Twelve O'Clock High 1949

Twelve O'Clock High

Critics Consensus

Twelve O'Clock High is a high-stakes, high-tension war drama powered by great, well-written characters.

96%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 25

87%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,020

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Movie Info

In 1942, an American Air Force unit stationed in England is plagued with morale problems until no-nonsense Brigadier General Frank Savage (Gregory Peck) assumes command. His tough leadership is initially resented by not only his pilots but his second-in-command (Hugh Marlowe), a West Point graduate and son of a general. But, with the help of a hotshot flying ace (Robert Patten) and a sympathetic administrator (Dean Jagger), the unit pulls together into a gung-ho fighting crew.

Cast & Crew

Gregory Peck
Gen. Frank Savage
Dean Jagger
Maj. Harvey Stovall
Gary Merrill
Col. Ernie Davenport
Hugh Marlowe
Lt. Col. Ben Gately
Millard Mitchell
Maj. Gen. Pat Pritchard
Robert Arthur
Sgt. McIllhenny
Paul Stewart
Capt. `'Doc'` Kaiser
Lee MacGregor
Lt. Zimmerman
Sy Bartlett
Screenwriter
Beirne Lay Jr.
Screenwriter
Alfred Newman
Original Music
Leon Shamroy
Cinematographer
Lyle R. Wheeler
Art Director
Thomas Little
Set Decoration
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Critic Reviews for Twelve O'Clock High

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (1)

  • It is one of the best treatments of World War II. but not without its defects. These include its length and some of the old war picture cliches. But the acting (especially Peck) and direction approach greatness.

    July 25, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Sincere, square, and interminable.

    February 10, 2012 | Full Review…
  • As a drama, High deals soundly and interestingly with its situations.

    October 10, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • One of Peck's best performances.

    February 9, 2006

    Tom Milne

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Wisely, the writers and director, Mr. King, have husbanded the potential of an illustrated mission for one big concentrated punch, and they have got into this major sequence great excitement and reality.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • A very satisfying motion picture, 12 O'Clock High does not quite get over that indefinable line which marks the beginning of greatness.

    June 19, 2020 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Twelve O'Clock High

  • Sep 01, 2020
    Remember WW2? This is one of the many war/propaganda-for-America films that emerged, each usually looking at some different theater of the war, this one about the early war efforts at daylight bombing. Gregory Peck's job is getting his crew up to speed and then sending them to maybe get killed, and this is where the work lingers, the price of war. Although situated in England there is little in the film to indicate that, mostly occurring on an American base there. It satisfies the I-want-a-war-film fix, but only just barely.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • May 15, 2014
    A film that no doubt produced "nostalgia" about the concluded war effort. There is nothing wrong with Peck's portrayal which is quite good. It just reeks of film propaganda that was prevalent during the war period already past.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 08, 2011
    A strong performance by Gregory Peck and the supporting cast, the film is a Classic look at life during wartime and the individual and an in depth look at what each person can take when pushed to their brink. The character Peck plays is harsh, unemotional, and downright a hardass but as the film goes on and the General played by Peck grows with his new company of men and experiences battle firsthand and the loss of others, there is a huge change in his character. We see him being pushed to the breaking point and the devastating effects and in a word; transcedence.
    Chris B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 16, 2010
    Overall, I liked this film. It was slow and stagy and speechy and borderline joyless, but Gregory Peck's charisma is enough to keep you watching, and the speeches are quite good. A fine tale of what it takes to be a leader, and maybe one of the earliest war movies told in the flashback mode we now associate with Saving Private Ryan.
    Daniel P Super Reviewer

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