With documentary-like detail, this film traces the progress of three young peacetime recruits at the Royal Air Force College at Cranwell in Lincolnshire.
One of them, Tony Winchester (Kenneth Haigh) stands out immediately as a cocky individualist when he arrives at the college in his own plane and lands on the main airstrip without permission.
But the superior officer, Wing Commander Rudge (Ray Milland) – a Battle of Britain veteran – is reluctant to impose his usual iron discipline because the youth’s father – a wartime Wing Commander – was killed through Rudge’s own rebelliousness as a young man.
Two other newcomers, Roger Endicott (Anthony Newley) and John Fletcher (Kenneth Fortescue) team up with Tony and after completing their training they are posted to a fighter squadron in Scotland where Rudge is still their CO.
Winchester is still a rebel – until he is posted to Germany. During an operational flight, he sights an unidentified plane and gives chase. In his excitement, he crosses the Iron Curtain and is hit by anti-aircraft fire. And the person who risks his life to save him is Rudge, of course.
High Flight was filmed (with the cooperation of the Air Ministry) by Warwick Films and released in Technicolor in Britain but only released in black and white in the US.
Wing Commander Rudge
Flight Sergeant Harris
Squadron Leader Blake
Minister for Air
John Le Mesurier