6.9/10
1,465
27 user 14 critic

The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell (1955)

A dramatization of the American general and his court martial for publically complaining about High Command's dismissal and neglect of the aerial fighting forces.

Director:

Otto Preminger

Writers:

Milton Sperling (story and screenplay), Emmet Lavery (story and screenplay)
Reviews

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ON DISC
ALL
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Adventure | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A disgraced merchant marine officer elects to stay aboard his sinking cargo ship in order to prove the vessel was deliberately scuttled and, as a result, vindicate his good name.

Director: Michael Anderson
Stars: Gary Cooper, Charlton Heston, Michael Redgrave
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

An army major, himself guilty of cowardice, is asked to recommend soldiers for the Congressional Medal of Honor during the Mexican Border Incursion of 1916.

Director: Robert Rossen
Stars: Gary Cooper, Rita Hayworth, Van Heflin
Run for Cover (1955)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Mistaken for train robbers, Matt Dow and Davey Bishop are shot at by the sheriff and his posse but they are cleared and hired as lawmen.

Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: James Cagney, Viveca Lindfors, John Derek
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Assistant district attorney Cleve Marshall falls for the mysterious Thelma Jordon when she seeks help solving robberies of her aunt's estate.

Director: Robert Siodmak
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Wendell Corey, Paul Kelly
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A strung-out junkie deals with a demoralizing drug addiction while his crippled wife and card sharks pull him down.

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Frank Sinatra, Kim Novak, Eleanor Parker
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An ex-pilot and current baseballer is recalled into the U.S. Air Force and assumes an increasingly important role in Cold War deterrence.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: James Stewart, June Allyson, Frank Lovejoy
Adventure | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A model agency in Rio de Janeiro is actually a front for a white-slavery ring that kidnaps European women and sells them on the South American sex market.

Director: Kurt Neumann
Stars: Scott Brady, Johanna Matz, Raymond Burr
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A trio of American adventurers marooned in rural Mexico are recruited by a beautiful woman to rescue her husband trapped in a cave in Apache territory.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Gary Cooper, Susan Hayward, Richard Widmark
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A young boy receives a rocking horse for Christmas and soon learns that he is able to pick the winning horse at the races.

Director: Anthony Pelissier
Stars: Valerie Hobson, John Howard Davies, Ronald Squire
Pursued (1947)
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A boy haunted by nightmares about the night his entire family was murdered is brought up by a neighboring family in the 1880s. He falls for his lovely adoptive sister but his nasty adoptive brother and mysterious uncle want him dead.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: Teresa Wright, Robert Mitchum, Judith Anderson
Comedy | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A good-natured saddle tramp traveling with his sidekick, is mistaken for a ruthless outlaw with a price on his head.

Director: Stuart Heisler
Stars: Gary Cooper, Loretta Young, William Demarest
Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Respectable citizens receive anonymous letters revealing their adulterous relationships.

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Linda Darnell, Charles Boyer, Michael Rennie
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Cooper ... Col. Billy Mitchell
Charles Bickford ... Gen. Jimmy Guthrie
Ralph Bellamy ... Congressman Frank R. Reid
Rod Steiger ... Maj. Allan Guillion
Elizabeth Montgomery ... Margaret Lansdowne
Fred Clark ... Col. Moreland
James Daly ... Lt. Col. Herbert White
Jack Lord ... Lt. Cmdr. Zachary 'Zack' Lansdowne
Peter Graves ... Capt. Bob Elliott
Darren McGavin ... Capt. Russ Peters
Robert F. Simon ... Adm. Gage (as Robert Simon)
Charles Dingle ... Sen. Fullerton
Dayton Lummis Dayton Lummis ... Gen. Douglas MacArthur
Tom McKee Tom McKee ... Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker
Stephen Roberts Stephen Roberts ... Maj. Carl Spaatz (as Steve Roberts)
Edit

Storyline

The true story of General Billy Mitchell, a pioneering crusader for the Army's fledgling air corp. In spite of an impressive performance during the First World War, the commanders of America's armed forces still think of the airplane as little more then a carnival attraction. Even after sinking an "unsinkable" captured German battleship from the air, Mitchell sees funds dry up and friends die due to poor equipment. He is court-martialed after questioning the loyalty of his superiors for allowing the air corp to deteriorate. Written by KC Hunt <khunt@eng.morgan.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He defied the army and navy . . . and they gave him a Court Martial!

Genres:

Biography | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 December 1955 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Condamné au silence See more »

Filming Locations:

El Monte, California, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Gross USA:

$3,000,000, 31 December 1955
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

United States Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (optical prints)| 4-Track Stereo (RCA Sound Recording) (magnetic prints)

Color:

Color (WarnerColor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The appearance of Major H. H. ("Hap") Arnold, played by Robert Brubaker in the film, is significant, for it was he who would authorize the famed Doolittle air attack on Tokyo in April 1942. The raid consisted of B-25 Mitchell bombers - named in honor of Billy Mitchell. See more »

Goofs

As Mitchell enters his Washington DC hotel, the ease with which he carries his suitcase and moves it around makes it obvious that it is empty. See more »

Quotes

Admiral William S. Sims: Just because you read a lot of books about golf, doesn't make you a good golfer.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in M*A*S*H: 5 O'Clock Charlie (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

The U.S. Air Force
(uncredited)
Music by Robert Crawford
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
The Court Martial of an Aviation Visionary
23 June 2005 | by theowinthropSee all my reviews

In 1925 the U.S. Naval Air Force's major new piece of military hardware was a zeppelin that had been built in Germany at the end of the First World War, which was given to the U.S as a reparation, and renamed the U.S.S. Shenandoah. The craft had a crack team running it, and it had an excellent head, Commander Zachary Landowne. It was in fair demand around the country, for most people believed that the future of long distance air travel would be in airships, not airplanes. So the Navy brass frequently sent the Shenandoah on public relations flights, rather than using it for military purposes or long distance flights.

It was sent to Ohio where local politicians wanted to use the zeppelin to impress voters. Unfortunately, there was a storm front with heavy thundershowers in the path of the zeppelin, and the zeppelin had recently had some damage to a fin on it's tale. There had been no time to repair the damage. So when the zeppelin crossed into the storm front, the zeppelin was ripped apart by the winds and crashed killing Landsdowne and fourteen men.

Landsdowne's close friend, Brigadier General Billy Mitchell was exceptionally critical of the disaster. He blamed the politicians and military brass who ordered the flight. As Mitchell had been long a thorn in the side of these two groups, as he tried to push his views on air power and the need for a unified, strong air force, he was charged with insubordination and ordered to be court martial-ed.

Gary Cooper plays Mitchell well, as an honest, honorable man, who realizes that the future will be only safe for those who have a strong air arm. He is fighting old fashion ideas, mouthed by old fashioned army leaders like Fred Clark. He does have allies like his lawyer, a Congressman played by Ralph Bellamy, and like one of the judges (General Douglas MacArthur - who was the only one to vote for acquittal). But the issue goes down to the Mitchell's insubordination. And this leads to the dramatic high point, when Cooper is cross-examined by the malicious and clever Rod Steiger. Steiger is able to get Cooper to not only reveal his lack of respect for the brass but to reveal his mistrust of the Japanese. That he is correct in the long run does not save him - he is found guilty and suspended without pay from the army for five years.

Mitchell died in 1936, not in time to see his vindication five years later. But he is remembered now as the real founder of the modern American Air Force. The film is a pretty good retelling of his story, and reminds us how frequently a prophet is despised and rejected in his or her time.


19 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 27 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed