6 user 9 critic

Ceiling Zero (1936)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, Romance | 16 January 1936 (USA)
War veteran pilots Dizzy Davis, Texas Clark and Jake Lee are working in an airline in Newark. Dizzy is flirting with the girlfriend of a younger pilot and, due to this, he feigns illness to... See full summary »


Howard Hawks


Frank Wead (play), Frank Wead (screenplay)
1 win. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
James Cagney ... Dizzy Davis
Pat O'Brien ... Jake L. Lee
June Travis ... Tommy Thomas
Stuart Erwin ... Texas Clarke
Barton MacLane ... Al Stone
Henry Wadsworth ... Tay Lawson
Martha Tibbetts Martha Tibbetts ... Mary Miller Lee
Isabel Jewell ... Lou Clarke
Craig Reynolds ... Joe Allen
Dick Purcell ... Smiley (as Dick Purcell)
Carlyle Moore Jr. ... Eddie Payson
Addison Richards ... Fred Adams
Garry Owen ... Mike Owens
Edward Gargan ... Doc Wilson
Robert Light ... Les Bogan


War veteran pilots Dizzy Davis, Texas Clark and Jake Lee are working in an airline in Newark. Dizzy is flirting with the girlfriend of a younger pilot and, due to this, he feigns illness to get Texas to take his flight assignment to Cleveland. Returning from Cleveland to Newark, Texas' plane crashes attempting to land on the airfield under extremely bad weather circumstances and he dies from this accident. Dizzy feels guilty for his friend's death and takes the next flight to Cleveland under even worse circumstances, testing a new anti-ice device on the plane. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


THE TWO MOST TERRIFYING WORDS IN A PILOT'S LIFE! (original poster-all caps) See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This film's earliest documented telecasts took place in Columbus Thursday 2 August 1956 on WTVN (Channel 6), in Tucson Monday 13 August 1956 on KDWI (Channel 9), in Indianapolis Saturday 18 August 1956 on WISH (Channel 8), and in Cincinnati Wednesday 5 December 1956 on WKRC (Channel 12). See more »


Referenced in Let's Stalk Spinach (1951) See more »


You Let Me Down
Music by Harry Warren
Played during the first scene at Mama Gini's restaurant
See more »

User Reviews

The Flawed Aviator
24 April 2006 | by zolaaarSee all my reviews

Mail pilot Dizzy Davis (James Cagney) is a daredevil and a womanizer like a textbook example. After he dropped a scheduled flight because of a rendezvous, his friend and colleague Texas Clarke (Stuart Erwin) stands in for him. Due to bad sight, the plane meets with an accident while landing, and Texas dies. Dizzy puts the blame on himself. To fix up that fatal error, he starts a bad weather kamikaze flight.

Hawks' preliminary study to "Only Angels Have Wings" is an absorbing aviator film which does not surprise very much though. A troup of airmen, intrepidly looking in death's eye, between the flight sequences, it's a drama of interiors. Duty and honor, lust and loyalty of professionals, a question of fast-paced flow of words and swifter movements. Hawks' (typical) flawed hero, played by the master of nimble gestures, James Cagney, is small and every handling an expression of his being. Although he flirts with June Travis and tries to impose his room keys on her, his love applies to his understanding chief and friend, the plagued Pat O'Brien.

Unfortunately, all this comes along as pretty conventional (particularly for a Hawks film), but is entertaining nonetheless with a great James Cagney in the lead.

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Release Date:

16 January 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Águilas heroicas See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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