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The High and the Mighty (1954)

Not Rated | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 3 July 1954 (USA)
Trailer
2:53 | Trailer
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

Writers:

Ernest K. Gann (screenplay), Ernest K. Gann (novel)
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Wayne ... Dan Roman
Claire Trevor ... May Holst
Laraine Day ... Lydia Rice
Robert Stack ... John Sullivan
Jan Sterling ... Sally McKee
Phil Harris ... Ed Joseph
Robert Newton ... Gustave Pardee
David Brian ... Ken Childs
Paul Kelly ... Donald Flaherty
Sidney Blackmer ... Humphrey Agnew
Julie Bishop ... Lillian Pardee
Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez ... Gonzales (as Gonzalez Gonzalez)
John Howard ... Howard Rice
Wally Brown ... Lenny Wilby, navigator
William Campbell ... Hobie Wheeler
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Storyline

On a flight from Hawaii to California, the engine dies on the plane Dan is flying. As he prepares for a crash landing, the passengers reassess their lives. The template for disaster movies with an Oscar-winning score and a cast list that reads like a who's who of 1950s film. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The 2-Year Best-Seller Sensation! The Year's Greatest Cast! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 July 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

William A. Wellman's The High and the Mighty See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,470,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo | Mono (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Color (WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ernest Gann's novel clearly indicates that the character of Sally McKee has resorted to prostitution in order to survive. The film version, made at the height of Hollywood censorship, was unable to explicitly state this; however, Gann slyly managed to insinuate the information during Sally's entrance, wherein two sailors at the Honolulu airport recognize her and pointedly remark, "Hey, look! Remember?" See more »

Goofs

In the flashback story her husband tells, Clara Joseph falls down some stairs and kicks a waiter's tray in the process. However, when they cut from the closeup of her feet, she is obviously sitting on the bottom step. She then leans back, takes aim, and kicks the tray. She then lies back like it was all one continuous motion. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ben Sneed: Hey fella, ain't you Dan Roman?
Dan Roman: Yeah.
Ben Sneed: I heard you whistlin' and I said to myself only one guy does that just so.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A very few prints were made for release in the Los Angeles area during December, 1954 which included a vocal version of the Main Theme from "The High and the Mighty" in the closing credits. This was done to qualify the film for eligibility in the AMPAS Best Song category for the year. However, the Best Song award went to "Three Coins in the Fountain". See more »

Connections

Referenced in I Love Lucy: Lucy and John Wayne (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech
Traditional
Whistled by John Wayne
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Worth the Wait
4 October 2005 | by Mike-764See all my reviews

Trans Ocean Pacific's flight from Honolulu to San Francisco seems to proceed with no problems until one of the four engines catches fire midway on the flight which causes one of the gas tanks to leak. The crew tries to prepare to land the plane in the bay to be rescued, while experienced co-pilot Dan Roman conserve the remaining fuel to get the plane to land in the San Francisco Airport. The widely heterogeneous group of passengers which include a disgruntled man who believes his wife had an affair with one of the other passengers, a female who is hoping her man will love her despite her age, a couple on the brink of divorce, and others have to make the best of their situation and hope its not the last moments they will spend alive. Very good film that took forever to get to DVD, but seems to be worth it. Excellent performances by all and Tiomkin's score is excellent and so memorable you'll be whistling or humming it for days. The film (like many air disaster epics) seems to run a bit too long, but there is a lot of emotion to be played out here. Rating 8.


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