Twelve O'Clock High (1949) - Rotten Tomatoes

Twelve O'Clock High (1949)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Twelve O'Clock High Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

How much can a man give? When the U.S. 8th Army Air Force 918th Bombardment group is ordered on their fourth harrowing mission in four hard days, Brigadier General Frank Savage (Gregory Peck) demands "maximum effort." The bombers are forced to fly lower, to fly farther, and to test themselves -- overspent and fatigued -- right up until death's door. When their dedicated colonel speaks out in their defense, Savage mercilessly takes over command -- an officer should not sympathize with his men. The Brigadier General will compel the 918th to stop pitying itself and to hone its morale in the face of danger. Yet, as the men grow colder due to Savage's orders and the missions bring them closer to their crucial German targets, the officer learns the practical impossibility of raising the confidence of young men while also sending them to their deaths. He begins to understand that it is the burden of command that makes even the toughest leader sympathetic. Eventually caring for his men above all else, it is Savage who is forced to carry the hardships of "maximum effort" -- asking himself, how much can a man take?more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Beirne Lay, Lt. Beirne Lay Jr., Sy Bartlett
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 6, 2001
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment


Gregory Peck
as Gen. Frank Savage
Hugh Marlowe
as Lt. Col. Ben R. Gate...
Dean Jagger
as Major Harvey Stovall
Gary Merrill
as Col. Keith Davenport
Millard Mitchell
as Lt. Gen Pritchard
Robert Arthur
as Sgt. McIllhenny
Paul Stewart
as Major Kaiser
John Kellogg
as Major Joe Cobb
Robert Patten
as Lt. Jesse Bishop
Lee MacGregor
as Lt. Zimmerman
Sam Edwards
as Birdwell
Roger Anderson
as Interrogation Office...
John Zilly
as Sgt. Ernie
William Short
as Lt. Pettinghill
Richard Anderson
as Lt. McKessen
Lawrence Dobkin
as Capt. Twombley
John McKee
as Operations Officer
Campbell Copelin
as Mr. Britton
Peter Ortiz
as Weather Observer
Steve Clark
as Clerk in Antique Sho...
Don Hicks
as Lt. Wilson
Ray Hyke
as Bartender
Harry Lauter
as Radio Officer
Leslie Denison
as RAF Officer
John R. McKee
as Operations Officer
Russ Conway
as Operations Officer
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Twelve O'Clock High

Critic Reviews for Twelve O'Clock High

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (4)

Sincere, square, and interminable.

Full Review… | February 10, 2012
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

As a drama, High deals soundly and interestingly with its situations.

Full Review… | October 10, 2008
Top Critic

One of Peck's best performances.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
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.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Gripping psychological war drama has more talk than action.

Full Review… | February 11, 2015
Common Sense Media

Peck is superb as the man out of his depth, while King's solid direction and some fine camerawork make Twelve O'Clock High one of the most compelling examples of the genre.

Full Review… | February 10, 2012

Audience Reviews for Twelve O'Clock High


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 Perry

Super Reviewer


One of the all-time great war films. High marks for drama, technical accuracy and, best of all, Gregory freakin-Peck!

Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer


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 Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Twelve O'Clock High Quotes

– Submitted by Royal G (4 years ago)

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