7.0/10
2,775
76 user 22 critic

Island in the Sky (1953)

Trailer
2:43 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $9.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
A C-47 transport plane, named the Corsair, makes a forced landing in the frozen wastes of Labrador, and the plane's pilot, Captain Dooley, must keep his men alive in deadly conditions while waiting for rescue.

Director:

William A. Wellman

Writers:

Ernest K. Gann (screenplay), Ernest K. Gann (novel)
Reviews

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

When a commercial airliner develops engine problems on a trans-Pacific flight and the pilot loses his nerve, it is up to the washed-up co-pilot Dan Roman to bring the plane in safely.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Laraine Day
The Sea Chase (1955)
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

As World War II begins, German freighter Captain Karl Ehrlich tries to get his ship back to Germany through a gauntlet of Allied warships.

Director: John Farrow
Stars: John Wayne, Lana Turner, David Farrar
Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

During the 1860s in the South Pacific, Capt. Ralls, skipper of the Red Witch, has a series of adventures involving sunken gold bullion, pearls, natives, an unscrupulous ship owner and a giant octopus.

Director: Edward Ludwig
Stars: John Wayne, Gail Russell, Gig Young
Blood Alley (1955)
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

His ship seized by the Chinese Communists, American Merchant Captain Tom Wilder languishes in prison but Chinese villagers help him escape to sail them to Hong-Kong.

Directors: William A. Wellman, John Wayne
Stars: John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Paul Fix
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

During WWII, a submarine's second in command inherits the problem of torpedoes that don't explode. When on shore, he is eager to win back his ex-wife.

Director: George Waggner
Stars: John Wayne, Patricia Neal, Ward Bond
Crime | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

In the post-war Hawaii, House Un-American Activities Committee investigators Jim McLain and Mal Baxter hunt down Communists.

Director: Edward Ludwig
Stars: John Wayne, Nancy Olson, James Arness
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Struggling to retain custody of his daughter following his divorce, football coach Steve Williams finds himself embroiled in a recruiting scandal at the tiny Catholic college he is trying ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: John Wayne, Donna Reed, Charles Coburn
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Major Kirby leads The Wildcats squadron into the historic WWII battle of Guadalcanal.

Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: John Wayne, Robert Ryan, Don Taylor
Flying Tigers (1942)
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Capt. Jim Gordon's command of the famed American mercenary fighter group in China is complicated by the recruitment of an old friend who is a reckless hotshot.

Director: David Miller
Stars: John Wayne, John Carroll, Anna Lee
Tycoon (1947)
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

In South America, an American engineer is asked by his boss to build a mountain railroad tunnel following a shorter but more dangerous route.

Director: Richard Wallace
Stars: John Wayne, Laraine Day, Cedric Hardwicke
Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A biography of Navy flier-turned-screenwriter Frank W. "Spig" Read.

Director: John Ford
Stars: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Dan Dailey
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In 1818 Alabama, French settlers are pitted against greedy land-grabber Blake Randolph but Kentucky militiaman John Breen, who's smitten with French gal Fleurette De Marchand, comes to the settlers' aid.

Director: George Waggner
Stars: John Wayne, Vera Ralston, Philip Dorn
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Wayne ... Capt. Dooley
Lloyd Nolan ... Captain Stutz
Walter Abel ... Col. Fuller
James Arness ... Mac McMullen
Andy Devine ... Willie Moon
Allyn Joslyn ... J.H. Handy
Jimmy Lydon ... Murray (as James Lydon)
Harry Carey Jr. ... Ralph Hunt
Hal Baylor ... Stankowski
Sean McClory ... Frank Lovatt
Wally Cassell ... D'Annunzia
Gordon Jones ... Walrus
Frank Fenton ... Capt. Turner
Robert Keys Robert Keys ... Maj. Ditson
Sumner Getchell ... Lt. Cord
Edit

Storyline

A C-47 transport plane, named the Corsair, makes a forced landing in the frozen wastes of Labrador, and the plane's pilot, Captain Dooley, must keep his men alive in deadly conditions while waiting for rescue.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

With All the White Hell of the Wasteland Against Him Dooley Was Beating His Way Back! See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 September 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

William A. Wellman's Island in the Sky See more »

Filming Locations:

White Mountains, Arizona, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$967,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (WarnerPhonic/RCA Sound System)| 4-Track Stereo (WarnerPhonic/RCA)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This was one of just three films released theatrically in "WarnerPhonic" sound, an early four-channel surround sound system. Unfortunately, only the mono version of the soundtrack has survived. See more »

Goofs

Hearing an incorrect latitude reading, Dooley says it could put them in Paris, Vladivostok, or Bangor ME, "all on the same latitude". The last two cities are at latitudes 43.1° and 44.8° north, which might be considered roundly the same, but Paris is significantly farther north at 48.8°. As a pilot with experience on Atlantic flights, Dooley would certainly know this. See more »

Quotes

Capt. Dooley: I know you're down in the middle of a big nowhere. They're all dependant. I ate today and it's still strong. But tomorrow. So find food, that's number one. Find out where nowhere is, that's number two. And you can help the others find nowhere. They'll come, they won't leave you alone waiting on a pin point of nowhere.
See more »

Connections

Version of Fate Is the Hunter (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

Island in The Sky
(uncredited)
Written by Emil Newman, Hugo Friedhofer and Johnny Lehmann
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Battling the elements instead of the bad guys
14 May 2005 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

All I can say is the Wayne family estate is really making the Duke's fans salivate over seeing this film and The High and the Mighty. Island in the Sky came first and a lot of the same people have credits on this and The High and the Mighty. William Wellman directed both, both from novels by Ernest K. Gann, and William Clothier photographed the aerial sequences in both.

The only criticism I have of Island in the Sky is that I wish it had been done in color. Those bleak vistas of the tundra where Wayne and his crew are stranded would have really been outstanding in color.

John Wayne and his crew have to make a forced landing in the bleak tundra of very northern Quebec and they have to hope to be rescued before to long. It's either freezing or starvation, not a pleasant choice. The Duke is a civilian pilot contracted to the army to fly supplies.

When word of the fact he's down gets out his fellow civilian pilot contractors drop whatever they're doing to search for Wayne. The rest of the film is the story of that search and as the action shifts back and forth from the search to the men on the ground, the suspense never lets up. Wayne gives one of his outstanding performances as the pilot in charge who has to hold his crew together until rescue comes. Some closeup shots reveal his torment, but the men must never see it. This is a different John Wayne, battling the elements instead of bad guys.

He gets great support from a great cast of players. I'd like to single out Lloyd Nolan and Sean McClory in particular. Lloyd Nolan is one of the other pilots searching and he has a terrific scene on the telephone with the wife of one of Wayne's crew, trying to comfort her and give her hope and hopefully psyche himself up. It's beautifully played.

Sean McClory is one of Wayne's crew on the ground and I won't tell you his scene, but it is unforgettable and haunting.

Of course the credit here also goes to director William Wellman. Wellman before he became a director was a real adventuring character in his youth which included a stint in the Lafayette Escadrille. He developed a life long love of aviation and a lot of his films have an aviation background and theme.

One other thing that's probably reason enough to get this film if it comes out. Andy Devine is another of the pilots searching for Wayne. A call is placed to his home and his wife in turn relays it to Andy who is at a public pool with his two kids. He takes the call and then says we have to leave, but one more race to the other side of the pool. He tosses the kids in and then does a great belly flop dive in the pool himself.

Andy was a big fat man. God only knows where they got a bathing suit to fit him. But he's quite a sight doing that dive and in a bathing suit.

If it is ever shown on TV catch it if at all possible.


34 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 76 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed