The High and the Mighty

Directed By

Drama /  / Jul 3, 1954

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John Wayne personally produced many of his '50s films, which is why some of them have languished in corporate limbo following his death. The High and the Mighty was one of his most popular vehicles (no pun intended). This long, necessarily sedentary drama aboard an endangered airliner is a CinemaScope bridge between 1932's Grand Hotel and 1970s disaster movies. Despite Wayne's iconic presence as a pilot--now copilot--who survived the plane crash that wiped out his family, it's an ensemble movie with an impressive cast: Robert Stack sharing the cockpit, OscarĀ® nominees Claire Trevor and Jan Sterling, Laraine Day, Robert Newton, Paul Kelly, John Qualen, Regis Toomey, the ubiquitous Paul Fix, and director William A. Wellman's good-luck character actor Douglas Fowley. Dimitri Tiomkin's score won the Oscar, though the fondly remembered theme song isn't as prominent as you'd expect. Wings veteran William H. Clothier shot the aerial footage.

The High and the Mighty won 1 Oscar at the
1955 Academy Awards