26 user 5 critic

The Crowded Sky (1960)

Disaster movie about a Navy jet and a commercial airliner heading for a mid air collision.


Joseph Pevney


Charles Schnee (screenplay), Hank Searls (novel)


Airs Tue. Jul. 23, 5:30 PM on TCM



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dana Andrews ... Dick Barnett
Rhonda Fleming ... Cheryl Heath
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. ... Dale Heath
John Kerr ... Mike Rule
Anne Francis ... Kitty Foster
Keenan Wynn ... Nick Hyland
Troy Donahue ... McVey
Joe Mantell ... Louis Capelli
Patsy Kelly ... Gertrude Ross
Donald May ... Norm Coster
Louis Quinn ... Sidney Schreiber
Ed Kemmer ... Caesar (as Edward Kemmer)
Tom Gilson ... Rob Fermi
Hollis Irving ... Beatrice Wiley
Paul Genge ... Samuel N. Poole


A navy jet with a defective radio system and a passenger plane get in danger of collision. In flashbacks we learn about the personal problems of the pilots and most of the crew. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The most fascinating people the gods of chance ever swept up into high adventure!


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Release Date:

2 September 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pánico en el aire See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


When the pilot of the jet is about to hit the airliner, he says to himself he won't, more of less kill the passengers of the airliner but his decision ends up killing his innocent passenger. See more »


The jet Dale Heath is flying is marked with the bright orange nose and tail markings. Aircraft marked in this way are test aircraft and usually controlled by NASA. See more »


Cheryl Heath: I just love banana splits. Is it all the wonderful mixed-up flavors, or is it something Freudian?
See more »


Referenced in Feud: Bette and Joan: Pilot (2017) See more »


The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down
Written by Cliff Friend and Dave Franklin
Played at the end of the carnival scene
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Paving the way for "Airport"
23 March 2004 | by vmwritesSee all my reviews

One of the first modern day airline disaster movies, this 1961 film contains all the elements of suspense, humor and drama that one would expect of its genre. With the only drawback of a weak supporting cast, the story line is a solid one.

In this film, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. plays a navy pilot on a collision course with a commercial jet piloted by Dana Andrews. Years later, in one of the later Airport series, the roles are reversed and Andrews plays the pilot of a small plane on a collision course with a commercial aircraft piloted by Efrem Zimbalist.

Troy Donahue does a creditable job as a young sailor hitching a ride with Zimbalist to get home. An interesting device in this film is the close-up thought technique, particularly when used with the character played by Keenan Wynn.

If you consider this film only among the other members of its generation, it comes out well.

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