Island in the Sky (1953)


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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

During World War II, a Military Air Transport Command DC-3 piloted by a civilian crew is forced down in northern Labrador. The five men, led by Dooley (John Wayne), have barely any food and almost no way to keep warm, and their power supply is fading fast, but they have to find a way of staying alive until search planes find them. At first, even Dooley is overwhelmed by the responsibility for his crew's safety, and he is too lax in handling them -- but after one man dies, frozen to death just … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Ernest K. Gann
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 2, 2005
Paramount Pictures


as Capt. Dooley

as Stutz

as McMullen

as Col. Fuller

as J.H. Handy

as Murray, the navigato...

as Stankowski

as Frank Lovatt

as D'Annunzia

as Capt. Turner

as Maj. Ditson

as Sgt. Harper

as Miller

as Gidley

as Wilson

as Swanson

as Gainer

as Stannish

as Moon's wife

as Murray's wife
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Island in the Sky

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (2)

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | October 7, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Though not as good as The High and The Mighty, this similarly themed action-adventure of an aircraft crash, survival, and rescue is decently exceuted by the same team, helmer William Wellman and star John Wayne, who also produced through his company.

Full Review… | August 22, 2009

An easy to take 'boys out in the wilderness' tale.

Full Review… | July 19, 2005
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

an admirable film, particularly when you consider the technical challenges of making a film like this in 1953

Full Review… | July 19, 2005

Audience Reviews for Island in the Sky


Tale of my third favourite idol, John Wayne as the pilot and his crew are forced to land his C-47 on the frozen, uncharted tundra of Labrador, is so talky and slow-moving drama.

Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

A slightly above average flight desaster film, which is mainly carried by John Wayne's stoic acting and strong lead. The movie depicts an airline crew's fight for survival following a plane crash and the related rescue misions. The movie features many classic Hollywood B and C actors, although their ability to shine is limited by the very focussed, almost minimal scope of the movie. And while the story offers as good as no twists, instead opting for a traditional Wayne vehicle hero rundown, the film still offers solid acting and thrill, especially towards the last 30 Minutes. Unfortunately, the movie does not dare to make the 'catastrophe' catastrophical enough, so that true suspense never comes up. Worth its while for Wayne for sure though.


Henrik Schunk

Super Reviewer

A transport plane crash-lands in the frozen wastes of Labrador, and the plane's pilot, Dooley, must keep his men alive in deadly conditions while waiting for rescue.

Rick M

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