Ted Stryker, an ex-fighter pilot haunted by his wartime experiences, is forced to take control of a Trans-continental airliner after half the passengers (including his own son) and – more importantly – the crew are taken ill from food poisoning.
Stryker (Dana Andrews) must face his demons to land the aircraft safely – much to the joy of wife Linda Darnell and the sneers of ground controller Sterling Hayden.
Based on the TV play Flight into Danger by Arthur Hailey, whose later novel Airport would successfully kick off the trend for disaster movies in the 1970s.
The general premise of Zero Hour! and the character of Ted Stryker were both parodied in the 1980 comedy film, Airplane.