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Flat Top (1952)

Approved | | Drama, War | 26 October 1952 (USA)
During the Korean War, aboard the U.S.S. Princeton, Navy Commander Dan Collier reminisces about his first assignment on the same aircraft carrier in the war against Japan.


Lesley Selander


Steve Fisher
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Sterling Hayden ... Cmdr. Dan Collier
Richard Carlson ... Lt. (j.g.) Joe Rodgers
William Phipps ... Red Kelley (as Bill Phipps)
John Bromfield ... Ens. Snakehips McKay
Keith Larsen ... Ens. Barney Smith / Barney Oldfield
William Schallert ... Ens. Longfellow
Todd Karns ... Judge
Phyllis Coates ... Dorothy Collier
Dave Willock ... Willie
Walter Coy ... Air Group Commander
Learn more

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Group Commander Dan Collier, on an aircraft carrier in Korean waters during the Korean War, starts to think back to the rough days of the air-war against Japan during World War II, when he was in the same squadron. In flashbacks, he recalls the arrival of the squadron, led by Executive Officer Joe Rodgers, and the campaigns in which the squadron participated and its desperate fight for survival prior to the climax of the war. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


in thrilling COLOR See more »


Drama | War


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This film utilized actual newsreel footage edited into the movie. See more »


Although the squadron is supposedly providing ground attack and air cover for the 1944 invasion of the Philippines, some of the combat footage clearly shows Iwo Jima and Mt. Suribachi. See more »


Referenced in Sex, Censorship and the Silver Screen: Censored (1996) See more »

User Reviews

You could do better than this...
26 October 2011 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

ugly film--lots of degraded/fuzzy actual color stock footage. dropping torpedo?! Coursairs becoming Hellcats Hayden a bit one-dimensional and the men are rather mutinous! pretty much "Flying Leathernecks" Jack Larson

"Flat Top" is from a genre that few have heard of--crappy war films that are made up of HUGE chunks of stock footage. Rarely is the footage used well and in almost every case, the real footage is obvious because it's so grainy--and often a bit irrelevant. While I love a good airplane film, I hate most of these films because historical accuracy is unimportant--slapping together old clips into a semi-coherent movie to save a few bucks is all that matters. Can you tell that I was not a huge fan of this film?

As I said, the clips often are poorly done. In this film, it's better than many but as a guy who knows quite a bit about WWII aircraft, I was shocked to see what were supposed to be a Coursair fighter plane dropping a torpedo (this is like a guy giving birth--it just won't happen). Many times, instead of Coursairs, the film shows Hellcats--both excellent Navy fighter planes but they looked nothing alike. But when a Coursair suddenly becomes a Hellcat in mid-air (or vice-versa), it's just very sloppy. Also, and this is picky, I know, but they show post-WWII Coursairs as well (with the four screw propellers instead of three) as well as a Skyraider (DEFINITELY a post-WWII plane). And, as I pointed out above, the clips they used were in color but VERY fuzzy and often seemed like filler--and almost all the crashing into the deck shots have been used before repeatedly in other films!

As for the plot, it's VERY standard fare--and it pretty much "The Flying Leathernecks" and a bunch of other films all over again. You have a tough-as-nails commander (Sterling Hayden) and a second officer (Richard Carlson) who is more concerned about being pals with the men. Somehow these two completely incompatible approaches need to be reconciled. To make things worse, this isn't that interesting a film to plane and non-plane buffs.

Sloppy, derivative and not particularly good. Unless you are REALLY bored, you could do a lot better.

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Release Date:

26 October 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Aguilas de la armada See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Monogram Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)


Color (archive footage)| Color (Cinecolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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