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The Wings of Eagles (1957)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Drama, War  |  22 February 1957 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 2,520 users  
Reviews: 29 user | 11 critic

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



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
'Jughead' Carson
Min Wead
John Dale Price
Adm. Moffett
Capt. Herbert Allen Hazard
James Todd ...
Jack Travis
Barry Kelley ...
Capt. Jock Clark
Sig Ruman ...
Henry O'Neill ...
Capt. Spear
Rose Brentmann


U.S. Navy pilot Frank 'Spig' Wead is a fun-loving and rowdy adventurer, but also a fierce proponent of Naval aviation. His dedication to the promotion of the Navy's flying program is so intense that his marriage and family life suffer. When an accident paralyzes him, Spig finds a new means of expressing his love of flying: screenwriting. Successful and acclaimed, he finds the U.S. entry into World War II to be an irresistible call. Pleading that he be reinstated in the Navy despite his paralysis, Spig finds he has an enormous contribution yet to make. Written by Jim Beaver <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


THE SKY'S THE LIMIT! (original print ad - all caps) See more »


Biography | Drama | War


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

22 February 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

L'aigle vole au soleil  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)|



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Most of the extras in the Pensacola, Florida, scenes were actual Navy flight students and flight instructors. Although the Navy objected, director John Ford made certain that the military men were paid "extra" wages. See more »


When on board the aircraft carrier, as "Spig" Wead (John Wayne) is leaving the ship, a plane is being towed in the background. The national insignia on the side of the aircraft is incorrect. There was no red stripe in the white bars that bordered the star during WWII. This version did not come into being until after the war. See more »


Frank W. 'Spig' Wead: [while trying to regain nerve control of his toes in the hospital] I'm gonna move that toe!
See more »


Edited into Midway (1976) See more »


Song of the Islands
By Charles E. King
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User Reviews

An excellent "non-war" movie about people who make winning wars possible.
28 July 2002 | by (Atlanta, GA) – See all my reviews

Despite the title and the time frame (and the misunderstanding of the movie by other reviewers), this is not a typical war movie. This movie is really a biography and personal study of the obsessiveness and dedication that is necessary in the technological nature of warfare today. In one respect it is too bad that the movie stars John Wayne because the expectation is that it would feature a "gung ho" performance. Instead it is an amazing acting effort by Wayne as a suffering, crippled, insensitive Navy officer and author whose vision and commitment made much of the Naval air force possible. It is an excellent performance by Wayne and almost more of a "stretch" for him than Dustin Hoffman portraying an autistic "Rainman."

13 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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