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"Top Gun"

  • "Aces High"
  • "Air America"
  • "Air Force"
  • "Amelia"
  • "Angels One Five"
  • "The Aviator"
  • "Bat 21"
  • "Battle Of Britain"
  • "Behind Enemy Lines"
  • "Black Hawk Down"
  • "The Blue Max"
  • "The Bridges At Toko-Ri"
  • "The Dam Busters"
  • "Dark Blue World"
  • "The Dawn Patrol" (1930)
  • "The Dawn Patrol" (1938)
  • "Dr Strangelove"
  • "The First Of The Few"
  • "Flight"
  • "Flight Of The Intruder"
  • "Flying Leathernecks"
  • "Flying Tigers"
  • "The Great Waldo Pepper"
  • "Hell's Angels"
  • "The Hunters"
  • "Iron Eagle"
  • "Jet Pilot"
  • "The Lost Squadron"
  • "The Malta Story"
  • "The McConnell Story"
  • "Memphis Belle"
  • "Men Of The Fighting Lady"
  • "Men With Wings"
  • "Mosquito Squadron"
  • "Pearl Harbor"
  • "Pushing Tin"
  • "Reach For The Sky"
  • "The Red Baron"
  • "Red Tails"
  • "The Right Stuff"
  • "633 Squadron"
  • "The Sound Barrier"
  • "The Spirit Of St Louis"
  • "Strategic Air Command"
  • "Tactical Assault"
  • "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo"
  • "Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines"
  • "The Thousand Plane Raid"
  • "Top Gun"
  • "Tora! Tora! Tora!"
  • "The Tuskegee Airmen"
  • "Twelve O'Clock High"
  • "United 93"
  • "Victory Through Air Power"
  • "The Way To The Stars"
  • "We Were Soldiers"
  • "A Yank In The RAF"

  • "Aces High" (1976)

    This is a remake of the 1930 First World War film "Journey's End" with the action transposed to the air. Directed by Jack Gold, it has an impressive British cast including Malcolm McDowell, Christopher Plummer, Simon Ward, Peter Firth, John Gielgud and Trevor Howard. The aerial sequences are excellent.

    "Air America" (1990)

    This is an attempt - which fails - to cover a serious subject in a humorous manner: the CIA's secret war, largely operated through fake airlines, in Laos during the ill-fated Vietnam War (in fact, it was filmed in Thailand). Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jnr play pilots in this covert operation and there is some good flying, but the political message is weakened by the buddy approach to war.

    "Air Force" (1943)

    Any film directed by the great Howard Hawks is worth seeing but this is definitely a movie of its time so it is really a work of propaganda. It starts on the eve of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and tells the story of one particular bomber crew in a 'gung ho' style in which everyone speaks very fast and shows considerable enthusiasm and courage.

    The aircraft in question is 'Mary Ann', a B-17 Flying Fortress, which takes off from California for Hawaii only for the crew to learn of the Japanese assault as they are about to land. Subsequently they see action at Wake Island, the Philippines, and the Battle of the Coral Sea. Actual newsreel footage was expertly inserted into the film, including scenes from the Battle of the Coral Sea.

    The aircraft used to play 'Mary Ann' was a converted B-17B, one of 19 that had the gunners' bubbles replaced by the flush gun positions of the B-17C and B-17D. The U.S. Army Air Force aircraft that appeared in the film were 10 Boeing B-17C/D Flying Fortresses from Hendrick Field, Sebring, Florida, North American AT-6 Texans (as Japanese fighters) and Bell P-39 Airacobras, Curtiss P-40Cs and Republic P-43A Lancers from Drew Field, Tampa, Florida ,and six Martin B-26C Marauders from McDill Field, Tampa, Florida as the Japanese bombers.

    The real 'Mary Ann' was used on a tour to promote the film and then assigned to Hobbs Army Air Field in New Mexico. Later, when it returned to combat duty, it was lost in the Pacific.

    "Amelia" (2009)

    Hilary Swank is a fine actress who has done good work since I first saw her a decade ago in "Boys Don't Cry", for which she received a well-deserved Academy Award, and she is rarely off the screen as the eponymous American aviatrix Amelia Earhart in this bio-pic for which she was also an executive producer. She really looks and sounds like her subject and the evocation of the period (late 1920s and early 1930s) is well-done, while the cinematography - the movie was shot mainly in Canada with some scenes in South Africa - is superb.

    All the support roles are male: Richard Gere as Earheart's publicist and husband, Ewan McGregor as her colleague and lover, and Christopher Eccleston as her navigator on the ill-fated round-the-world effort in 1937. Surprisingly though the director is an Indian woman: Mira Nair who gave us the wonderful "Monsoon Wedding". Sadly the film has an undistinguished script and a fragmented structure, giving the whole thing a rather pedestrian feel, but at least there is plenty of flying and beautiful-looking aircraft, notably the Lockheed Electra of the final flight.

    Link: Wikipedia page on Amelia Earheart click here

    "Angels One Five" (1952)

    The word "angels" in the title was Second World War Royal Air Force slang for altitude in thousand of feet and so "angels one five" refers to an height of 15,000 feet. This film about the Battle of Britain in 1940 was released only 12 years after the event, but the Hurricanes doing the take-offs and landings had to be borrowed from the Portuguese and sadly the dog fights use models. It is a stiff, upper lip account of life on an RAF station during that fateful summer.

    The stars are John Gregson and Jack Hawkins. Ronald Adam plays the part of a Group Controller and, during the actual Battle, he was Squadron Leader Ronald Adam, the Group Controller at Hornchurch. Both screenwriter Derek Twist and and cinematographer Christopher Challis spent the war with the RAF Film Unit.

    "The Aviator" (2004)

    Any movie directed by Martin Scorsese has to be worth watching and this ambitious, if flawed, biopic of Howard Hughes is certainly well worth the price of a cinema ticket. As he did in "Gangs Of New York", Scorsese works with Leonard DiCaprio who here has the most challenging role of his career so far as the eponymous businessman, womaniser, flyboy, movie mogul, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder-sufferer. Thirty-year old DiCaprio works hard at the role and captures the manic energy, tortured expression and obsessive mannerisms of Hughes, but ultimately his boyish looks make this less than ideal casting. Except for a brief and unsatisfactory childhood scene, the film covers only the twenty years 1927-1947 of Hughes' 70 years, a period which enables Scorsese to present a remarkably sympathetic portrait of this complex character which underlines his great vision and commitment to competition - twin virtues of modern-day capitalism.

    Cinema is first and foremost a visual medium and this movie is wonderful to look at. The grand sets and contemporary clothing - enhanced by music of the period - provide a rich evocation of the era, while the appearance in the narrative of so many movie stars of the time enhances the feeling that we have stepped back to a time when Americans were assuming leadership of the world. The realisations of these famous personages is uneven: while Cate Blanchett is brilliant as Katherine Hepburn and a paunchy Alec Baldwin convincing as Juan Trip, Kate Beckinsale is weak as Ava Gardner and Jude Law is disappointing as Errol Flynn.

    The real stars of the movie, in many ways, are the aircraft, most of which are necessarily CGI creations. We feel with Hughes as he films from the sky swirling dog fights for his film "Hell's Angels", takes Hepburn night flying over Los Angeles, sets a new speed record in the H-1, crashes in the experimental reconnaisance XF-11, enthuses over the purchase of the Lockheed Constellation, and finally lifts the mammoth 'Spruce Goose' (properly called the H-4 Hercules) a few feet off the water (the aircraft used to be on public display in Long Beach, California and is now to be found in an air museum in McMinnville, Oregon). This film of almost three hours is longer than it should have been, but it is at its most entertaining and exhilerating when it conveys the adrenalin excitement and social transformation of modern aviation.

    Link: official web site click here

    "Bat 21" (1988)

    This is an unusal subject for an aviation film because it concerns the story - based on a true incident - of a rescue mission in Vietnam of an American intelligence officer played by Gene Hackman, as the result of the persistence and bravery of a Forward Aircraft Controller portrayed by Danny Glover. It is well-done with a fair number of flying sequences.

    "Battle Of Britain" (1969)

    Almost 30 years after the most decisive air battle in history, producer Harry Saltzman and director Guy Hamilton made this commemorative film that collected together the greatest collection of Second World War aircraft ever marshalled for a movie. Although the cast list boasted many well-known actors of the day – led by Laurence Olivier as Air Chief Marshall Sir Hugh Dowding – much of the acting is wooden and the script is weak, but, not withstanding some obvious use of models and sets, it is the aircraft that make this film.

    Over a period of three years, the producers pulled together more than 100 1940-vintage aircraft. A total of 36 Spitfires were collected - one-third of them in flying condition, another third capable of taxiing, and the other third only useable as props on airfields - and three Hurricanes; a whole bunch of 28 Messerschmitt Me 109s was bought at auction; and 31 Heinkel He 111 bombers and a Junkers Ju 52 were borrowed from the Spanish Air Force. The aerial filming was done from a specially modified B25 Mitchell bomber and some 40 minutes of aerial combat appears on the screen in some terrific sequences.

    Great efforts were made to ensure that the film was authentic and the technical advisers included air aces Robert Stanford Tuck and Adolf Galland. The whole enterprise was the subject of a book by Leonard Mosley.

    "Behind Enemy Lines" (2001)

    Based very, very loosely on an incident in which an American was shot down and evaded capture in former Yugoslavia, "Behind Enemy Lines" delivers an adrenalin rush, but the style is too gung-ho for it to last long. The plot concerns the shooting down of an American jet which is 'off mission' over Serb-occupied Bosnia-Herzegovina. The American military has co-operated fully with the hardware, so - in a return to "Top Gun" territory - there are terrificly atmospheric shots of the aircraft carrier that is the crew's base and some really exciting film of the F-18 Hornet that is their 'mount'. Slovakia stands in for Bosnia but fits the bill convincingly.

    It was a shrewd move not to cast a star in the lead role, but instead the newcomer, blond-haired, pinched-nosed Owen Wilson. In fact, the only really well-known actor in the movie is Gene Hackman, playing a characteristically gruff role as the admiral of the carrier, but he is sadly under-used, even when stupidly he is shown leading the helicopter rescue operation ("Let's go get our boy!").

    First time director John Moore deploys some flashy camera-work and provides plenty of pyrotechnics but, besides the fact that it has been done before (in the more intelligent "Bat 21"), the whole thing is just too formulaic and simplistic to make a lasting impression.

    "Black Hawk Down" (2001)

    Never have I seen a film which demonstrates so effectively the way combat troops and helicopters can be integrated as a fighting force. In this case, the choppers are the formidable UH-60 Black Hawk and the snub MH-6 Little Bird. The helicopter action is monitored by a Lockheed P-3 Orion spotter plane which relays pictures back to the Joint Operations Centre (JOC).

    The movie depicts in savagely graphic form the outcome of an October 1993 operation in the Somalian capital of Mogadishu when an attempt to detain henchmen of the local warlord gave rise to a 15-hour 'firefight' in which 18 American soldiers lost their lives and some 73 were injured, while something like five hundred Somalians - men, women ands children - were killed.

    Élite soldiers of the Rangers and Delta Force regiments go in, ferried by Black Hawk and Little Bird helicopters but, from the start, it is a mess, as one soldier falls from a Black Hawk, resulting in it being downed by the local militia. This is war as we have never seen it before on the big screen: brutal and confused combat in city streets and houses where the enemy does not wear a uniform or fight by the rules and rescue is far from hand.

    This was always going to be a better work than the contemporary "Behind Enemy Lines" because it is helmed by one of the finest directors around and presents a very much less 'gung ho' depiction of war. Fresh from his success with the wonderful "Gladiator", British Ridley Scott – the son of a Royal Marine - has taken locations in Morocco and used magnificent camerawork to produce a stunning visual and visceral record based closely on the book by journalist Mark Bowden. Indeed such is the verisimilitude of Scott's action that one can't always hear what is said or understand what is happening.

    Like "Behind Enemy Lines", this is a movie rushed out in the aftermath of the World Trade Center horror, apparently on the assumption that it will make Americans feel better about themselves. It would seem that, in the US, there has been a “Let’s kick ass” response but, to this British viewer at least, such a reaction is hard to fathom. Certainly the film is a celebration of comradeship and heroism, but it reminds us of an appalling military misjudgement by the Americans and a lack of political will by the international community.

    "The Blue Max" (1966)

    The title of this film comes from the British nickname for the German medal awarded to First World War aces who scored a minimum of 20 'kills' and derives from the flying skills of the German pilot Max Immelmann. It is one of the better movies concerning this war's aviation exploits because the flying sequences are for real, even if the nine aircraft are replicas, and they are extended and superior. The aircraft in action are the British SE5A and RE8 and the German Pfalz DIIIA and Fokker Dr I and the star of the film, George Peppard (playing the German Bruno Stachel), took flying lessons so that he could actually pilot his plane for the filming in Ireland.

    "The Bridges At Toko-Ri" (1954)

    Few films have been made about the Korean war and, so far as I know, only two about the air war in Korea. In a sense, this is surprising - it was the last air war when there was close up and personal combat and United Nations pilots claimed sone 800 MiGs for the loss of only 58 Sabres. "Toko-Ri" was the first movie about the air war, followed four years later by "The Hunters". Based on a novel by James a Mitchener, this focuses on the experience of a Navy bomber pilot, played by William Holden (Grace Kelly is his wife), flying the F9F Panther from a carrier. It is a more thoughtful and political film than most war movies.

    "The Dam Busters" (1954)

    On the night of 16/17 May 1943, a special unit of Lancaster bombers, 617 Squadron of the Royal Air Force, using a special type of bomb that could 'bounce' across water, made an audacious and successful attack on the Moehne and the Eder dams in Hitler's Germany. The legendary tale was published as a book by Paul Brickhill in 1951 and told in this film, directed by the then unknown Michael Anderson and written by distinguished author R C Sherriff, three years later. The movie celebrates the brilliance of the bomb's inventer, Barnes Wallis (played by Michael Redgrave), as much as the bravery of the crews who dropped it, led by Victoria Cross-winner Guy Gibson (Richard Todd). The whole thing was made in almost documentary style, enhanced by the use of monochrome instead of colour.

    At the time that the film was made, the Avro Lancaster was still in service with the RAF operating with Coastal Command but, for the movie, four were taken out of storage at Aston Down in Gloustershire. All of these were built by Austin Motors in 1945 as Mark VIIs and were too late to see operational service. They were NX673, NX679, NX782 and RT686. A fifth Lancaster that took part was Boscombe Down's NX739. This was used as a back-up and for some aerial filming (most of the aerial shooting was done from a borrowed RAF Vickers Varsity). Only one aircraft - NX679 - was painted up as Gibson's 'AJ-G' with the correct serial number ED932 for a key scene. Several Avro Lincolns were used in long shots to pass off as Lancasters. Also a Vickers Wellington makes a brief appearance.

    The 'bouncing bomb' - actually a depth charge codenamed Upkeep - was still on the secret list in 1954, so the film propoerty department mocked up something that in fact looked more impressive than the real thing. Barnes Wallis co-operated fully with the making of the film and even loaned the makers equipment that he used and some personal possessions.

    Footnote: In 1969-1970, I was full-time President of the Students' Union at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology and my office was in the Union building named after Barnes Wallis.

    "Dark Blue World" (2001)

    I was desperate to see this film because it concerns the wartime record of Czechoslovak pilots with the RAF and my wife's father was the top scorer of these brave men. However, I had to wait a full year after it came out in Prague before I could see it London and it played to tiny British audiences.

    The film - titled "Tmavomodrý svět" in Czech - focuses on two contrasting personalities: Spitfire pilots Franta Sláma (played by Ondřej Vetchý) and Karel Vojtíšek (Kryštof Hádek). I'd like to think that the names of these two characters are allusions to Josef František, who shot down 17 fighters in the Battle of Britain, and Karel Kuttelwascher (my wife's father), who shot down 15 bombers on night intruder raids plus three fighters.

    The script is loosely based on books by two Czech veterans, František Fajtl and Antonín Liška, both of whom I have met. One of the technical advisers on the film was my good Czech friend Zdeněk Hurt and on the official Czech web site for the movie the Czech edition of my book "Night Hawk" is mentioned as source material. Most amazingly, pilot insignia ("wings") worn by the two main stars belonged to Karel Kuttelwascher and his friend Gustav Pristupa and the leather pilot cap and gloves worn by Vetchÿ the principal hero belonged to Kuttelwascher.

    On the aircraft front, viewers might be surprised to learn that there were only two flying Spitfires in the movie: Nigel Lamb flew Spitfire Mk Vb (BM597) from Duxford and Robs Lamplough flew Spitfire Mk.VIIIc (MV154) which he owns. All the other fighters were there due to the marvels of computer graphics and modelling plus some clever recycling of material from the 1969 film "The Battle Of Britain". However, in a short scene, there is a lovely flying shot of a B-25 Mitchell bomber. Meanwhile on the ground, in an erotic opening scene, we see a pre-war trainer.

    Official Web site in Czech: click here
    Czechoslovaks in the wartime RAF: click here
    Karel Kuttelwacher's record: click here

    "The Dawn Patrol" (1930)

    This was the first version of a tale of First World War flying officers facing death on the Western Front and it starred Richard Barthelmess and Douglas Fairbanks Jnr. It was the first use of the Pfalz D. XII which is now to be found in the National Air & Space Museum in Washington.

    "The Dawn Patrol" (1938)

    This is virtually a scene by scene remake of the 1930 film using much of the same aerial footage, but it is a more watcheable version. This time the stars are Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone and David Niven.

    "Dr Strangelove" (1964)

    Subtitled "How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb", this black and white film was released just two years after the Cuban missile crisis and is a bitingly satirical exposition of the madness of the nuclear policy of Mutually Assured Destruction. Co-written, produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, it is a tour de force for Peter Sellers who plays three characters of different nationalities and personalities, while George C Scott and Sterling Hayden both give cxhilling performances.

    There are constant shots of Strategic Air Command B-52 bombers but, except for some opening film of a refuelling operation, the aircraft are simply models.

    "The First Of The Few" (1942)

    "The Few" were, of course, the 3,000 RAF pilots – including my father-in-law - who in 1940 successfully defended the skies of Britain against the much-superior numbers of the German Luftwaffe. In cinematic terms, the first of these men was R. J. Mitchell, the designer of the Supermarine Spitfire although, in the Battle of Britain, the Hawker Hurricane - as flown by my relative - shot down twice as many enemy aircraft. It was the Spitfire, with its beautifully sleek design, that - then and now - captured the public's imagination and the story of its evolution from the Schneider Trophy-winning seaplanes made an effective propagandist film at a time when the war was beginning to turn in the Allies' favour. Leslie Howard produced and directed the work as well as taking the lead role.

    "Flight" (2012)

    In spite of the title, it would be a brave (or foolish) airline that screened this as an in-flight movie. It's not just the initial nudity, frequent strong language, regular snorting or injection of drugs, and repeated excess consumption of alcohol, it's that eponymous trip at altitude. A drunken lead pilot, a nervous co-pilot, a fierce storm and a suspected mechanical failure are not exactly reassuring motifs to flash in front of even hardened fliers.

    Clearly this is the most adult movie of the career of director Robert Zemeckis who started with the "Back To The Future" trilogy and latterly has worked on motion-capture films for children. Equally it marks a new point in the acting trajectory of Denzel Washington, here playing the inebriated and arrogant pilot 'Whip' Whitaker, who first came to prominence in the role of secular saint Steve Biko and has, in recent years, portrayed a succession of less attractive and more morally complex characters as in "Training Day" and "American Gangster". This is one of the finest performances of his illustrious career.

    The first half hour of the film is terrific and inevitably the remaining near two hours struggle to sustain the same grip and should perhaps have been a bit shorter, while the ending is possibly a little too moralistically neat, but this is a movie well-worth seeing - just not on your holiday flight.

    During the animation of the accident at the National Transportation Safety Board inquiry, the aircraft is identified as a JR-88 which is deliberatley a fictional plane but similar to a MD-88 (which was used for the flying and crash scenes). The story itself was inspired by a real-life disaster, the crash of Alaska Airlines 261. The plane suffered a catastrophic failure with its horizontal stabilizer eventually causing it to dive 'nose-down' at a rate exceeding 13,300 feet per minute. The pilots, as in the film, rolled the airplane to an inverted position to try and stabilize it. Unlike the movie, however, this unfortunately did not assist them in recovering the aircraft.

    "Flight Of The Intruder" (1991)

    This is a Vietnam movie based on a novel by Stephen Coonts and, in the hands of director John Milius (who gave us such sophisticated work as "Conan The Barbarian"), it is a real disappointment. The acting is poor - the stars include Danny Glover and Wllem Dafoe - and the models are all too obvious (the A6 bomber is the prime aircraft).

    "Flyboys" (2006)

    This is a worthy and entertaining enough film that tells a story little covered in the movie world: how American pilots made up a squadron La Lafayette Escadrille in the French Air Force during World War One before the USA eventually entered the war. It claims to be inspired by actual characters and, surprising as it may seem, there was - as the movie depicts - a black flier in the unit. Also some effort has been made to get the technical details right: the references to aircraft types (the squadron flew the Nieuport 17) are accurate and pilots did wear silk scarves so that they could look around the sky more easily.

    The success of the movie is the model work and the CGI. Most of the time, the aircraft do look authentic and the technical wizardry enables a closer up portrayal of the exciting action - and there is a lot of it - than could ever be possible with real aircraft. The problems are with stereotypical characters (lightweight actors led by James Franco) and predictable scenarios (the evil German ace is bound to meet his end).

    Link: info on La Lafayette Escadrille click here

    "Flying Leathernecks" (1951)

    Unit commander John Wayne (who never could act) and his second-in-command Robert Ryan battle each other as well as the Japs in this terribly old-fashioned and hackneyed account of American flyboys in the Pacific theatre of war. There is a good deal of actual war-time footage of Grumman Wildcats in action and depiction of a form of aerial combat rarely featured in the movies (close air suppport of marines), but the dialogue is quite dreadful and the chararactisation utterly simplistic.

    "Flying Tigers" (1942)

    Before the United States belatedly entered the Second World War, American volunteers flew with the Chinese Air Force against the Japanese invaders and, once the USA was officially in the war, it was decided to make a morale-raising movie describing these earlier heroics. The Curtis P-40 Tomahawk and John Wayne star.

    "The Great Waldo Pepper" (1975)

    Great title and great flying (by Tallmantz Aviation) in this tale of an American First World War pilot, played by the charismatic Robert Redford, who turns to stunt work in the 1920s. George Roy Hill was the director of this fun and excitement.

    "Hell's Angels" (1930)

    This is the work that almost bankrupted the young American entreprenuer Howard Hughes, since it took three years to make and cost $3.8 million (£1.7 million), making it the most expensive picture of its time. The use of vintage aircraft in films can be traced back to this movie when Hughes purchased a batch of World War One aircraft to use in the production of this particular film. Two Americans - played by Ben Lyon and James Hall - become pilots in the First World War in this film also starring a 19 year old Jean Harlow. Following its use earlier in the year in "The Dawn Patrol", this movie is the second appearance of the Pflaz D. XII now on show in America's National Air & Space Museum.

    "The Hunters" (1958)

    Following in the slipstream of "The Bridges Of Toko-Ri" released four years earlier, "The Hunters" is another movie about the air war in Korea. Whereas the former was about bombers, this film is about fighters. It is based on a well-written novel of the same title, authored by Korean flying veteran James Salter and published in 1956. I first saw the movie as a 14 year old kid in 1962 and loved the mix of kills and kisses in Korea. Robert Mitchum and Robert Wagner star as American pilots and there are some good flying sequences of the F86 Sabre.

    "Iron Eagle" (1986)

    This was directed and co-written by Sidney J Furie. It stars Louis Gossett Jnr, fresh from “An Officer And A Gentleman”, and young unknown Jason Gedrick as pilots of the wondefful F-16 Fighting Falcon in a rescue mission like the one the Americans would have loved to have carried out to release their hostages in Iran. The plot is entirely fanciful, the dialogue is pure Reaganism, and the thumping soundtrack is incredibly loud, but the flying sequences are tremendous. It obviously suited the American mood because there were no less than three sequels.

    "Jet Pilot" (1957)

    As a film, this is pretty awful: a crude piece of American patriotism with a sterotypical view of the Soviet Union shown at the height of the Cold War. In fact, the work was produced by RKO in 1950 which was owned by Howard Hughes but, by the time it was released in 1957, Hughes had sold RKO and the film was released by Universal. It is presented as a kind of old-fashioned rom-com with John Wayne (a strong anti-communist) playing a United State Air Force colonel opposite Janet Leigh who is appallingly miscast as a Soviet defector (she makes no attempt at a Russian accent).

    For aviation buffs, however, the film has some interest. The USAF was very helpful and we see a great deal of the the North American F-86 Sabre in single, paired and formation manoeuvres. One sequence features a night interception of a Convair B-36 Peacemaker by a Lockheed F-94 Starfire. We even have the inclusion of the last two flights of the first Bell X-1 "Glamorous Glennis", launched from a Boeing B-50 Superfortress, representing the part of a Soviet "parasite fighter", as well as some stunt flying by the Bell X-1's most famous pilot Chuck Yeager.

    "The Lost Squadron" (1932)

    It would have been better if this film had been lost, because this account of World War I pilots finding work stunting for a movie studio is appalling in every respect.

    "The Malta Story" (1953)

    Beside the Maltese people themselves of course, the hero of this Second World War seige which won the island the George Cross was the Supermarine Spitfire and the aircraft features constantly in the movie, although usually only in the form of models and mock-ups. Shot in Shepperton studios, some actual wartime footage brings the action to life but otherwise the whole thing is stilted and formulaic.

    Emotionally subdued Alec Guinness is a photo reconnaissance pilot whose tale acts as a thread through the tribulations of the islanders and their Royal Air Force and Royal Navy defenders, but the cast is replete with British actors who either speak as if with plums in their mouth or who struggle hopelessly to affect a Maltese accent.

    "The McConnell Story" (1955)

    Jay Chladek writes:

    This is one of my personal favorites. It stars Alan Ladd and June Allyson and tells the story of real life Korean war triple jet ace Joseph McConnell. Our hero starts out as an enlisted man in WW2, who isn't a pilot, but spends leave time learning to fly planes. Circumstances eventually find him becoming an aviation cadet, but after training he only qualifies as a navigator on B-17s during the later days of the air offensive over Germany. The war ends before he can get enough missions to qualify for fighter training and he finds himself flying a desk after the war. But, circumstances add up in his favor and he eventually winds up a jet pilot in F-80s and F-86s before going to Korea to shoot down 18 enemy Migs.

    The story tends to revolve a bit more around his love interest with June Allyson (whom he marries) than the mechanics of flying and the story is typical 50s with a touch of melodrama. But it does have some nice footage with F-86s taking on F-84Fs dressed up as Migs (not reused Hunters footage either near as I can tell). And the story doesn't have a happy ending either, as the real Joseph McConnell was killed testing the F-86H at Edwards AFB while the film was being made. So, the producers and writers incorperated that tragic event into the story at the end.

    "Memphis Belle" (1990)

    This is a remake of William Wyler’s documentary of 1944 produced by his daughter Catherine Wyler and David Putnam. It uses a cast of 10 young actors, largely unknown at the time, as the crew of a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress – the Memphis Belle of the title – on their 25th and final bombing mission in the summer of 1943. Filming was conducted at Binbrook and Duxford in England with just five real B-17s (including the famous 'Sally B' based at Duxford), but there are some carefully-staged shots and use of models to convey the presence of more. It is worthy, but old-fashioned and predictable.

    "Men Of The Fighting Lady" (1954)

    Jay Chladek writes:

    In a sense, this film is something of a companion piece to "Toko Ri" as it also takes place on a US Navy carrier during the Korean war (and an F9F Panther squadron based on the carrier). Except, this one is based more on real life events as written by well known author James Michner when he was writing magazine articles. A lot of the shots are familiar, as apparently a lot of "Toko Ri" footage was used, and the film probably also made use of some unused footage as well as some new shot footage.

    The climax of the story involves one of the pilots (played by Van Johnson) who has to escort his wounded wingman back to the ship for a landing attempt. This is complicated by the fact that the wingman is blind and controls to his canopy and ejection seat are shot out, so he can't eject or bail out (and emergency landing strips are socked in with weather). In my opinion it is worth checking out even if it doesn't quite have the drama that "Toko Ri" has.

    "Men With Wings" (1938)

    This is a story of civil aviation pioneers directed by William Wellman. Following "The Dawn Patrol" and "Hell's Angels", this was the third use of the Pfalz D. XII now exhibited in the National Air & Space Museum in Washington.

    "Mosquito Squadron" (1968)

    David McCallum takes time off from his role in "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." to lead a unit of RAF Mosquitos in a Second World War raid on French targets using bouncing bombs.

    "Pearl Harbor" (2001)

    Of course, the December 1941 Japanese attack on the American fleet has been done before in "Tora! Tora! Tora!" (1970), but the April 1942 raid on Tokyo by James Doolittle (never was a man so inappropriately named) has been previously neglected by movie makers. By combining the two in a three-hour blockbuster, director Michael Bay contrives to make the loss of 349 aircraft and 2,400 sailors, soldiers and civilians in Hawaii less the catastrophic failure that it was into the impetus for a demonstration of American valour.

    In the three decades since "Tora!" budgets has grown much bigger - "Pearl Harbor" cost $135M - and special effects have become breathtaking - Industrial Light & Magic once again produce visual miracles. The attack sequence may only last 35 minutes but it is brilliantly done with some stunning scenes. Indeed the cinematic technology is so advanced that it's often difficult to be sure which aircraft are real and which are simply special effects. In fact, 15 Japanese Zeros were specially built for the film, but only nine of them flew, while computers made it seem as if there were some 200 aircraft in the sky.

    The Planes of Fame company was heavily involved in the flying sequences, making full use of their 'Zero' and P-40, but purists have objected to the colour scheme of the Zeros in the movie (bottle green instead of pale grey) and pointed out that the wrong sub-type of P-40 was depicted. At one point in a film with many continuity and technical errors, Jon Voight as President Roosevelt refers to Flying Fortresses when what we see are North American Mitchells.

    Much of the air-to-air filming on this ambitious movie was carried out from the Douglas Skyraider owned by The Fighter Collection (TFC) based at Duxford in England.

    official Web site click here
    Pearl Harbor Remembered click here
    Kate Beckinsale site click here

    “Pushing Tin” (1999)

    This strange title comes from the unusual setting of the film – its’s a term used by air traffic controllers to refer to positioning aircraft in tight air spaces and the movie is set in New York’s Terminal Radar Approach Control {TRACON). Local hot shot Nick Falzone, ably played by the charming John Cusack (“Grosse Point Blank”), is challenged at work, at play and ultimately in the sack by ultra-cool newcomer Russell Bell, portrayed by the excellent Billy Bob Thornton. All this is particularly tough on the wives: respectively Australian actress Cate Blanchett, who was so good as “Elizabeth”, and sultry Angelina Jolie (daughter of Jon Voight). “Pushing Tin” is a black comedy, with a touch of romance, that is probably best avoided if you have a fear of flying. But, if you sometimes feel stressed at work, this film should put it all in perspective and entertain you in the bargain.

    "Reach For The Sky" (1965)

    This is about the first film that I can recall seeing as a child and it presented me with my first hero. It is the story of Douglas Bader - played by the quintessential Englishman Kenneth More - who lost both his legs in a pre-war flying accident, only to become a Wing Commander, fighter ace and prison escapee in the Second World War. It is real "Boy's Own" stuff with much use of aircraft models. Years later, I read the book by Paul Brickhill and more balanced works which revealed Bader to be almost as acerbic as he was heroic.

    "The Red Baron" (2008)

    Baron Manfred von Richthofen (aka the eponymous Red Baron) was the top-scoring ace of the First World War with an amazing 80 victories credited to him, so it is little wonder that the contemporary German film industry would be tempted to make a big budget movie on his life and exploits but, even 90 years later, this is a tricky subject for Germans and writer and director Nikolai Müllerschön was taking a commercial risk. He compounded the risk by taking massive liberties with the historic record and by shooting the movie in English to give it more international appeal. The movie crashed and burned - and it's not difficult to see why.

    Germans did not like the use of English and did not find find credible the politically correct representation of Richthofen as someone disillusioned with war and willing to take on the country's political and military leadership. Germans and non-Germans alike were astonished at what Müllerschön included and excluded in his narrative.

    So much of what is portrayed is simply fiction, notably Richthofen's shooting down of Captain Roy Brown and meeting with him in No Man's Land and the whole of the romance with the nurse Käte Otersdorf. Conversely all the critical incidents in Richthofen's war career are mysteriously omitted, such as his friendship with Oswald Boelcke and his combat with Lanoe Hawker and (most astonishing of all) his death.

    The acting - largely from a young German cast - is adequate with Matthias Schweighöfer quite dashing and charismatic as the young ace. The choice of non-German actors was odd though: the British Joseph Fiennes struggles with a Canadian accent as Roy Brown and the British Lena Headey seems to have a French accent as the German nurse Käte Otersdorf. The script is clunky and the cutting spasmodic.

    Having said all this, aircraft buffs will want to see the film for its authentic recreation of the period in costumes and vehicles, its representation of a variety of First World War aircraft, and its exciting use of CGI (although the action is shown as faster and closer than was actually the case).

    Link: Wikipedia page on Richthohen click here

    "Red Tails" (2012)

    This movie has the same subject - the success of America's all-black 332nd Fighter Group known as "The Red Tails" in the Second World War - as the more low-budget and less well-known 1999 HBO television film "The Tuskegee Airmen", but it is very different in structure and tone. The more recent work has nothing on the selection and training of the airmen, but jumps straight to their deployment in Italy in 1944, and it is an unashamedly action-orientated tale with a rather simplistic gung-ho approach.

    Black actors are understandably put out that so many films with good roles for them involve a white 'saviour' - think, for instance, of "The Help" - but, in a sense, "Red Tails" has its own white 'saviour' because executive producer George Lucas had to fund both the production ($59M) and distribution ($35M) costs since Hollywood was not willing to bank a movie in which all the leading roles are taken by black actors and, with the exception of Cuba Gooding Jr (who was in "The Tuskegee Airmen" as well), these actors are hardly known. Indeed the most dashing role is taken by David Oyelowo who is a British-born actor of Nigerian descent.

    So all credit to Lucas for bringing this heroic story to a wider audience, but it is as if anxiety about its commercial prospects led to it being made as entertaining as possible with little subtlety ans some improbable scenarios. It has to be said, however, that the special effects - most of the production was in the Czech Republic - are excellent with authentic representations of the P-40 Warhawk, P-51 Mustang and B-17 Flying Fortress on the USAAF side and of the Me 109 and 262 on the Luftwaffe side (there is very little use of actual vintage aircraft).

    Link: Wikipedia page click here

    "The Right Stuff" (1983)

    This is not really an aviation film, but instead a stirring account of the Mercury space programme and the training and missions of the first seven American astronauts. Based on Tom Wolfe's book of the same title, it is a long (193 minutes) but inspiring - and often by turns amusing and moving - tale of great risk and great bravery. Bookending this space movie are flights from Edwards Air Force base by someone who had the right stuff in spades, one of the greatest pilots of all time, the famous Chuck Yeager, played by the ruggedly handsome Sam Shepard.

    Early on in the movie, we see the breaking of the sound barrier for the first time on 14 October 1947 with the Bell X-1 named - after Yeager's wife (Barbara Hershey) -"Glamorous Glennis". The film tells the true story of how, two evenings before the historic flight, Yeager broke two ribs in a horse-riding accident and so could only make the difficult transition from the B-29 mother ship into the Bell craft by using a sawn-off broom handle.

    Towards the end of the movie, we see the most life-threatening flight of Yeager's career when on 12 December 1963 he took up an Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, went through Mach 2 and reached 104,000 feet, only to go into a flat spin. He stayed with the aircraft for 13 of the 14 spins before bailing out.

    Chuck Yeager himself appears in the film in a tiny cameo role as a bartender. Today "Glamorous Glennis" hangs from the ceiling of the entrance hall in the magnificent National Air and Space Museum in Washington, my favourite museum in the world which I must have visted around a dozen times.

    The Bell X-1 "Glamorous Glennis"
    in Washington's National Air & Space Museum

    "633 Squadron" (1964)

    This is the tale of a 1944 Mosquito squadron on a dangerous mission to destroy a munitions factory in German-occupied Norway by bombing the cliff overhanging it. The pilots are led by Cliff Robertson in this enjoyable movie, enhanced by Ron Goodwin’s rousing score.

    "The Sound Barrier" (1952)

    At the end of this famous film, a British pilot solves the mystery of the sound barrier by reversing the controls at the critical moment during the power dive. There are just two problems with this account. It was actually an American, Chuck Yeager, who first broke the sound barrier (see “The Right Stuff”) and reversing the controls in the transonic zone is likely to kill the pilot. In his book “The Right Stuff”, Tom Wolfe describes how Yeager was invited to the American premiere of the movie and, when asked afterwards for his reaction, responded that the picture was “utter shuck from start to finish”.

    In fact, the film is something of a classic of aviation cinema. It was inspired by the death of Geoffrey de Havilland in his father’s DH 108 in 1946 and involved an array of British talent: Malcolm Arnold as composer, Terence Rattigan as screenwriter, David Lean as director, and Ralph Richardson and Nigel Patrick (the pilot) as members of the cast. The aerial sequences were shot by a specialist called Anthony Squire and focused on the Vickers Supermarine swept-wing jetfighter, prototype 535 the Swift.

    "The Spirit Of St Louis" (1957)

    In 1927, the American Charles Lindbergh became the most famous hero in aviation history when he made the first solo crossing of the Atlantic in an astonishing non-stop flight of 3,600 miles from New York to Paris. Thirty years later, the achievement was commemorated in this film co-written and directed by Billy Wilder (better known for “Some Like It Hot”). James Stewart portrays the pilot in a movie which is bound to drag at times, given that a 33 hour flight by a man alone can only contain so much interest. Sadly Lindbergh’s image was later seriously tarnished by his avowed sympathy for European fascism. Meanwhile “The Spirit Of St Louis” – a specially-constructed Ryan monoplane with no forward vision - can be seen in the entrance hall to Washington’s National Air & Space Museum.

    "The Spirit Of St Louis"
    in Washington's National Air & Space Museum

    "Strategic Air Command" (1955)

    James Stewart is a baseball player recalled to US air force duty and June Allyson is his wife in an Anthony Mann film full of Cold War and sexist attitudes. Once the flying scenes kick in - Boeing B-36 and B-47 bombers - it becomes a little better.

    "Tactical Assault" (1998)

    As a conventional movie, this is truly awful: a thin and utterly implausible plot, a dire script and indifferent acting. It features the revenge of a US pilot, shot down over Iraq by his commander, when he somehow reappears six years later and is assigned back to duty on his former commander's base. If the USAF admitted psychopaths like this to fly military jets, the world would be in even more trouble than it already is. The mystery is how they persuaded (a paunchy) Rutger Hauer ("Blade Runner") and Robert Patrick ("Terminator 2") to appear in such rubbish (money, I guess).

    On the other hand, as an aviation film, this work does sport a fair amount of action cinematography of a wide range of military flyware: AWACS, combat helicopters (Mi-17 HIP and Mi-24 HIND), and fighter jets (F-4 Phantom, F-16 Falcon, MiG-29 and L-39) in bewidering markings. In fact, there are so many clips of different aircraft that the continuity goes totally awry. Then, if (like me) you've ever been to Budapest, you'll enjoy the location shoting in the Hungarian capital.

    "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" (1944)

    Jay Chladek writes:

    I am very certain that this film was done right after WW2 considering the aircraft used in it appeared to be correct B-25B model Mitchells like those used in the raid. It covers the Doolittle raid on Japan in 1942 as seen through the eyes of the crew of "The Ruptured Duck" and does it from early training, through the raid, and to the end when the crew makes it out of China and back to the States. Spencer Tracy stars as Jimmy Doolittle with Van Johnson as the captain of "The Ruptured Duck" and Robert Mitchum as the commander of another B-25.

    This film makes a nice companion to "Tora Tora Tora" and is much superior to the raid as portrayed in "Pearl Harbor". But it does drag a bit in spots towards the end as a delerious Van Johnson, injured in the crash of his plane, thinks about his wife and how his injuries might complicate their marriage. Still, it is a good story and the footage of the bombing raid is very well done.

    I have no idea how they filmed it, but it looks like they really are flying over Japan and not some redressed American countryside. Some of the footage shown came from the actual launch off the "USS Hornet" from that raid, but I really don't know how they did the rest of it. Sharp-eyed viewers might notice that some of the footage filmed for "30 seconds" was also reused in the opening credits for the 1970s film "Midway". I think this film is worth a look see as it doesn't seem to have the type of melodrama that many air pictures filmed during WW2 (like "Flying Tigers") seem to have, making it much more fun to watch in my humble opinion.

    "Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines" (1964)

    The majority of the aircraft used in this comedy were built especially for the film. Most of the replicas remain in existence and the Avro Triplane and the Bristol Boxkite, 'flown' in the movie by Terry Thomas and Stuart Whitman respectively, still delight the crowds annually at the summer air events of the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden Aerodrome in Bedfordshire, England.

    "The Thousand Plane Raid" (1969)

    This low-budget American movie describes a raid by a thousand bombers - a technique started by the British - to attack the Third Reich whose Führer claimed that it would last a thousand years. Most of the flying footage is taken from wartime filming.

    "Top Gun" (1986)

    In terms of the actual flying sequences, this has to be the best aviation movie ever made. Producers Jerry Bruckheimer & Don Simpson (who made a string of action moneyspinners) and director Tony Scott (who cut his teeth on television advertisements) had the full backing of the United States Navy which allowed them access to the Navy’s Fighter School (known as Top Gun), an actual aircraft carrier, and above all the mighty F-14 Tomcats. The F-5 as stands in as the "MiG-28" (of which there is no such aircraft.)

    The film is the story of a naval aviator – codename “Maverick” – who has to learn to be less self-centred and more a part of the team. On the ground, it is much too slow, with a poor script and weak characterisation, but in the air it is if anything too fast with superb aerial photography of practice and real dogfighting. “Maverick” is played by the good-looking Tom Cruise, while the love interest comes from a blonde Kelly McGillis (whatever happened to her?) as Charlie. There is an excellent soundtrack, notably the opening sequence by Harold Faltermeyer and the song “Take My Breath Away”. Definitely a film best seen at the cinema with 70mm and Dolby stereo.

    "Tora! Tora! Tora!" (1970)

    At least two other war films of this period, “The Battle Of Britain” and “Patton” (both issued the previous year), took pains to show the enemy point of view, complete with use of German dialogue, but “Tora!” – the word means “Tiger!” in Japanese - took the process a stage further by presenting the enemy’s point of view equally, in this case the American and Japanese versions of the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. Indeed the technical advisors included Kuranosuke Isoda, a member of Admiral Yamamoto’s staff, and Kanoe Sonokawa, a former Zero pilot.

    This ‘balanced’ approach dampens the emotions and the real stars of the movies are definitely the aircraft – more than 70 of them. Not all of them are what they seem: 12 North American AT-6 Texan aircraft were modified to duplicate the Japanese Mitsubishi A6M2 type 21 “Zero” fighter, nine Vultee BT-13 Valiant trainers were modified to duplicate the Aichi D3A1 “Val” dive bomber, and a combination of AT-6 and BT-13 airframes made up the nine Nakajima B5N2 “Kate” torpedo bombers. Real enough were the five Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses, the two Curtiss P-40 Warhawks, and the Consolidated PBY Catalinas.

    Link: Pearl Harbor Remembered click here

    "The Tuskegee Airmen" (1995)

    The title is a reference to the American base in Alabamba which saw the training of black (or "coloured", as they were called then) aircrew in the United States Army Air Force of World War Two and this HBO televsion film is based on the actual experience of the 332nd Fighter Group known as "The Red Tails" because of their aircraft markings. All the pilots were graduates and skilled at their craft, but blantant prejudice kept them away from active operations until intervention by the White House. This is a noble - and little known - story utilising some good flying footage.

    Footnote: A war-time report submitted to the Pentagon stated: "The negro type has not the proper reflexes to make a first-class fighter pilot". The Red Tails escorted bombers on 200 missions over Europe without losing an aircraft. The US Air Force was finally desegregated in 1949.

    Link: Wikipedia page click here

    "Twelve O'Clock High" (1949)

    Set in 1942 and made only seven years later, this is an account of Gregory Peck’s high minded leadership of a ‘hard luck’ unit of Flying Fortress crews. There is little flying until the end when some actual aerial photography taken in the war is used to good effect.

    "United 93" (2006)

    Although there have already been a couple of television programmes on the seismic events of 11 September 2001, this is the first feature film. There will, of course, be many more, but it is difficult to imagine a more stunning and impactful one. In a sense, therefore, it is ironic that the writer and director Paul Greengrass is British and that most of the filming was done at the Pinewood studio just outside London, using the inside of a salvaged Boeing 757.

    The style adopted by Greengrass so effectively is an utterly sparse one. The hand-held camera work and rapid cutting give the whole thing the feel of a documentary. There is no preamble or scene-setting, no flash-backs, no explanations, no star actors. Instead the narrative is simply linear and the confusion self-evident. The research as to events and dialogue is meticulous, members of the aircrew are played by actual stewardesses and pilots, and many of the air traffic controllers and military personnel are playing themselves.

    There may be no analysis or commentary but many of the messages are stark. The nearest F-16 was 100 miles away and the military knew nothing of the airliner's fate until four minutes after it struck the ground. Neither the President nor the Vice-President was in contact. They and we were totally unprepared for an event of this nature.

    Since United Airlines flight 93 took off from Newark airport 40 minutes later than scheduled, the passengers were able to learn of the suicide missions carried out by the three other sets of hijackers. Since the time to elapse from the first jet slamming into the World Trade Center to the crashing of United 93 was around an hour, this film is able to adopt a real-time narrative.

    The tension, as the 40 passengers gradually understand more about their dilemma and plan a last-ditch effort to gain control of the plane, is almost unbearable. The mobile calls to relatives and friends makes one's eyes well with tears. The timing and nature of the final shot - the actual crash and a totally black scene - is stunning.

    This impressive and compelling work was produced in full co-operation with the relatives of the passengers and it is a fitting tribute to them, their bravery and their sacrifice.

    "Victory Through Air Power" (1943)

    This is a real oddity: a Walt Disney documentary cum animation feature to promote radical new theories on the importance of strategic bombing. Made in 1943, it was wartime propaganda which estolled the arguments previously set out in a book of the same name by Major Alexander de Seversky. Apparently, after seeing the movie (at Winston Churchill's urging), the American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt finally committed to a full strategic air campaign against Germany.

    The Second World War did not fully underline the validity of the theories - air power alone did not break Germany and it was the atomic bomb which defeated Japan - but more latterly the two Gulf Wars have demonstrated the continued potency of air power.

    "The Way To The Stars" (1945)

    A lot of talent - but not much flying - went into this account of life on an airfield and a nearby hotel in wartime Britain. Terence Rattigan and Anatole de Grunwald wrote the screenplay and the cast featured a host of established actors (led by John Mills and Michael Redgrave) and stars-to-be (including Trevor Howard and Jean Simmons). The action - set in 1940, 1942 and 1944 - surrounds the use of the base by British and then American pilots and it's clear that, whatever your nationality, if your name is Johnny your number is going to come up. There are glimpses of Hurricanes and Blenheims, then A-20 Bostons, and finally B-17 Flying Fortresses, but the plot really concerns the effects of war on relationships and, as such, shows the effect on women (Renée Asherson and Rosamunde John).

    "We Were Soldiers" (2002)

    This is an account of one of the very few full-scale battles between American troops and North Vietnamese regulars which occurred in November 1965 in the Ia Drang Valley in the Central Highlands (recreated in central California). Some 400 US soldiers took on around 2,000 Vietnamese in a fire fight lasting three days and nights.

    War movies will never be the same since "Saving Private Ryan". "We Were Soldiers" - like "Black Hawk Down" - presents a brutally visceral version of war in which we are left in no doubt of the terrible sound and awesome destruction of modern ordnance. Indeed there are so many similarities between these two films issued within weeks of one another. Both are based on books and show the essential role of the helicopter in modern warfare to both deliver and sustain ground troops and the all-decisive nature of air power; both involve US troops being massively outnumbered by local forces, inflicting far more deaths than they suffered, and having to fight by night as well as day; and, above all, both portray ill-conceived and ultimately failed American operations in an heroic light.

    The American soldiers in this conflict were members of Custer's old unit but,instead of horses, their mode of transport was the ubiquitous Huey helicopter. When their commanding officer (played by Mel Gibson) realised that his men are about to be overrun by the North Vietnanese, he issues the message "Broken Arrow", whereupon a whole variety of warplanes bomb the hell out of the enemy. For some of this section, footage is borrowed from the earlier Vietnam movie "Flight Of The Intruder".

    "A Yank In The RAF" (1941)

    This sounds as if it should offer some good flying sequences, but the aircraft are models and poor at that. Instead we have a limp romance between the titular Tyrone Power and Betty Grable in wartime London.

    All reviews by ROGER DARLINGTON.

    Last modified on 17 July 2015

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