally McKee

Phil Harris ... Ed Joseph

Robert Newton ... Gustave Pardee
David Brian ... Ken Childs
Paul Kelly ... Donald Flaherty

Sidney Blackmer ... Humphrey Agnew
Julie Bishop ... Lillian Pardee

Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez ... Gonzales (as Gonzalez Gonzalez)

John Howard ... Howard Rice
Wally Brown ... Lenny Wilby, navigator

William Campbell ... Hobie Wheeler

Ann Doran ... Clara Joseph

John Qualen ... Jose Locota

Paul Fix ... Frank Briscoe
George Chandler ... Ben Sneed
Joy Kim ... Dorothy Chen
Michael Wellman ... Toby Field

Douglas Fowley ... Alsop

Regis Toomey ... Tim Garfield

Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer ... Ensign Keim (as Carl Switzer)
Robert Keys ... Lieutenant Mowbray

William Hopper ... Roy (as William Dewolf Hopper)

William Schallert ... Dispatcher
Julie Mitchum ... Susie Wilby
Doe Avedon ... Miss Spalding

Karen Sharpe ... Nell Buck
John Smith ... Milo Buck
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Scotty Beckett ... Coast Guard Navigator (uncredited)
John Close ... Mechanic (uncredited)
James Conaty ... Mrs. Joseph's Doctor (uncredited)

Robert Easton ... Cargo Clerk (uncredited)
Dorothy Ford ... Mrs. Wilson (uncredited)
Al Hill ... San Francisco Ground Crewman (uncredited)
William Hudson ... Reporter (uncredited)
John Indrisano ... Radar Operator (uncredited)
Douglas Kennedy ... Boyd, Reporter (uncredited)
David Leonard ... Scientist (uncredited)
Al Murphy ... Lighthouse Dispatcher (uncredited)
William H. O'Brien ... Restaurant Cook (uncredited)
Walter Reed ... Mr. Field (uncredited)
Philip Van Zandt ... Mr. Wilson (uncredited)

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

Ernest K. Gann (novel "The High and the Mighty")

Produced by
Robert Fellows .... producer (uncredited)
John Wayne .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Dimitri Tiomkin 
 
Cinematography by
Archie Stout (photographed by)
 
Film Editing by
Ralph Dawson 
 
Art Direction by
Alfred Ybarra  (as Al Ybarra)
 
Set Decoration by
Ralph S. Hurst (set decorations) (as Ralph Hurst)
 
Makeup Department
Loren Cosand .... makeup artist
Margaret Donovan .... hair stylist
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)
Patrick Wayne .... props assistant (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
John K. Kean .... sound recording
 
Special Effects by
Robert A. Mattey .... special effects (as Robert Mattey)
 
Stunts
Tom Hennesy .... stunts (uncredited)
Bill Keating .... DC-4 stunt pilot (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
William H. Clothier .... aerial photography (as William Clothier)
Vic Jones .... gaffer
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Gwen Wakeling .... wardrobe designer
Joan Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Bryan McMahan .... colorist: re-mastering
 
Music Department
Dimitri Tiomkin .... conductor
Manuel Emanuel .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Paul Marquardt .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Charles Maxwell .... orchestrator (uncredited)
George Parrish .... orchestrator (uncredited)
John Qualen .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
David Tamkin .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Herbert Taylor .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Dimitri Tiomkin .... music arranger: "Aloha Oe", "Kaua I Ka Hua Hua'i" and "The Barber of Seville" (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Wm. H. Benge .... technical advisor
Robert C. Cannom .... technical advisor: U.S.C.G. (as Lt. Commander Robert M. Cannom)
Sam Freedle .... script supervisor
Loren Riebe .... camera plane pilot
Muzzy Marcellino .... whistler: dubbing for John Wayne (uncredited)
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies
  • Post Logic Studios  digital restoration (uncredited)
  • Transocean Air Lines  our sincere appreciation for the technical advice and cooperation given us by (as Transocean Air Lines, Oakland, California)
  • United States Coast Guard  we wish to thank: for their cooperation and advice (as the United States Coast Guard)

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"William A. Wellman's The High and the Mighty" - UK (complete title), USA (complete title)
See more »
Runtime:
147 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (WarnerColor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.55 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
4-Track Stereo | Mono (RCA Sound System)
Certification:
Australia:PG | Australia:M (TV rating) | Finland:K-8 | Netherlands:AL (orginal rating) | Sweden:15 | UK:U | UK:U (video rating) (2007) | USA:Approved (PCA #16801) | West Germany:12 (f)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Spencer Tracy was originally cast as Dan Roman. He backed out of the film, however, after hearing several negative comments about how strict a disciplinarian director William A. Wellman was.See more »
Goofs:
Factual errors: The sound of the yellow flying bomb is wrong. It is audibly a jet engine, but the flying bomb is actually a German V1 which is powered by a ram jet: slats on the nacelle let in air that was mixed with fuel and ignited by a spark plug. The machine in flight sounded like a backfiring automobile.See more »
Quotes:
[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 »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Barber of SevilleSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
30 out of 33 people found the following review useful.
Fine Characters; Well-Acted; Most Realistic Airplane Film, 31 July 2005
Author: silverscreen888

Several younger reviewers, posing as critics, have projected their post-1994 angst onto "The High and the Mighty". They have tried to make its virtues into defects I suggest because they have failed to understand the normative, non-surreal self-responsibility requirements that individuals in the 1950s tacitly accepted as their price for exercising U.S. rights under regulation. They also do not understand apparently that this flight was being undertaken as a very-long flight, and barely seven years after the end of WWII. One complained that there was talk of disaster from the beginning; I found none except some fear on the part of one neurotic passenger. And there is something else that needs to be said about the film. It was directed by William Wellman, aviation's greatest champion in Hollywood history. That may be one reason why the resulting film is in my judgment the most realistic portrayal of a 1950s airport, airplane crew, airplane flight and airplane disaster-near disaster film in history--to this day... I flew on prop planes in 1950; this is the real thing. As for the emotional belief that it is "corny', its script telegraphs some of its punches concerning passengers' ideas, but only the surreal philosophy of statist-postmodernist thinkers could see in this beautifully- thought-out film as anything but what most viewers believe it to be--the very entertaining fictional account of a distrusted loner saving an entire planeload of interesting passengers from a physical disaster to whose impending happening each reacts in his own individual way. The film opens at Honolulu Airport as flight 420 is being readied for takeoff. A succession of passengers come to the desk manned by an airline official and the flight's stewardess; so the viewer is thus cleverly allowed to discover a good bit about each one at the same time as do the refreshingly judgmental pair of officers. At the same time, we are told the story of nice-guy Dan Roman, played by John Wayne; he was the pilot of a plane that once ran into wind shear; the rear of that plane was destroyed; on impact.; he survived the death of his wife and son to fly again. The list of those aboard is long and fascinating. In addition to cynical young crewman William Campbell, uxorious navigator Wally Brown, up-tight young Robert Stack and Wayne, we meet Sidney Blackmer, overwrought and insistent; ebullient Phil Harris and his wife Ann Doran, sensible and prolific Johna Qualen, intelligent Claire Trevor, Jan Sterling as an aging beauty queen worried about meeting her new mail-contact fiancée, handsome couple John Smith and Karen Sharpe as newlyweds, Paul Fix who is elderly and unflappable, Dorothy Chen, John Howard, flight-fearing Robert Newton and his loyal wife lovely Julie Bishop, secret-keeping Paul Kelly and dynamic David Brian, and a little boy, among others. The story develops as the great airplane shudders in mid-air; gradually a crisis develops with an engine losing power. Then it is hit by a bullet, and a fire disables it and must be extinguished. The exact number of gallons of high-octane fuel aboard then becomes critical. The threat of a disaster is told in five parts--the inception; examinations and worsenings; the potential of having to ditch is faced; Wayne forces Stack to try for the coast instead of ditching; and the final climax plays out as the onshore wind gives them their last chance to make one try at the runway--with ultimately only 30 gallons of fuel left. As the potential problem develops, the passengers and crew must deal with the film's plot-theme--"taking charge of one's own life"; one man pulls a gun on the man he suspects of having made love to his wife; others have to be stopped from screaming, others face issues long put aside, others express regrets, hopes or fears; others demand or ask for information; and the crew face their own problems as well. Uniting the whole taut drama is the towering experience, calm and underplaying by Wayne and the thin-voice maturity, intelligence and normalcy of Doe Avedon as the chief stewardess. The other unusual feature of the film is Wellman's use of extended flashbacks for a number of persons, which is a feature that indicates to viewers information as well as passage of time. Here it is used in several innovative ways-to indicate character, to reinforce dramatic points and to strengthen the presentation of values such as a nuclear scientist's reasons for quitting his job, etc. The script for the novel was written by the author of the original novel "The High and the Mighty", aviation fiction expert Ernest K. Gann. The cinematography was done by Archie J. Stout, and the music which uses Wayne whistling the main theme among other presentations was done by Dimitri Tiomkin, co-author of the famous and popular title song, which was a hit both with and without lyrics. Among the solid cast also one should note Regis Toomey, Laraine Day, Douglas Kennedy, and Gonzales Gonzales. Among the main characters, Wayne, David Brian, Sindey Blackmer, Claire Trevor, John Howard, Julie Bishop, Robert Newton, Phil Harris, John Qualen and Robert Stack all do standout work. The scene where luggage is jettisoned to lighten the plane, the gradual revelation of the aircraft's problems, the dialogue sequences and the entire atmosphere of the film--as well as the gripping climactic approach to San Francisco--are all memorable.achievements in my view. Watch for Wayne's explanation that they will probably have to ditch, addressed to all the passengers. This is a nearly-great and unarguably a deservedly popular film.

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See more (158 total) »

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I loved it! MedioSiglo
I'm watching the moving that 'Airplane' parodies benivere
*SPOILER* Question about the ending eugenie51
Completely ridiculous passenger drama Casey-52
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Uhm...yeah. Okay. Metaljeeper
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