60 user 23 critic

Jet Pilot (1957)

Approved | | Action, Drama, Romance | 1 October 1957 (USA)
Air Force Colonel Jim Shannon is tasked to escort a defecting Soviet pilot who is scheming to lure Shannon to the USSR.


Jules Furthman




Complete credited cast:
John Wayne ... Col. Jim Shannon
Janet Leigh ... Lt. Anna Marladovna Shannon / Olga Orlief
Jay C. Flippen ... Maj. Gen. Black
Paul Fix ... Maj. Rexford
Richard Rober ... FBI Agent George Rivers
Roland Winters ... Col. Sokolov
Hans Conried ... Col. Matoff
Ivan Triesault ... Gen. Langrad


Air Force Colonel Shannon is assigned to escort defecting Soviet pilot Anna. He falls in love with her, but she is scheming to lure him back to the USSR. But Shannon has a scheme of his own. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


exploding with all the power of the jet age... with all the passion of a daring love story! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Location filming for the Soviet air base was done at George Air Force Base, a World War II air base with many of its wartime structures still intact, giving the base a primitive appearance. The 94th FS and its parent 1st Fighter Group were actually based at George during filming, and had just finished a deployment to Ladd Air Force Base, Alaska, as depicted in the storyline. See more »


Anna, despite being a stereotypical Russian agent in an American movie from the Cold War, surprisingly lacks a Russian accent. See more »


Lt. Anna Marladovna Shannon: [screaming at Jim] Give me back my pants!
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Crazy Credits

Some prints open with the RKO Radio logo, others with the Universal-International logo. See more »


Featured in The John Wayne Anthology (1991) See more »

User Reviews

A boring disappointing film courtesy of Howard Hughes
1 September 2018 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

This was filmed in 1950, and not released until 1957 due to producer Howard Hughes dissatisfaction with the finished film. He tinkered with various scenes for seven years, until the new aircraft he had wanted to showcase in 1950 was outdated by the time of the film's release. Scripted by Jules Furthman, it plays like a airborne remake of "Ninotchka" (1939) and 1950 anti-Communist philosophizing.

John Wayne plays Col. Jim Shannon of the Air Force. He and his squadron spot a Russian plane, flown by Olga (Janet Leigh). After getting her plane to land at the Air Force base, and questioning her, he falls in love with her. After courting her at the Pentagon's behest, so she will let information about Russia slip, he finds out she's a spy. The plot then goes into comic book territory, and loses all credibility and interest.

The script is the main problem. It changes tone from scene to scene, veering from far-fetched melodrama to crude comedy and back. Wayne plays his persona, not his character. Leigh goes from being brainy to being a "dumb blonde", with no explanation. The two do the best they can to be amusing.

I can barely tell von Sternberg directed the movie. The only sign of him is the many loving closeups Leigh is given. Winton C. Hoch directed the beautiful cinematography. Bronislau Kaper's score is much more amusing than the script.

This may be of interest to aviation buffs, and Wayne/Leigh/von Sternberg completists. All others beware.

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Release Date:

1 October 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jet Pilot See more »

Filming Locations:

Riverside, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$9,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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