The wartime memories of surviving World War II bomber squadrons were still crystal clear when this acclaimed drama was released in 1949--one of the first postwar films out of Hollywood to treat the war on emotionally complex terms. Framed by a postwar prologue and epilogue and told as a flashback appreciation of wartime valor and teamwork, the film stars Gregory Peck in one of his finest performances as a callous general who assumes command of a bomber squadron based in England. At first, the new commander has little rapport with the 918th Bomber Group, whose loyalties still belong with their previous commander. As they continue to fly dangerous missions over Germany, however, the group and their new leader develop mutual respect and admiration, until the once-alienated commander feels that his men are part of a family--men whose bravery transcends the rigors of rigid discipline and by-the-book leadership. The film’s now-classic climax, in which the general waits patiently for his squad to return to base--painfully aware that they may not return at all--is one of the most subtle yet emotionally intense scenes of any World War II drama.
Twelve O'Clock High
Released in 1949, Directed by Henry King
About The Director
Henry King was an American film director. He was twice nominated for the Best Director Oscar. In 1944, he was awarded the first Golden Globe Award for Best Director. Henry King was one of the 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. During World War II, King served as the deputy commander of the Civil Air Patrol coastal patrol base in Brownsville, TX, holding the grade of captain. In his final years, he was the oldest licensed private pilot in the United States, having obtained his license in 1918.