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Wings of the Navy (1939)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 11 February 1939 (USA)
Jerry and Cass have always been competitive. Now that Cass is a well respected Naval aviator like his father, Jerry leaves the submarine service to become a flying cadet with Class 61 at ... See full summary »


Lloyd Bacon


Michael Fessier (original screenplay)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
George Brent ... Cass Harrington
Olivia de Havilland ... Irene Dale
John Payne ... Jerry Harrington
Frank McHugh ... Scat Allen
John Litel ... Commander Clark
Victor Jory ... Lt. Parsons
Henry O'Neill ... Prologue Speaker
John Ridgely ... Dan Morrison
John Gallaudet ... Lt. Harry White
Donald Briggs ... Instructor
Edgar Edwards ... Ted Parsons
Regis Toomey ... First Flight Instructor
Alberto Morin ... Armando Costa (as Albert Morin)
Jonathan Hale ... Commandant
Pierre Watkin ... Capt. March


Jerry and Cass have always been competitive. Now that Cass is a well respected Naval aviator like his father, Jerry leaves the submarine service to become a flying cadet with Class 61 at Pensacola. During training, Jerry meets and falls for Cass's fiancée Irene. After air sickness, jitters and a crash landing, Jerry gets his wings. Cass is not as lucky as he is crippled in a crash and must retire. Cass designs a new fighter for the Navy as Jerry pilots flying boats in San Diego. Jerry will do anything to show Cass that he is a better pilot, even if it means leaving the Navy to test the experimental fighter that killed test pilot Steve Conners. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

11 February 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Asas da Esquadra See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The "experimental" plane Cass demonstrates to the Navy is actually a Grumman F3F fighter - the last biplane purchased by the U.S. Navy. It entered service in 1936 and was withdrawn from front-line service by the end of 1941 and transfered to training units. Only 147 were built. See more »


When the trainees arrive Pensacola there are several shots of planes taxiing and flying. In the background there are mountains, which do not exist around Pensacola. Rather, the scenes were filmed at North Island Naval Air Station, San Diego CA and Point Loma was the mountainous area in the background. See more »


Featured in Each Dawn I Die (1939) See more »


Wings Over the Navy
(1938) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played during the opening credits and often throughout the film
See more »

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User Reviews

An Aviation Buff's Delight
23 May 2009 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Covering a lot of the same ground, but a year earlier than MGM's Flight Command, Wings Of The Navy is one of those military preparedness films that Hollywood was importuned to make by the powers that be in Washington, DC. Those folks knew that we would be in a shooting war and shortly and this was their way of getting America psychologically ready.

George Brent and John Payne play a pair of brothers who are career Navy men, Annapolis graduates and sons of a late naval hero. Dad was an early Navy pilot and Brent has followed in his footsteps. Payne would like to do the same, but he's in the submarine service. Nevermind, Payne gets himself a transfer much to Brent's displeasure because Payne's a competitive sort and likely to get himself killed trying to out do big brother.

The brothers are also rivals for Olivia DeHavilland who was once again in a thankless role of the girl who was the object. For someone of her talents, DeHavilland had precious little to do except look pretty. She was desperately trying to get roles of more substance. She would shortly in Gone With The Wind that same year of 1939.

Wings Of The Navy is a real treat for aviation buffs with the various types of planes that were the latest thing in 1939 being shown. Also some even earlier types of planes were what the Navy was training with even then. We lagged far behind Germany and Japan and even Great Britain at this point.

After World War II when President Truman decided to consolidate the services into one Department of Defense, the big sticking point was Naval Aviation. The Army was willing to let their Army Air Force become a separate Air Force service, the Navy insisted on controlling its planes that were taking off and landing from carriers. The compromise was reached and both the separate Air Force and the Navy controlling its aviation service was allowed. What we see here in Wings Of The Navy is a stage in the development of Naval aviation that helped win the Pacific War.

And it is to those who were in that service in that war that this film review is respectfully dedicated.

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