The High and the Mighty (1954) - Rotten Tomatoes

The High and the Mighty (1954)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The High and the Mighty Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

For The High and the Mighty, director William Wellman made a point of using Cinemascope to heighten the dramatic content of a confined screen space -- in this instance, the cockpit of a plane in flight. Copilot Dan Roman (John Wayne) seems a lot more in control of things than Captain John Sullivan (Robert Stack) when the plane loses an engine during a flight from Honolulu to San Francisco. Wellman crosscuts from the tension in the cockpit to the various subplots involving the plane's passengers, among them May Holst (Claire Trevor), Lydia Rice (Laraine Day), Howard Rice (John Howard), Sally McKee (Jan Sterling), Ed Joseph (Phil Harris), and Humphrey Agnew (Sidney Blackmer) (as a character named Humphrey Agnew -- a remarkable prescient cognomen given the future of the U.S. vice presidency!). Adapted by Ernest K. Gann from his best-selling novel, The High and the Mighty was one of the first (and most profitable) entries in the "terror in the sky" genre. Its theme music, written by Dimitri Tiomkin and whistled incessantly by John Wayne in the film, would later become a best-selling hit throughout the world. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Ernest K. Gann
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 2, 2005
Paramount Pictures


John Wayne
as Dan Roman
Robert Stack
as John Sullivan
Claire Trevor
as May Holst
Laraine Day
as Lydia Rice
Jan Sterling
as Sally McKee
Phil Harris
as Ed Joseph
Robert Newton
as Gustave Pardee
David Brian
as Ken Childs
Paul Kelly
as Flaherty
Sidney Blackmer
as Humphrey Agnew
Doe Avedon
as Miss Spaulding
Karen Sharpe
as Nell Buck
John Smith
as Milo Buck
Julie Bishop
as Lillian Pardee
John Howard
as Howard Rice
William Campbell
as Hobie Wheeler
Ann Doran
as Mrs. Joseph
John Qualen
as Jose Locota
Paul Fix
as Frank Briscoe
George Chandler
as Ben Sneed
Joy Kim
as Dorothy Chen
Michael Wellman
as Toby Field
Regis Toomey
as Garfield
Robert Keys
as Lt. Mowbray
Robert Easton
as Cargo Clerk
Philip Van Zandt
as Mr. Wilson
John Howard
as Howard Rice
John Howard (II)
as Howard Rice
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The High and the Mighty

Critic Reviews for The High and the Mighty

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

August 13, 2005
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Full Review… | October 16, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

A forerunner of the disaster movies, this cliche John Wayne blockbuster could be described as Grand Hotel in the Air.

Full Review… | May 3, 2007

Ocasionalmente promissor, acaba sendo prejudicado por sua narrativa lenta e por sua duração excessiva.

October 3, 2005
Cinema em Cena

Everyone aboard has so much personal baggage, it's amazing the plane can even get off the ground.

Full Review… | September 2, 2005

Audience Reviews for The High and the Mighty


Fanastic little disaster film classic of the airborne with John Wayne where it strikes high above the Pacific Ocean at the point of no return. This film has more than enough fine moments generated by a cast of familiar faces to keep me interest. I didn't know this adventure film has six Academy Awards nominated that I was surprised to find out.

Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer


corny as kansas

jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Silly bit of John Wayne foolery. It was a standard to put Wayne in non westerns to continue his interpretation of the perfect American frontiersmen in plots outside of the Old West. In most cases, it doesn't work.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

The High and the Mighty Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss The High and the Mighty on our Movie forum!