The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
23 user 7 critic

Nightmare at 20,000 Feet 

A man, newly recovered from a nervous breakdown, becomes convinced that a monster only he sees is damaging the plane he's flying in.


Richard Donner


Richard Matheson, Rod Serling (created by)

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Episode complete credited cast:
William Shatner ... Bob Wilson
Christine White Christine White ... Julia Wilson
Ed Kemmer Ed Kemmer ... Flight Engineer (as Edward Kemmer)
Asa Maynor ... Stewardess


Bob Wilson is on a flight when he sees a creature of some sort out on the wing of the aircraft. He's only recently recovered from a nervous breakdown and isn't sure that what he is seeing is real. Every time someone else looks out the window, the creature hides from view. When the creature begins to tamper with one of the engines he begs him wife to tell the pilots to keep an eye on the engines. If they see nothing, he agrees to commit himself to an asylum when they arrive at their destination. His paranoia drives him to a desperate act. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

11 October 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Nightmare at 20,000 Feet See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


William Shatner and Christine White (Mr. & Mrs. Wilson) not only starred in this fifth season episode, but also both appeared in the second season, although in separate episodes (Shatner in The Twilight Zone: Nick of Time (1960), and White in The Twilight Zone: The Prime Mover (1961)). See more »


The plane from the outside appeared to be a twin-engined Convair 240/340/440, but from the inside was a four-engined DC-6 or DC-7. See more »


[last lines]
Narrator: [Closing Narration] The flight of Mr. Robert Wilson has ended now, a flight not only from point A to point B, but also from the fear of recurring mental breakdown. Mr. Wilson has that fear no longer, though, for the moment, he is, as he has said, alone in this assurance. Happily, his conviction will not remain isolated too much longer, for happily, tangible manifestation is very often left as evidence of trespass, even from so intangible a quarter as The Twilight Zone.
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Referenced in Transformers Prime: Persuasion (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

Shattner goes paranoid on an airplane!
6 July 2006 | by caveart-1See all my reviews

This is a TV classic!! I believe it will survive way into the future because it encapsulates so many aspects of sixties American culture. Shattner chews the scenery in the way he made famous on 'Star Trek.' An interesting note, now known only to us rapidly ageing early TV Sci-fi fans, is that Ed Kemmer played Commander Buzz Cory on 'Space Patrol.' Space Patrol was the top TV Sci-fi show of a generation earlier than Star Trek. Buzz Cory was the Captain James T. Kirk of an earlier generation. That show had the best production values of the top three in the early fifties. (The other two were 'Tom Corbett, Space Cadet," and 'Captain Video.'

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