The High and the Mighty

Synopsis: One disaster after another happens on this trans-Pacific flight. You have the pilot who loses his nerve! The washed-up co-pilot. The milquetoast flight engineer. The young hot shot second officer. And a cabin full of passengers with every range of problems and personalities there could possibly be. Here you have the Duke in a role he didn't want, and a movie with the title song that became Duke's theme. What else could any John Wayne fan want? It's all here, and then some.
Director(s): William A. Wellman
Production: Paramount Pictures
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
147 min

Hey, fella.

Ain't you Dan Roman?


I heard you whistling

and I said to myself,

only one guy does that just so.

I'd know that

ugly face of yours anywhere.

But you don't remember me, I bet you.

Sure I do. Ben Sneed.

I thought you'd be milking cows

somewheres on your own...

I mean, I thought you'd quit flying.

I thought you'd stay away

from these things.

They're only a hunk of metal.

They don't go no place in particular.

I guess I just haven't got

much willpower, Ben.

- What are you up to?

- Crew chiefing with Far East.

It's a good job.

I gotta go, Dan.

- I just thought I'd say hello.

- Sure. Good luck.

- Either one of you know that man?

- Sure looks old for a copilot.

- Didn't know we were so hard up.

- He weren't always a copilot.

We used to call him "Whistling Dan. "

One of the finest men you'd ever know.

And the most miserable. He was

down in Colombia same time I was.

He's taking off one night

with a full load

and one of them South American

line squalls

decided to hit the field at the same time.

The wind shifts too late for him to stop

and he don't quite make it over

a little hill at the end of the field.

I remember that one.

Right after the war, right?

Yeah. Dan hits flap,

but the ship breaks in half

and there's nothing but fire

in 10 seconds.

Dan gets tossed

through the cockpit window

and only gets a few scratches

plus that game leg of his.

Which leaves him alive to blame

himself. Everybody else gets killed.

Sounds to me like he was pretty lucky.

It don't work out quite that way.

I knew two of the passengers.

They were off to the coast for a holiday.

Blonde girl, name of Mary

and a little boy, name of Tony.

Everybody thought

they were wonderful people,

including Dan Roman.

Mary was Dan's wife

and little Tony was his only kid.


Dan is the only guy I ever knew who

had guts enough not to commit suicide.

Flight 21 now arriving,

Gate 1, from Los Angeles.

Miss Betty Emsley,

please report to the information desk.

Nice to have you with us, Mr Flaherty.

Please check with immigration now.

You'll board in about 30 minutes.

This is Miss Spalding, your stewardess.

- I'll be in the bar.

- We'll call you, Mr Flaherty.


- Mr and Mrs Joseph?

- Yes, sirree.

The Waikiki kids. Just put us down

as a float for the Rose Bowl parade.

- Your age, Mr Joseph?

- Today?

No, I'm 38, so help me.

- Birthplace?

- Passaic, New Jersey.

That's the Garden State.

Motto. Liberty and prosperity.

Bounded on the north by New York,

on the south by...

- And Mrs Joseph?

- Shall I tell him? I'm 33,

and I was born in Ogden, Utah.

Thank you, immensely.


- Hey, look. Remember?

- Yeah.

My name is Sally McKee.

I'm 30 years old.

I was born in Riverside, California.

- You're still a United States citizen?

- Yes, of course.

Thank you, Miss McKee.

Please check with immigration.

Your flight will be announced.

She may be put together

with paste and flour,

but that woman has something.

What would you say it was?

Practise. Plenty of practise.

- Aren't you...

- Yes, I'm Gustave Pardee.

I've enjoyed your New York shows

very much.

Good. Delighted.

Here are our tickets.

I'm 47 and I was born in New York City.

Mrs Pardee?

I'm 30,

and I was born in Owosso, Michigan.

- How will the weather be?

- Fine, Mr Pardee.

You should have a very pleasant trip.

He looks like a tired walrus on a rock.

She looks like she's done all right

for a slender redhead from Owosso.

- Ken Childs, 53. Born in Philadelphia.

- Yes, Mr Childs.

I don't know where my luggage is. The

Royal was supposed to send it down.

We'll check right into it, sir.

May I introduce your stewardess,

Miss Spalding.

Hello, sister. New here, aren't you?

Four months now with the company,

Mr Childs.

Good. I don't know where they get

some of the girls

but things are improving.

One of the few men who has ever made

any real money out of aviation.

He's one of our stockholders.

Treat him accordingly.

If you please.

- Dorothy Chen?

- Yes.

- Born in Antung, Manchuria?

- Yes, but I am Korean.

You have your passport handy,

of course.

Please take it to immigration.

It's just over there.

It's a real pleasure

to have you with us, Miss Chen.

Thank you, sir.

- That face.

- A moon and a willow tree.

West Airlines,

Flight 7 from San Francisco,

now arriving, Gate 11.

I'm sorry I'm late, Skipper. I got hung up

buying a present for my wife.

Susie will sure be excited

when she sees this.


I already been up to Weather.

The winds aren't too bad.

Let's try 9,000 for a change.

I'll have a flight plan

in 15 minutes, Skipper.

I hope Susie likes this tray.

3,050 gallons be all right

for takeoff, Captain?

Sounds all right,

let's see what Leonard says.

It looks about 12 hours and 16 minutes,

if these winds

are anywhere near correct.

Okay, 30-50 takeoff.

West Airlines,

Flight 7 from San Francisco

now arriving, Gate 11.

Say, Skipper, how old would you say

Dan Roman is?

He was flying planes before I was born.

Look at it yourself.

He flew the airmail

in the open-cockpit days.

I think he learned to fly

in the first World War.

And endurance flights, racing,

old-time barnstorming.

Ten or 15 years with Transworld.

In the second World War, he flew

a bomber in the Ploiesti oilfield raid.

He took his cracks at Germany

in B-17 s,

finally wound up with a B-29 squad

Rate this script:3.0 / 1 vote

Ernest K. Gann

Ernest Kellogg Gann (October 13, 1910 – December 19, 1991) was an American aviator, author, sailor, and conservationist. He is known for his novels Island in the Sky and The High and the Mighty and his classic memoir of early commercial aviation Fate Is the Hunter, all of which were made into major motion pictures. more…

All Ernest K. Gann scripts | Ernest K. Gann Scripts

0 fans

Submitted on August 05, 2018

Discuss this script with the community:



    Translate and read this script in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this screenplay to your bibliography:


    "The High and the Mighty" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 25 May 2024. <>.

    We need you!

    Help us build the largest writers community and scripts collection on the web!

    Watch the movie trailer

    The High and the Mighty


    The Studio:

    ScreenWriting Tool

    Write your screenplay and focus on the story with many helpful features.