36 user 18 critic

Command Decision (1948)

Passed | | Action, Drama, War | February 1949 (USA)
3:22 | Trailer
Army generals struggle with the decision to prioritize bombing the German factories producing new jet fighters over the extremely high casualties the mission will cost.


Sam Wood


William R. Laidlaw (screenplay), George Froeschel (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Clark Gable ... Brig. Gen. K.C. 'Casey' Dennis
Walter Pidgeon ... Maj. AGen. Roland Goodlow Kane
Van Johnson ... T / Sgt. Immanuel T. Evans
Brian Donlevy ... Brig. Gen. Clifton I. Garnet
Charles Bickford ... Elmer Brockhurst
John Hodiak ... Col. Edward Rayton Martin
Edward Arnold ... Congressman Arthur Malcolm
Marshall Thompson ... Capt. George Washington Bellpepper Lee
Richard Quine ... Maj. George Rockton
Cameron Mitchell ... Lt. Ansel Goldberg
Clinton Sundberg ... Maj. Homer V. Prescott
Ray Collins ... Maj. Desmond Lansing
Warner Anderson ... Col. Earnest Haley
John McIntire ... Maj. Belding Davis
Moroni Olsen ... Congressman Stone


General Dennis of the US Force in England in World War II finds that he must order his planes deeper and deeper into Germany to prevent the production of military jet planes that will turn the tide of battle to the Germans. He must fight congressmen, and his own chain of command to win the political battle before he can send his planes out. His problem is complicated by a very narrow window of good weather necessary to allow his effort to be successful. Adapted from a stage play, it attempts to look at the challenges of command in the political arena. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Heroes, cowards, fighters, braggarts, liars...and what goes on in their hearts! See more »


Action | Drama | War


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This film did very well at the box office, but because of high production costs MGM lost $130,000 ($1.37M in 2018) according to studio records. See more »


When General Dennis tries to talk down the bombardier flying the crippled bomber, the bombardier reports that the aircraft's fuel is exhausted. Presumably he had also dropped his bomb load over the target. His on-board supply of machine gun ammunition should be very low if not exhausted. Yet when the bomber crashes, it explodes and burns. If he has no bombs, no gas , and no machine gun ammunition, what's to burn? See more »


Brig. Gen. K.C. 'Casey' Dennis: There's no room in this job for a personal slant, Cliff.
Brig. Gen. Clifton I. Garnet: He told me he was going to be married.
Brig. Gen. K.C. 'Casey' Dennis: Yes, I know. You can only hope you don't have to kill him before he does. It's your baby, Cliff. I found out long ago to let the chaplain handle those. He's our laison with the headquarters that decides that.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »


Featured in War Movie Blockbusters (2015) See more »

User Reviews

Under-Appreciated, A Great War-Movie
25 April 2001 | by shaman-7See all my reviews

This is an under-appreciated gem of a move.

To start with, the core story sounds utterly fantastic, but it is partly true. There was never a "Lance-Wulf 190", but there really was a Messerschmidt Me-262 in World War 2. The Me-262 wasn't quite the wonder-plane which the mythical Lance-Wulf was, but it was a swept-wing jet with a top speed of 540 mph, a blinding speed for the time. And, as fighter pilots say, "speed is life".

American bombing in August, 1943 did delay the introduction of the real Me-262. (The pre-production aircraft were wrecked on an assembly line, forcing a delay of several months.) The irony is that the German jet fighter program was really stymied by Hitler's aversion to defensive weapons and the German feeling that the war could be won with existing fighter types.

There is, however, a "message" in this film which fully applies to civilian life. You know that everything is okay just now, but this will soon come to an end. Given those facts, are you willing to take some massive losses now and solve the problem? Or do you just wait for the situation to become visible to everyone before you act?

I don't know how many times I've seen people--even bright ones--opt for the "wait and see" course of action. It never works.

Just as Betty Davis's 1938 film "Jezebel" was overshadowed by "Gone With The Wind", this film was overshadowed by "Twelve O'Clock High".

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Release Date:

February 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sublime decisión See more »


Box Office


$2,467,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)


Black and White (archive footage)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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