Twelve O'Clock High Overview:

Twelve O'Clock High (1949) was a Action - Drama Film directed by Henry King and produced by Darryl F. Zanuck.

The film was based on the novel of the same name written by Sy Bartlett and Beirne Lay, Jr published in 1948.


This compelling WWII drama focuses on the emotional effects the fear and anxiety of war have on fighting men. When a compassionate bomber-squadron leader (Merrill) resists taking his scarred, jumpy men on one more near-suicidal daytime mission, he's replaced by by-the-book general Peck. After exposure to the dangers his men face, Peck becomes more uncertain than his predecessor, even suffering a nervous collapse from the stress. One of the few war films to depict the real human costs of war (based on the true story of Gen. Frank Armstrong), it also includes terrifying aerial sequences that make real the dangers the fliers faced.

(Source: available at Amazon AMC Classic Movie Companion).


Twelve O'Clock High was inducted into the National Film Registry in 1998.

Academy Awards 1949 --- Ceremony Number 22 (source: AMPAS)

Best ActorGregory PeckNominated
Best Supporting ActorDean JaggerWon
Best Picture20th Century-FoxNominated

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Quotes from

Maj. Gen. Ben Pritchard: I believe that to a certain degree, a man makes his own luck.

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Facts about

The film was delayed in its release because MGM's Command Decision beat them to the punch. The similarity in content between the two films forced 20th Century Fox to hold back on "Twelve O'Clock High" for a few months.
"Twelve O'Clock High" is an example of a pilot's enemy position call. During World War II pilots would call-out the positions of enemy airplanes by referring to their bearings via the use of a pretend face of a clock. In this case, 12 O'Clock meant the enemy was directly ahead, whereas 6 O'Clock would mean directly behind. "High" or "Low" referred to whether the enemy was above or below the airplane respectively. "Even" meant that the enemy was level with the pilot's plane.
Gregory Peck reprised his Oscar nominated role as General Savage on the 7th of September 1950 in a radio show for the Screen Guild Players.
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Best Supporting Actor Oscar 1949

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National Film Registry

Twelve O'Clock High

Released 1949
Inducted 1998

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Also directed by Henry King

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Also produced by Darryl F. Zanuck

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