IMDb > Toward the Unknown (1956)
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Toward the Unknown (1956) More at IMDbPro »

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Down 1% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Beirne Lay Jr. (written by)
View company contact information for Toward the Unknown on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
October 1956 (USA) See more »
ROCKET SHIP PILOTS, U.S.A.! (original print ad - all caps) See more »
At the dawn of supersonic flight in the 1950s a group of Edwards Air Force Base experimental aircraft test pilots push themselves to the limit. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Somebody needs to release this movie to video or DVD!!! See more (30 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

William Holden ... Maj. Lincoln Bond

Lloyd Nolan ... Brig. Gen. Bill Banner
Virginia Leith ... Connie Mitchell

Charles McGraw ... Col. 'Mickey' McKee

Murray Hamilton ... Maj. Bromo Lee

Paul Fix ... Lt. Gen. Bryan Shelby

James Garner ... Lt. Col. Joe Craven

L.Q. Jones ... 2nd Lt. Sweeney

Karen Steele ... Polly Craven
Bartlett Robinson ... Senator Black

Malcolm Atterbury ... Hank - Bell Technical Rep.

Ralph Moody ... Harvey Gilbert
Maura Murphy ... Sarah McKee
Carol Kelly ... Debbie
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Richard H. Cutting ... Doc Bailey - Flight Surgeon (uncredited)
John Daheim ... Stranger in Nightclub Fight (uncredited)
Cathy Ferrara ... Lucy Craven (uncredited)

Don C. Harvey ... Jerry the Bartender (uncredited)
William Henry ... AP Captain (uncredited)
Robert Hover ... Pilot (uncredited)
Les Johnson ... Pilot (uncredited)

Nelson Leigh ... Chaplain (uncredited)

Jon Provost ... Joe Craven Jr. (uncredited)
Autumn Russell ... Harriet (uncredited)
Jeffrey Sayre ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Mickey Simpson ... Gate Guard - Edwards A.F.B. (uncredited)
Bob Stratton ... Jimmy (uncredited)

James Westmoreland ... Pilot (uncredited)
Will J. White ... AP Sergeant (uncredited)
Jean Willes ... Carmen (uncredited)
James S. Wilson ... Chase Pilot (uncredited)

Directed by
Mervyn LeRoy 
Writing credits
Beirne Lay Jr. (written by)

Produced by
Beirne Lay Jr. .... associate producer
Mervyn LeRoy .... producer
Original Music by
Paul Baron 
Cinematography by
Harold Rosson (director of photography) (as Hal Rosson)
Film Editing by
William H. Ziegler  (as William Ziegler)
Art Direction by
John Beckman 
Set Decoration by
Ralph S. Hurst  (as Ralph Hurst)
Costume Design by
Moss Mabry 
Makeup Department
Gordon Bau .... makeup supervisor
Production Management
Mel Dellar .... unit manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Al Alleborn .... assistant director: second unit
Russell Llewellyn .... assistant director
Russell Saunders .... second unit director (as Russ Saunders)
Sound Department
Stanley Jones .... sound
Special Effects by
Hans F. Koenekamp .... special effects (as H.F. Koenekamp)
Leo K. Kuter .... special effects art director (as Leo E. Kuter)
Camera and Electrical Department
Harold E. Wellman .... photography: second unit
Paul Mantz .... aerial director of photography (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Thomas Reilly .... film editor: second unit
Other crew
Frank Everest .... technical advisor (as Lt. Col. Frank Everest Jr. ARDC)
Price Henry .... technical advisor (as Maj. Price Henry ARDC)
Ralph Martin .... technical advisor (as Lt. Col. Ralph Martin ARDC)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
115 min
Color (WarnerColor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound Recording)
Finland:K-12 | Sweden:15 | USA:Approved (certificate #17997)

Did You Know?

The scene with William Holden losing control and tumbling in the X-2 is depicted with actual footage from test pilot Chuck Yeager's 70,000-foot freefall in the Bell X-1A in 1953.See more »
Factual errors: Early in the film when Bond observes General Banner crash his aircraft, it's referred to as an "F-102". In reality the hulk that Banner is pulled from is a Convair XF-92, the experimental predecessor to the F-102 Delta Dagger.See more »
Brig. Gen. Bill Banner:[to Maj. Lincoln Bond] Even with torture, you're not the kind to crack.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Story of Esther Costello (1957)See more »
The U.S. Air ForceSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
14 out of 15 people found the following review useful.
Somebody needs to release this movie to video or DVD!!!, 1 August 2002
Author: Rozz from Quincy, FL USA

As a life-long military aviation buff,this is one of my favorite movies. Other reviewers here have mentioned that it contains a few technical inaccuracies and some formulaic characters and plot devices.This is true, but it is a piece of '50s film-making and some of that is to be expected.It has also been mentioned as a great companion piece to "The Right Stuff", with which I wholly agree. In 1984, when seeing TRS for the first time, I thought "The folks who made this obviously saw "Toward the Unknown" and copied some of its style", especially in the scenes where aircraft are shown from above climbing towards the camera with the desert in the background. One reviewer refers to the "fictitious bomber" in the movie. The bomber was quite real, being the XB-51, which was tested but never adopted for service. I've always been a fan of the "X" series of rocket planes and the pilots who flew them, and the inclusion of the beautiful, dart-like Bell X-2 in this film is one of its highlights for me. About fifteen years ago I had a taped from TV copy of this movie that I got off of TBS or TNT, but it is long since bit the dust. I'd dearly love to have it on DVD.

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