The Twilight Zone

Nightmare at 20,000 Feet

Season 5, Ep 3, Aired 10/11/63
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  • Episode Description
  • Mr. Wilson believes he sees a gremlin on the wing of the commercial aircraft he is taking back home... from the sanitarium, where he has been committed for six months after a mental breakdown during a similar flight.

  • Cast & Crew
  • Bert Granet

  • Ed Kemmer

    Flight Engineer

  • Asa Maynor


  • Robert Pittack

  • Ralph W. Nelson

  • Fan Reviews (10)
  • Flawed

    By noman, Aug 22, 2014

  • @Brian4663 - The Gremlin Looks Great???

    By WildstarV, Mar 26, 2014

  • GRRR I'm a creature on the plane!

    By Brian4663, Jan 02, 2012

  • A paranoid masterpiece!

    By jawsthecabbie, Feb 17, 2009

  • A businessman (William Shatner) on a red-eye flight sees a gremlin trying to destroy one of the plane's engines, but he cannot convince anyone else of the imminent danger.

    By puddleglum5999, Nov 28, 2008

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (10)

    • Opening Narration Narrator: Portrait of a frightened man: Mr. Robert Wilson, thirty-seven, husband, father, and salesman on sick leave. Mr. Wilson has just been discharged from a sanitarium where he spent the last six months recovering from a nervous breakdown. The onset of which took place on an evening not dissimilar to this one on an airliner very much like the one in which Mr. Wilson is about to be flown home. The difference being that, on that evening half a year ago, Mr. Wilson's flight was terminated by the onslaught of his mental breakdown. Tonight, he's traveling all the way to his appointed destination which, contrary to Mr. Wilson's plan, happens to be in the darkest corner of the Twilight Zone.

    • Bob: Just a little... abject cowardice, that's all. I'm going to be all right. Had a teensy weensy breakdown. But now, I'm cured. Understanding--it's wonderful. It isn't the airplane at all. Overtension and overanxiety due to underconfidence.

    • Bob: It must have been awful for you. Taking care of the kids. Bearing the full responsibility. Julia: Well, everything is still intact. Bob: Except me.

    • Bob: I know I had a mental breakdown. I know I had it in an airplane. I know it looks to you as if the same thing's happening again, but it isn't. I'm sure it isn't. Look, the reason I'm telling you this... isn't just to worry you. You notice I didn't tell you before. Julia: I want you to tell me. Bob: I didn't tell you before because I wasn't sure whether it was real or not. But I am sure now. It is real. There's a man out there. Or a... a gremlin, or... whatever. If I described him to you, you'd really think I was gone.

    • Bob: Honey, you remember what I told you before about seeing something outside? Julia: Yes. Bob: Julia, there's a man out there!

    Show More Quotes

    Notes (3)

    • This episode was remade as a segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie.

    • Some of the music in this episode was "borrowed" from Jerry Goldsmith's score to Episode 49, "Back There."

    • This episode is based on the short story "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" by Richard Matheson. The story was first published in the Michael Congdon and Don Congdon edited anthology Alone by Night (1961).

    Trivia (1)

    • If Bob had opened a hatch at the altitude described, the cabin would have de-pressurized.

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