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Night Flight (1933)

Passed | | Adventure, Drama, Romance | 6 October 1933 (USA)
Polio breaks out in Rio de Janeiro, the serum is in Santiago and there's only one way to get the medicine where it's desperately needed: flown in by daring pilots who risk the treacherous weather and forbidding peaks of the Andes.


Clarence Brown


Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (novel), Oliver H.P. Garrett (screenplay)




Cast overview, first billed only:
John Barrymore ... Riviere
Helen Hayes ... Simone Fabian
Clark Gable ... Jules Fabian
Lionel Barrymore ... Insp. Robineau
Robert Montgomery ... Auguste Pellerin
Myrna Loy ... Wife of Brazilian Pilot
William Gargan ... Brazilian Pilot
C. Henry Gordon ... Daudet
Leslie Fenton ... Jules' Radio Operator / Co-Pilot
Harry Beresford ... Pierre Roblet
Frank Conroy ... Radio Operator
Dorothy Burgess ... Pellerin's Girlfriend
Irving Pichel ... Dr. Decosta
Helen Jerome Eddy ... Worried Mother
Buster Phelps ... Sick Child


Polio breaks out in Rio de Janeiro, the serum is in Santiago and there's only one way to get the medicine where it's desperately needed: flown in by daring pilots who risk the treacherous weather and forbidding peaks of the Andes.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


So big and compelling, so filled with tense emotion, studded with stars. that no lover of motion pictures would want to miss it! (Print Ad-Leader-Post, Regina, Sask.)) 22 March 1934) See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The third installment in MGM's spate of polished all-star vehicles that began with Grand Hotel (1932), a drama, and continued the following year with Dinner at Eight (1933), a comedy. Night Flight (1933) was envisioned as the studio's all-star entry in the adventure genre. The only actors to appear in all three of these films were John and Lionel Barrymore. See more »


At about the 10-minute mark, the shadow of the Patagonia biplane (the one piloted by J. Fabian, played by Clark Gable) is shown over various parts of the pasture-lands of Argentina. The shadows cast over the horse and herd of cattle below are that of a biplane, but the shadow going over the flock of sheep is clearly that of a monoplane, not a biplane. See more »


Wife of Brazilian Pilot: What's it all for? Just so somebody in Paris can get a postcard on Tuesday instead of Thursday?
See more »

Crazy Credits

During opening credits, the film title is done as "sky writing" by an airplane, and the plane is just finishing the last "T" on "flight". See more »


Featured in Maltin on Movies: Super 8 (2011) See more »


How Dry I Am
Sung by Robert Montgomery and Dorothy Burgess
See more »

User Reviews

All-Star Cast Makes it Worth Watching
10 July 2011 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Night Flight (1933)

*** (out of 4)

This MGM film features an all-star cast that includes John Barrymore, Clark Gable, Lionel Barrymore, Helen Hayes, Robert Montgomery and Myrna Loy and it's these stars that make the film worth viewing. The story centers on the true story of the Trans-Andean European Air Mail service, which broke grounds by doing the dangerous practice of running flights at night. The story centers on a demanding boss (J. Barrymore) who will stop at nothing to have his men in the air and this here leads to a pilot (Gable) getting caught out in a dangerous storm and not being able to land while his wife (Hayes) waits for his return. NIGHT FLIGHT was unavailable for viewing until recently when the rights were finally cleared and Warner was able to issue it on DVD. Many of the people who had gotten a chance to view the movie over the past several decades called it a major disappointment and this is true to a point but at the same time it's still a lot of fun seeing this great cast in one picture. I think the biggest problem is that the screenplay really isn't all that impressive and most of the drama never comes because the story never builds up any emotional connection to any of the people we meet. The Gable character is meant to be the backbone of the drama yet we never get to really meet him and we certainly never get to know him as all of his scenes are in the air and he's given very little dialogue. We view the wife as she worries about him but most of her dialogue is so poorly written that again you really get no connection. Another problem is that the story is all over the place in terms of what it's trying to do. On one hand it's a character drama but we don't get to know the characters. The next minute it's an aerial picture and this is where the movie really takes off but there's not nearly enough scenes of the men actually dealing with the dangers of flying at night. The best moment in the film happens early on when a pilot gets lost in some fog and ends up having to fly through some mountains to reach safety. There's plenty of drama in this short sequence and there's some minor drama at the end but not enough to really carry the picture. As I said, the main reason to watch NIGHT FLIGHT is for the all-star cast even though many of them are wasted. I found Hayes to be pretty bland in the picture and Montgomery really doesn't get much to work with either. Gable is good in his part but he really doesn't get much to do either except look brave while flying. John Barrymore chews up the scenery as only he can while brother Lionel has a few funny bits in his part. Still, it's fun getting to see the two of them act together. The rest of the stars never share any scenes together, which will come as a disappointment to many. NIGHT FLIGHT pretty much disappeared for seventy-years but thankfully it's gotten a wide release so more people can check it out but it's best not to expect a masterpiece.

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Release Date:

6 October 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Night Flight See more »

Filming Locations:

Denver, Colorado, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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