11 July 2012 8:37 PM, PDT | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

William Wyler's wartime documentary Memphis Belle is fairly well-known, and even had the questionable honor of a dramatic feature film remake by Michael Caton-Jones and David Puttnam. Slightly less celebrated is Wyler's follow-up, which came out after the war had ended. John Sturges assisted.

Thunderbolt (1947)—which you can watch in its entirely via the YouTube embed, above—deals with American fighter-bombers in Italy and might be useful to show to anybody convinced by the George Lucas-produced Red Tails, once they're out of diapers. See Catch 22 for a different view of the same theater of operations.

Who knows how much artifice went into these films? Certainly footage from multiple missions was cut together to create cohesive narratives depicting single missions, but all the combat is genuine and the material was gathered at tremendous risk. Air crews wondered how Wyler could function without collapsing in terror: they had a plane »

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