Most war films maintain that the officer's experience is incomparable to the trauma that befalls the enlisted man. The genre's resulting narratives consistently dwell on the emotional distance between a higher-up and his inferiors -- an exaggerated separation mended only by a common goal (winning the war) and never a common experience (fighting the battle). Henry King's Twelve O'Clock High rejects this practice. The film portrays the pressures of war as torturous to all dutiful soldiers and as a catalyst for mutual admiration and compassion between all ranks. Twelve O'Clock High reveals that a commander can understand his men, and in turn, those men can sympathize with their commander. Based on the reign of actual American Brigadier General Frank A. Armstrong Jr., the story of Gregory Peck's General Savage remains one of the most fair and celebrated accounts of leadership. To expertly match this narrative honesty with technical accuracy, King also became one of the first directors to incorporate real footage of distressed American planes, taken by the German Luftwaffe. The film's look is as genuine and unaffected as its tale. Twelve O'Clock High is a sincere and realistic war film, so inspiring that it was required viewing at the U.S. Air Force Academy for years after its release.