The Twilight Zone

Season 5 Episode 3

Nightmare at 20,000 Feet

5
Aired Unknown Oct 11, 1963 on CBS
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (9)

9.2
out of 10
Average
210 votes
  • A paranoid masterpiece!

    10
    This is perhaps one of the most fondly remembered episodes of The Twilight Zone. Anybody undergoing treatment for severe anxiety disorders had probably better skip this one! I wonder how many people actually canceled important business trips or long awaited family reunions after seeing this episode for the first time because they had to fly. It might be interesting to check the business records of all the major airlines at the time this episode first aired, and to listen in on some of the board discussions of some the major airlines generated by this one episode. "Gee, thanks a lot Rod you #@*^$#!"
    Fans of The Twilight Zone won out, however, and had something to talk about for years to come. What a great story!
  • 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.

    9.8
    Out of 156 TZ episodes, there are a handful that seemingly everyone has seen at least once. This episode makes the short list. Between the original episode, the TZ movie remake in 1983 with John Lithgow, and various other homages in movies and TV (3rd Rock, Ace Ventura, etc.), this is one episode that, perhaps more than any other, has crossed over into mainstream cultural consciousness.

    The story, adapted by Richard Matheson from his own short story, is taut and suspenseful. While William Shatner falls into the same fraternity as Leslie Nielsen and Adam West in terms of overall talent (better suited to self-parody than serious acting), he actually does a pretty good job here of not overacting--quite a statement for him.

    I once read that Matheson was unhappy with how "fake" the gremlin looked, but considering that we're talking about early-1960s FX (and for TV, at that), it doesn't look bad. And the final shot of the wing leaves a lasting imprint. In all, this episode is well-deserving of its reputation.
  • a gremlin on an airplane

    9.8
    well theres a guy named robert wilson has just recovered from a nervous breakdown after an airplane flight, making him terified of airplanes. he is now riding one on a dark and stormy night. he sees a monster on the wings and becomes very nervous. the strange thing however, is that whenever he tries to show it to someone it mysteriosly goes away. eventually he throws open the window and shoots down the monster. was it his imagination? my sister and i were both terefied of this episode when we were young. they did a pretty darn good job of making the monster considering the time the show was made.
  • Nightmare At 20,000 Feet is a personal favorite of mine and a lot of other people as well.

    9.7
    Nightmare At 20,000 Feet holds one of the greatest story lines The Twilight Zone ever had. It also featurs in my opinon some of the greatest acting The Twilight Zone had. This episode is kind of creepy and in a wierd way funny but overall a personal favorite. Fantastic episode and well done!
    9.7
  • @Brian4663 - The Gremlin Looks Great???

    9.5
    @Brian4663 - The Gremlin looks just as it is, a guy in a dime store teddy bear suit. It's the single worst special effect in Twilight Zone history! But, it's still one of the BEST episodes in Twilight Zone History BECAUSE of William Shatner's performance. Bottom line.
  • After recovering from a nervous breakdown, Robert Wilson and his wife board a flight for home. During the flight, Wilson sees a creature on the wing of the plane. He tries to convinve himself the creature isn't real, but he soon realizes it is.

    9.5
    This classic episode of "The Twilight Zone" is rock solid proof that William Shatner is capeable of giving an excellent performance. I am a huge "Star Trek" fan but I must say that Shatner's performance here rivals every bit of acting he has done on that show or anything else. He is not the only reason why this episode is teriffic. The well written script and the nail biting suspense are another reason why this episode works so well. One vieweing of this episode and you will imeediaitley realize why this episode is as popular today as it was then.
  • Fantastic story telling, plot and, acting. An episode that will not be forgotten as long as TV is around.

    9.5
    Mr.Wilson travels home aboard an airline with his wife. At first sight Mr.Wilson seems to be nervous of flying, by the way he is acting he seems frightened at the idea of being 20,000 feet in the air. However as our story moves forward we learn that Mr.Bob Wilson has in fact recently been discharged from a sanitarium, where he spent the previous 6 months recovering from a nervous breakdown which occurred, you guessed it, aboard a plane. While in the air Mr.Wilson's wife takes note of him not being able to sleep. "I'm fine, you go to sleep." He assures her that everything is alright and begins going over the past 6 months, saying that it's "astonishing" he can look back and put it behind him now.

    Later on, the plane rumbles with turbulence because of a rain storm. Mr.Wilson looks out his window and is horrified when he sees a creature lurking on the wing. Mr.Wilson tries to convince himself that nothing is there but his curiosity gets the best of him as each time he opens his window curtain his eyes don't seem to trick him. The creature is there every time and he begins to believe a little more that he is not seeing things...or is he? Mr.Wilson tries his best to explain what he is seeing to the people around him but no one believes him. Every time he sees the creature and tries to get someone to look out the window the creature somehow jumps out of view. The rest of the episode is a psychological struggle for Mr.Wilson and the viewer. Eventually this creature begins tampering with the plain engine and our star has to take matters into his own hands in his own assurance that he is not slowly plunging into insanity but, in fact, experiencing something of the paranormal.

    I enjoyed this episode because it really does a good job of spooking and disturbing the audience as the story progresses. It is very difficult to determine until the very end if Mr.Bob Wilson is right or not. It leaves you guessing until the final scene. This is indeed The Twilight Zone's best and most recognized episode. I just saw it yesterday and I can assure you it has definitely stood the test of time. The more I think of it the scarier it gets. I truly believe that the monster on the wing story (Nightmare at 20,000 feet) deserves it's praise as one of the most popular and best episodes on any show in all of television history.
  • This episode puts the twilight in the twilight zone.

    9.4
    This episode was a great installment to the Twilight Zone. I think this was my favorite episode of the Twilight Zone. Wait, actually this was my favorite episode of the Twilight Zone. I can tell that the graphics are fake because I am used to seeing computer animated movies, but like my dad said, it is ALL about the story they are trying to tell. Even though this is before my time, I really enjoy watching it. It is also very funny how the gremlin flies away just before someone other than Mr. Wilson is about to see him. I am really fasinated by how this episode made me think. It got me thinking. What is the ending going to be like? What will Mr. Wilson do to show everybody the greamlin is there? Is anybody reading my reviews?
  • GRRR I'm a creature on the plane!

    9.0
    Great episode but I wish someone besides William Shatner played the role. He did a good job but Shatner is the "Star Trek" man not the "Twilight Zone" man. The gremlin looks great but not as scary as Twilight Zone the movie in the 1980's. This overall might be the second scariest of the series. Behind "Eye of the beholder."
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