Captains of the Clouds (1942)

Approved   |    |  Action, Drama, War

Captains of the Clouds (1942) Poster

Inspired by Churchill's Dunkirk speech, brash, undisciplined bush pilot Brian MacLean and three friends enlist in the RCAF but are deemed too old to be fliers.




  • James Cagney and Reginald Gardiner in Captains of the Clouds (1942)
  • James Cagney "Captains Of The Clouds" 1942 Warner
  • Captains of the Clouds (1942)
  • James Cagney in Captains of the Clouds (1942)
  • James Cagney and Brenda Marshall in Captains of the Clouds (1942)
  • James Cagney "Captains Of The Clouds" 1942 Warner

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

26 February 2002 | peterjamesyates
A 'cut-and-shut' picture, but watch it again anyway.
A number of sharp observations have already been made of this movie. Certainly, there do appear to have been two pictures which have been sliced in two and bonded together. I can't help wondering where the other film is - ie. the film which started out as a wartime RCAF flagwaver and ends as a mountains-and- lakes set movie with the love interest triangle, plus old Alan Hale.

As with so many old films, historical interest alone makes the picture worth seeing again and again; for its day, marks: 6.5 or 7 out of 10.

Certainly, there are one or two pretty corny scenes and fancy Michael Curtiz letting Cagney and D. Morgan get away with surely the least convincing fight ever filmed. He must have taken an early lunch that day.

Critic Reviews

Did You Know?


Ida Lupino was the first choice for the role of Emily Foster, but turned it down.


Francis Patrick 'Tiny' Murphy: You know MacLean?
Scrounger Harris: Yeah, I've met him, but I don't like him.
Blimp Lebec: You don't like him? You should know how I don't like him!
Brian MacLean: And why do you say that? You know, I've always been very happy to see you. Look at Tiny. He never used to like me. Now he hates me.
Brian MacLean: ...
Willie: ...


The film plays a recording of Churchill's famous 'We shall fight on the beaches' speech as the characters listen to it. But while Churchill did make the speech to the House of Commons in June of 1940, it was not broadcast at the time. The text appeared in newspapers and excerpts were read on the radio by a BBC announcer. The speech heard in the movie was 're-enacted' by Churchill nine years after that date. So the characters would not have been able to hear Churchill give the speech himself.

Crazy Credits

Sincere appreciation is expressed to Major the Honorable C.G. Power P.C., M.C., Minister of National Defence for Air (Canada) and to Air Marshal L.S. Breadner D.S.C., Chief of the Air Staff, Royal Canadian Air Force, without whose authority and generous co-operation this picture would not have been brought to its splendid conclusion. We also wish to express our thanks to Air Marshal Bishop, V.C. and other officers and men of the R.C.A.F. who, in the making of the picture, are portrayed in the actual performance of their regular duties.


The Thin Red Line
(1925) (uncredited)
Music by
Kenneth Alford
Played by the RCAF band at the Uplands wings ceremony


Plot Summary


Action | Drama | War


Release Date:

21 February 1942



Country of Origin


Filming Locations


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