The Wings of Eagles

The Wings of Eagles

John Ford (1957)

U Certificate


Our Score
A ramshackle but nonetheless enjoyable biopic of tragic screenwriter/flying ace Frank "Spig" Wead, whose credits include Air Mail, Ceiling Zero and They Were Expendable, among others. A strangely subdued John Wayne plays Wead, actually appearing in the later scenes without his characteristic toupee. Dan Dailey is fun as Wead's buddy, but Maureen O'Hara is wasted with little more than two good scenes as the navy wife. The film's greatest delight is Ward Bond as movie director "John Dodge", in other words John Ford, who made this movie (Ford's study was authentically duplicated here using real props, including his Oscars). There's a smug and sentimental feel to the whole piece that makes it unworthy of its subject, who had died ten years previously. Wead, a friend of Ford in real life, would have written it tougher.


Fact-based drama telling the story of pioneering pilot Frank Wead, who was pivotal in the development of the US Navy's capacity for aerial combat in the 1920s, before a paralysing accident forced his retirement. He embarks on a new career as a screenwriter, but the outbreak of the Second World War compels him to find a way to return to duty. Starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara.

Cast & Crew

Frank W `Spig' Wead John Wayne
Minnie Wead Maureen O'Hara
John Dodge Ward Bond
Jughead Carson Dan Dailey
John Dale Price Ken Curtis
Adm Moffett Edmund Lowe
Capt Herbert Allen Hazard Kenneth Tobey
Jack Travis James Todd
Director John Ford
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourAvailable on: video