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The High and the Mighty (1954)

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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)
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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

One disaster after another happens on this trans-Pacific flight. You have the pilot who loses his nerve! The washed-up co-pilot. The milquetoast flight engineer. The young hot shot second officer. And a cabin full of passengers with every range of problems and personalities there could possibly be. Here you have the Duke in a role he didn't want, and a movie with the title song that became Duke's theme. What else could any John Wayne fan want? It's all here, and then some. Written by williamsportump@chilitech.net

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

The lyrics to the noted title song are only heard at the very end, are sung by a large choral group, and are different from the familiar lyrics heard in the popular song released of the time. See more »

Goofs

When stewardess Spalding was preparing the liquor drinks, a problem with the plane caused a severe vibration. The table and the drinks shook, jumped and nearly fell, yet she did not shake, nor did the walls, or the curtain right behind her. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in The Our Gang Story (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

With Catlike Tread Upon Our Prey We Steal
(uncredited)
Music by Arthur Sullivan
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Great Movie that Really Moved Me!
13 August 2005 | by rsjs619See all my reviews

When I read the comments of others who say this movie "does not wear well," I have to laugh at much of the trash Hollywood has made the last few years. Much of what is made today doesn't even stand up against today's low standards.

The High and the Mighty actually has a STORY and characters who have conflicts, hopes, fears and loves.

I was a young boy of about six when our family flew the first United Airlines DC-7 flight from Honolulu to San Francisco. I can remember what it was like to hang high above the Pacific for many hours with four massive radial engines roaring outside the cabin. This movie captures the realism of such a flight.

This movie also brings back memories of how passengers DRESSED UP to fly in those days. The sloppy appearance of today's airline passengers is in marked contrast to the class exhibited by airline passengers of the fifties.

I even remember the Honolulu Airport of the early fifties and the look of the counters and can remember the fragrance of fresh flower leis as we walked through the airport. I remember how we walked out into the sunshine to board the plane by climbing steps to the cabin door.

Yes, this movie is a different world. It's Hawaii as a U.S. Territory, as when I lived there. It's a throwback to a time when pilots were fresh from a World War. Men acted more like gentlemen then, as they do in this movie, and ladies had a lot more class before our modern age made it acceptable for both sexes to be so crass.

The writing may seem archaic by modern Hollywood standards but it fit perfectly the era in which it was made and gives us a wonderful glimpse of the beginning of the golden age of commercial aviation.

This movie captures all of this brilliantly and provides a complex mix of characters living an ominous threat to their survival.

I loved it as a boy and love it now. I bought the Special Edition DVD just recently and love it immensely.

It has a lengthy series of featurettes and will surely please lovers of John Wayne and the rest of the cast and of this movie in particular.

As an additional footnote, I want to add the following: In the late 1970's, after I received my own private pilot's license, and after reading one of Ernest K. Gann's other books, I wrote a fan letter to Mr. Gann, with my comments about sharing his love of flying. It was simply addressed to him at San Juan Island, Washington. I was overjoyed to receive a very nice personal reply from this talented writer of the book and screenplay, "The High and the Mighty." He was a brilliant writer and his writing really captured the essence of flying in those golden years.


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