Wing and a Prayer

Synopsis: An aircraft carrier is sent on a decoy mission around the Pacific, with orders to avoid combat, thus lulling Japanese alertness before the battle of Midway. All the men have their individual worries and concerns, but become increasingly frustrated at their avoidance of combat, for reasons unknown to them. But in the end, all get their chance to fight.
Genre: Action, Drama, War
Director(s): Henry Hathaway
Production: Twentieth Century Fox
Rotten Tomatoes:
97 min

Where is our navy?

Three months have passed

since the tragedy

at Pearl Harbor...

12 die as Jap submarines

strike near San Francisco.

Committee demands probe

of navy failure to fight.

Where is our navy?

Why doesn't it fight?

We cannot

answer that question.

We must force ourselves

not to listen to it.

We do not intend

to tell theJapanese

how badly our navy

was damaged at Pearl Harbor.

Since December the 7 th,

our prewar strategy

is useless.

The defense

of the Aleutians

and our Pacifc Coast

with the Hawaiis

at the apex

of the Triangle

is almost impossible

with what remains

of our navy.

But we are not considering

a defensive campaign.

You all realize

I'm indulging in

no false heroics

when I say

our only hope

of evading destruction

is to destroy

the enemy.

TheJapanese have won

a quick and staggering

succession of victories.

They're aiming now

at the fnal knockout...

the capture

of Pearl Harbor.

To accomplish this,

they must frst

take Midway.

If they are permitted

to choose the time

and conditions of attack,

we haven't

much of a chance,

but if we can trick them

into meeting us

when they think

we are weak,

we then have a chance

of cutting their navy

down to our size

and proceeding with the rest

of the Pacifc strategy.

We have learned

there are heavy concentrations

of enemy carriers

and other fleet units

in the Marshall Islands

and a numerous

transport force

making up at Truk.

So our strategy is this.

We shall concentrate

our strength near Midway

in our effort

to spring a trap.

One of our carriers

is already at sea

waiting to carry out

the initial phases

of this strategy.

On April the 28th,

this carrier

and its escort

will be off

the Marshall Islands,

close enough

to be detected.

On May the 3rd,

it is to be seen

near the Gilbert Islands

by theJapanese.

On May the 8th,

it will be detected

near Ocean Island,

as if heading

for theJap fleet at Truk,

but it will not attack.

It will turn south,

be seen on May the 15th

at Guadalcanal.

Every time one of our pilots

encounters a Jap plane,

he will return

to the carrier,

as if he did

not stomach a fght.

By sending this one carrier

on such a mission,

we hope

to convince the enemy

that our fleet

is scattered,

our fghting morale...


Actually, we shall be

waiting for them in force

near Midway.

If they fall

for this bait

and attempt an invasion,

we shall then be able

to answer the question...

"Where is our navy?

Why doesn't it fght?"

Pilot to crew.

There's mama.

I see her, Commander.

Pilot to crew.

If you need

a toothpick,

I know where

you can fnd one.

We'd only need

half that space, Mr. Scott.

Just lower your wheels

and drop your hook,

like putting

a baby to bed.

Set condition one

in the air department.

Stand by

to land planes.

Stand by

to land planes.

Torpedo planes sighted

broad on the port quarter.

Altitude 2-5-0-0.

Range 8,000 yards.

Stand by

for practice run.

If those were only meatballs

instead ofTBFs.

O.K. Hook.

Stand clear.

I'm O'Donnell, commanding Bomber Six.

Welcome aboard.

Molton, commanding

Torpedo Five.

What's the scuttlebutt?

What gives?

I thought we'd fnd out

when we got aboard.

Not from us.

I thought with

you guys aboard,

we'd have some action.

Name's Shubert.

I'm Manning.

We're on a cook's tour.

Your guess is

as good as mine.

See you around.


Lieutenant Commander

Edward Molton

reporting for

Torpedo Squadron Five.

Glad to have you aboard.

Molton, Commander Harper,

our air offcer.

How do you do?

Good to see you.

I've a message for you.

Hey, what's eating Oscar?

Sure making

a long approach.

He's building up

an entrance.

Just feel your way

in, sir. Lightly.

And politely.

Do we have

to shoot him down?

What does he want,

a spotlight?

He's coming in too fast.

Can't he see

that wave-off?

[Siren Sounds]

Assemble your squadron

in the ready room.

Aye, aye, sir.

Boy, I thought

for a while there...

until 1900...

I thought I'd have

to turn back.

Maybe you should have.

Didn't you see

the wave-off?

Yes, sir.

Did you think the flagman

was waving bye-bye?

To tell you the truth,

I couldn't think.

I had my hands

too full of airplane

at the time.



Oh, men, this is our air offcer

Commander Harper.

Commander Harper,

this is Mr. Brainard,

Mr. Chisholm.

Mr. Markham.

How do you do?

Mr. Jacobson.

How do you do?

Mr. White.


Mr. Holloway.

Mr. Scott.

How do you do?

I'm glad to know you

and welcome you aboard.

- Thank you.

- Thank you, sir.

You've been assigned

to quarters

which I hope you fnd

to your liking.

We have some pretty

good men on board.

I've been very proud of

all of our squadrons...


bombers, and fghters.

I hope

you equal their record.

Read that, please,

Mr. Molton.


"Memorandum for commander,

Air Group Five.


Report of casualty

which occurred

during maneuvers,

September 19, 1941.

Roy K. Spangler,

number 4328112,

aviation machinist's mate,

frst class,

United States Navy,

died at 1600

while under anesthesia

for surgery following

accident on flight deck.

Spangler's next of kin,

his mother

Mrs. Edward R. Spangler,

3617 Lee Avenue,

Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Signed J.B. Golden, commander,

senior medical offcer."

A hot pilot

ignored a wave-off.

Spangler couldn't

Rate this script:0.0 / 0 votes

Jerome Cady

Jerome Cady (August 15, 1903 – November 7, 1948) was a Hollywood screenwriter. What promised to be a lucrative and successful career as a film writer - graduating up from Charlie Chan movies in the late 1930s to such well respected war films as Guadalcanal Diary (1943), a successful adaptation of Forever Amber (1947) and the police procedural Call Northside 777 (1948) - came to an abrupt end when he died of a sleeping pill overdose onboard his yacht off Catalina Island in 1948. At the time of his death, he was doing a treatment for a documentary on the Northwest Mounted Police. There was a Masonic funeral service for him. He received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay for Wing and a Prayer in 1944. A native of West Virginia, Cady started as a newspaper copy boy. He was later a reporter with the Los Angeles Record, before joining the continuity staff of KECA-KFI, Los Angeles in June 1932. He spent time in New York in the 1930s with Fletcher & Ellis Inc. as its director of radio, returning to Los Angeles in 1936. He joined 20th Century Fox in 1940, having previously been employed at RKO between radio jobs.. more…

All Jerome Cady scripts | Jerome Cady 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:


    "Wing and a Prayer" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 20 Jun 2024. <>.

    We need you!

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


    The Studio:

    ScreenWriting Tool

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