Demonstrations of classic military tactical procedures and excellent footage of vintage aircraft (like the rare B-36), combine here to give viewers a cold war primer on the Air Force's defense capabilities, circa 1955. Former World War II pilot James Stewart is called out of retirement to assist in the strengthening of the Strategic Air Command, the new bomber forces that are America's first line of defense against the Russian nuclear threat. Wife June Allyson sits at home and frets over her husband's devotion to duty, while Harry Morgan lends a hand on the aircraft. Through Stewart, director Anthony Mann takes us on an ersatz tour of the elite Air Force operations that safeguarded America at the time. Unless you're interested in the aircraft of the day or stateside propaganda techniques during the cold war, Strategic Air Command tends to be a bit of a yawner. --Mark Savary
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JAMES STEWART plays former Col. Roert Dutch Holland, a third baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals who at the height of his career (signing a $70,000 a year contract), is suddenly recalled back to active duty with the U.S. Air Force and assigned to the Strategic Air Command for 21 months of active duty. His job is to help SAC to be combat ready, in peacetime activity, before war comes again! His wife JUNE ALLYSON (Sally Holland) doesn't fare much as a air force wife, but she yet to find out that she also pregnant. Under the command of FRANK LOVEJOY (General Ennis H.Read more ›
The plot is certainly 1950s, but we are not living in those Cold War days anymore, so should not judge how things were done in retrospect.
I too would like to have this done on DVD. Note the B-36 takeoff engine harmonics lead right into the flying music. Beautiful !!
And I WISH someone would remaster the music.
Our first line of defense, before our missiles became more accurate, was huge bombers. When these huge aircraft flew, their power and size seemed awe-inspiring. Looking back at this movie, the B-36 now seems ungainly and incredibly complex. The B-47 seems less ungainly, but technology has clearly superceded both these aircraft.
This movie comes across as a recruiting film for the Air Force, and to a certain extent a patriotic film justifying our strategic air forces. The plot is relatively simple, and trying to spice it up with a sub-story regarding Jimmy Stewart's career as a baseball player and his relationship with his wife becomes a distraction. The focus of this movie is flying big bombers.
What gloriously complex aircraft these were. The scenes showing the takeoff of the B-36 were incredible. For airplane enthusiasts, the portion of the film focusing on the reading of the checklist is unusual (because for most people it would seem boring) and unique. Watching how the plane is powered up is nearly worth the exercise of watching the film.
Later we get to watch as the B-47 is transitioned into the active military. We watch as the B-47 is flown in poor weather conditions, and watch the fatigue and boredom set in as the crews flew incredibly lengthy missions.
Some of the most interesting and now somewhat anachronistic parts of the movies are those portions dealing with the functioning of Strategic Air Command (SAC) bases.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I know this film very well and it brings back memories of being a Royal Canadian Air Force Brat with my Dad and Mom on exchange at Craig (ALA) & McChord (Wash) Airbases in the... Read morePublished on April 12 2003 by PMK
I am waiting until this is released on DVD, it will be real feast for the eyes.
This was a fascinating time of revolutionary aircraft design, and the beginning of the cold... Read more
It would be crazy to say anyone enjoyed the Second World War but James Stewart found his work as a bomber pilot and wing executive far more rewarding than anything he had done in... Read morePublished on Jan. 18 2003
"STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND" is by far my favorite alltime movie! The performances of JAMES STEWART,as Col. Read morePublished on Dec 19 2002 by PETER E. ROSATI
Almost fifty years after this movie's release date (1955), I am still haunted by the magnificent aerial photography. This movie must be seen for that reason alone! Read morePublished on Aug. 19 2002 by Robert States
WILL SOMEONE PLEASE ISSUE STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND ON DVD? This movie sure has excellent shots of the B36 and B47 in flight. A great sample of 1950's America!Published on July 30 2002 by Eric Renth
My thoughts on this film are taken from watching it in it's original Vista Vision widescreen presentation of 1.75 on a laserdisc version released in 1998. Read morePublished on July 27 2002 by St Ives
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