Test Pilot (1938) - Rotten Tomatoes

Test Pilot (1938)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Test Pilot is one of those irresistible MGM potboilers of the 1930s that coast along on sheer star power. Clark Gable plays a courageous test pilot, who compromises his achievements with his frequent bouts of drinking. Gable's mechanic, Spencer Tracy, does what he can to keep his boss out of trouble. While testing a new aircraft, Gable is forced to land on a Midwestern farm, where he meets and falls in love with Myrna Loy. Gable and Loy marry, whereupon he is fired by his boss Lionel Barrymore, who is of the opinion that flying and dames don't mix. Gable goes off on another bender, compelling Loy to leave him. Once more, Tracy comes to Gable's rescue by reuniting the couple and arranging for Barrymore to give Gable his job back. Later, Gable and Tracy are assigned to test a huge army bomber. Something goes wrong, and the plane goes into a dive. The self-sacrificing Tracy sees to it that Gable is saved from a flaming death--at the cost of his own life. Gable is so devastated by Tracy's death that it looks as though he'll never fly again. But with Loy's help, Gable regains his self-confidence. As one can see, there's little in Test Pilot that hasn't been done before. But with Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and Myrna Loy at the controls, the film proved a real audience-pleaser in 1938. In fact, it's still pretty good today.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Vincent Lawrence, Waldemar Young, Howard Hawks, Frank Wead
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 11, 1991


Clark Gable
as Jim Lane
Myrna Loy
as Ann Barton
Spencer Tracy
as Gunner Sloane
Lionel Barrymore
as Howard B. Drake
Samuel S. Hinds
as Gen. Ross
Arthur Ayleswofth
as Frank Barton
Claudia Coleman
as Mrs. Barton
Gloria Holden
as Mrs. Benson
Marjorie Main
as Landlady
Dudley Clements
as Mr. Brown
Byron Foulger
as Designer
Frank Jaquet
as Motor Expert
Roger Converse
as Advertising Man
Dorothy Vaughan
as Fat Woman
Billy Engle
as Little Man
Brent Sargent
as Movie Leading Man
Mary Howard
as Movie Leading Woman
Douglas McPhail
as Singing Pilot in Caf...
Forbes Murray
as Pilots in Cafe
Richard Tucker
as Pilots in Cafe
Don Douglas
as Pilots in Cafe
Hudson Shotwell
as Pilots in Cafe
James Flavin
as Pilots in Cafe
Hooper Atchley
as Pilots in Cafe
Dick Winslow
as Pilots in Cafe
Ray Walker
as Pilots in Cafe
Frank Sully
as Pilots in Cafe
Tom O'Grady
as Bartender
Syd Saylor
as Boss Leader
Wally Maher
as Mechanic
Richard Kipling
as Floorwalker
Arthur Stuart Hull
as Floorwalker
Charles Sullivan
as Field Mechanic
Ernie Alexander
as Field Mechanic
Buddy Messinger
as Field Mechanic
Nick Copeland
as Drake Mechanic
Donald Kerr
as Drake Mechanic
Tom Rutherford
as Photographer
James Donlan
as Photographer
Phillip Terry
as Photographer
Robert Fiske
as Attendant
Jack Cheatham
as Attendant
Sid Saylor
as Boss Leader
Alonzo Price
as Weatherman
Mitchell Ingraham
as N.A.A. Official
Frank Du Frane
as N.A.A. Official
Cyril Ring
as N.A.A. Official
Bobby Caldwell
as Benson Child
Marilyn Spinner
as Benson Child
Tommy Tucker
as Benson Child
Fay Holden
as Saleslady
Estelle Etterre
as Saleslady
Ken Barton
as Announcer
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Test Pilot

Critic Reviews for Test Pilot

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (1)

Test Pilot is an actioner against a new approach to the aviation theme, fortified by a strong romance.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

One of the best Hollywood aviation dramas.

Full Review… | January 30, 2012
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Myrna Loy's favorite movie role.

Full Review… | August 16, 2009
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Combining adventure, melodrama, and thrilling aerial sequences, Victor Fleming's film is a typical MGM star vehicle of the Depression, showing to an advantage the charisma of Gable, Tracy, and Myrna Loy.

Full Review… | March 6, 2009

Super MGM WWII actioner + tear jerker.

December 8, 2006
Dispatch-Tribune Newspapers

It wants to be a grand story of love and adventure and the call of ever-increasing speed and height, but it's basically just Top Gun, fifty years earlier.

Full Review… | January 15, 2005
Goatdog's Movies

Audience Reviews for Test Pilot

Good cast, but the movie is too long and boring.

Aj V

Super Reviewer

Not a great film but not one easily dismissed either. Gable and Tracy are charming as is Myrna Loy. Silly 30s fare to see on a rainy day.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


There is no better on screen duo in the 30's better than Gable and Tracy. These two are instant magic when they are together. Throw in Myrna Loy and you have a very fun movie with 3 actors at the top of their game.The film is about a test pilot(Gable) and his trusty mechanic(Tracy) who meet a girl(Loy) and how the strain of a test pilot's life affects them all.The film is a little long,but the action is well done.The acting is the main reason to watch this film, and if your are a fan of the big three, then you will have a good time.

cody franklin

Super Reviewer

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