65 user 28 critic

Zero Hour! (1957)

Passed | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 1958 (West Germany)
2:04 | Trailer
In 1950s Canada, during a commercial flight, the pilots and some passengers suffer food poisoning, thus forcing an ex-WW2 fighter pilot to try to land the airliner in heavy fog.


Hall Bartlett


Arthur Hailey (screenplay), Hall Bartlett (screenplay) | 2 more credits »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Dana Andrews ... Lt. Ted Stryker
Linda Darnell ... Ellen Stryker
Sterling Hayden ... Capt. Martin Treleaven
Elroy 'Crazylegs' Hirsch ... Capt. Bill Wilson
Geoffrey Toone ... Dr. Baird
Jerry Paris ... Tony Decker
Peggy King ... Stewardess Janet Turner
Patricia Tiernan ... Mrs. Joan Wilson (as Carole Eden)
Charles Quinlivan ... Harry Burdick
Steve London ... First Officer Walt Stewart
Jo Ann Wade Jo Ann Wade ... Treleaven's Baby Sitter
Ray Ferrell Ray Ferrell ... Joey Stryker (as Raymond Ferrell)
John Ashley ... TV Singer
Willis Bouchey ... RCAF Doctor
Maxine Cooper ... Sick Plane Passenger


A routine flight turns into a major emergency as passengers and crew succumb to food poisoning - is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane? If that sounds vaguely familiar, it's because 'Airplane' was a send-up of this forerunner of the 1970s disaster movie.. Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Builds To The TENSEST 50 MINUTES IN THE HISTORY OF THE SCREEN (original print ad-mostly caps) See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Early in the flight three male passengers are sharing a drink and talking about football. The Scotsman in the trio is explaining a new player position recently introduced to the game called a "flanker," which he describes as being impossible to defend against. In reality the position of flanker was created in the 1950s by Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch, the pro football player turned actor who played Capt. Wilson in this film. See more »


The yoke movements are much exaggerated in comparison to real life, both when the pilots fly, and when the autopilot is engaged. Also, the attitude of the plane in some of the outside views doesn't tally with the cockpit view, for instance turning and descending when the instruments show it in straight and level flight. See more »


Capt. Bill Wilson, Pilot: Come on, move up here, you can see better.
[takes out a toy DC-4]
Capt. Bill Wilson, Pilot: Joey, here's something we give our special visitors. Would you like to have it?
Joey Stryker: Thank you! Thanks a lot?
Capt. Bill Wilson, Pilot: You ever been in a cockpit before?
Joey Stryker: No, sir! I've never been up in a plane before!
See more »


Featured in 30 Greatest Disaster Movies (2015) See more »


The Gliss Jump
Composed by Billy Regis
Played by Billy Regis Band (as The Billy Regis Band)
See more »

User Reviews

"Our survival hinges on one thing - finding someone who not only can fly this plane, but didn't have fish for dinner."
22 August 2007 | by bensonmum2See all my reviews

It's like déjà vu all over again. Until last night, I had never seen Zero Hour!, but I feel as if I've seen it a dozen times. I knew that some of Airplane! (the sick girl and singing nun for example) came from Airport, but I had no idea just how much was taken from Zero Hour! Airplane! is like some weird comedic remake or re-imaging of Zero Hour! - and they nailed it right down to the exclamation mark. And it's not just ideas or concepts that were taken from Zero Hour!, entire sections of dialogue were lifted and used in Airplane! I'm shocked to discover that lines like "I guess I picked the wrong week to give up smoking" weren't written especially for Airplane! The dialogue is so similar that when little Joey visits the cockpit and the captain asks if he's ever been in cockpit before, I kept waiting for him to ask "Have you ever seen a grown man naked?" as he does in Airplane! Even some of the performances in Airplane! are eerily reminiscent of Zero Hour! Take Robert Stack in the role originally done by Sterling Hayden. Amazing stuff! The funny thing to me about this example, however, is that Hayden is actually more intense in the role than Stack could have dreamed.

Giving a rating to Zero Hour! is difficult. Even if you've only seen Airplane! once (and I've probably seen it a couple of dozen times over the years), it's all but impossible to keep a straight face (Who am I kidding? It's impossible not to downright laugh out loud.) when Johnny goes to make coffee or when Stryker straights sweating buckets behind the controls of the plane. It's impossible to take the melodrama of Zero Hour! seriously. So I don't know how I would rate the movie had I never seen Airplane! I would like to think I would have still enjoyed the experience and would have formed a similar opinion. But I have seen Airplane!, so I have that built in bias. In the end, because the movie kept me entertained (for whatever reason) throughout it's brief 81 minute runtime, I'm rating Zero Hour! a 7/10.

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Release Date:

1958 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Zero Hour! See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Ana, California, USA


Box Office


$400,764 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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