Ceiling Zero (1936)

Ceiling Zero (1936)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Ceiling Zero Photos

Movie Info

Ceiling Zero is an adaptation of the Broadway play by Frank "Spig" Wead. James Cagney and Pat O'Brien are supremely typecast as, respectively, Dizzy Davis, a cocky civil aviator and Jake Lee, a sober-sided ground commander. Dizzy ducks out of a dangerous mission in order to dally with pretty Tommy Thomas (June Travis). Texas Clark (Stuart Erwin) takes Dizzy's place, and the unpolished young pilot dies in a fiery wreck. Disgraced in the eyes of his co-workers after Clark's death, Dizzy redeems himself by taking a crucial test flight in fog-laden "ceiling zero." Dizzy dies a hero, leaving behind his pal Jake to deliver the eulogy. Isabel Jewell co-stars as Clark's wife, given yet another opportunity to shake the rafters with her emotionally supercharged acting. Ceiling Zero was remade in a wartime setting as International Squadron (1940).
Action & Adventure , Drama , Mystery & Suspense , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


James Cagney
as Dizzy Davis
Pat O'Brien
as Jake L. Lee
June Travis
as Tommy Thomas
Stuart Erwin
as Texas Clarke
Henry Wadsworth
as Tay Lawson
Isabel Jewell
as Lou Clark
Barton MacLane
as Al Stone
Martha Tibbetts
as Mary Lee
Craig Reynolds
as Joe Allen
James Bush
as Buzz Gordon
Robert Light
as Les Bogan
Addison Richards
as Fred Adams
Carlyle Moore Jr.
as Eddie Payson
Dick Purcell
as Smiley Johnson
Pat West
as Baldy Wright
Edward Gargan
as Doc Wilson
Garry Owen
as Mike Owens
William "Wild Bill" Elliott
as Transportation Agent
Mathilde Comont
as Mama Gini
Carol Hughes
as Birdie
Frank Tomick
as Stunt Flier
Paul Mantz
as Stunt Flier
Jimmy Aye
as Pilot
Jerry Jerome
as Mechanic
Helene McAdoo
as Hostess
Gay Sheridan
as Hostess
Mary Lou Dix
as Hostess
Louise Seidel
as Hostess
Helen Ericson
as Hostess
Don Wayson
as Office Worker
Dick Cherney
as Office Worker
James Barnes
as Office Worker
Francis McDonald
as Office Worker
J.K. Kane
as Teletype Operator
Jayne Manners
as Tall Girl
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Ceiling Zero

All Critics (3) | Top Critics (1)

The overlapping, speeding dialogue is perfectly launched, as Hawks cuts to the core of the play with his own meditations on personality and responsibility.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

An entertaining adventure story of an irresponsible but great civil airline pilot.

Full Review… | October 13, 2014
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Howard Hawks' speed, vitality and precision are startling

Full Review… | September 4, 2009

Audience Reviews for Ceiling Zero


A pleasant adaptation of a theater play but it fails to offer the larger scope movies make possible. Over all the film lacks interest (I couldn't care less about the characters) and this sense of liberty that comes with an aeroplane.

Ben Gui
Ben Gui

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