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Wings
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Wings (1927) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 26 | slideshow) Videos (see all 5)
Wings -- Two young men -- one rich, one middle class -- who are in love with the same woman, become fighter pilots in World War I.
Wings -- The stratagem employed by fighter pilots in WWI, reflected in the William Wellman film, Wings.
Wings -- Preservationists discuss some of the challenges of doing too much clean-up in the efforts to save the first Academy Award Best Picture: Wings
Wings -- A featurette about the making of Wings.

Overview

User Rating:
7.9/10   5,849 votes »
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Writers:
John Monk Saunders (story)
Hope Loring (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Wings on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
5 January 1929 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
An Epic of the Air See more »
Plot:
Two young men, one rich, one middle class, who are in love with the same woman, become fighter pilots in World War I. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins See more »
User Reviews:
American Melodrama at its Best See more (55 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Clara Bow ... Mary Preston

Charles 'Buddy' Rogers ... Jack Powell (as Charles Rogers)

Richard Arlen ... David Armstrong
Jobyna Ralston ... Sylvia Lewis
El Brendel ... Herman Schwimpf
Richard Tucker ... Air Commander

Gary Cooper ... Cadet White
Gunboat Smith ... The Sergeant
Henry B. Walthall ... David's Father

Roscoe Karns ... Lt. Cameron
Julia Swayne Gordon ... David's Mother
Arlette Marchal ... Celeste
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Douglas Haig
Charles Barton ... Soldier Flirting with Mary (uncredited)
Thomas Carr ... Aviator (uncredited)
Thomas Carrigan ... Undetermined Role (uncredited)
Margery Chapin ... Peasant Woman (uncredited)
Andy Clark ... Undetermined Role (uncredited)
Nigel De Brulier ... Peasant (uncredited)
Hal George ... Undetermined Role (uncredited)
Dick Grace ... Aviator (uncredited)
William Hickey ... Charlton Blanchard (uncredited)

Hedda Hopper ... Mrs. Powell (uncredited)

George Irving ... Mr. Powell (uncredited)
Robert Livingston ... Recruit in Examination Office (uncredited)
James Pierce ... Army MP (uncredited)
Rod Rogers ... Aviator (uncredited)
Frank Tomick ... Undetermined Role (uncredited)
Carl von Haartman ... German Officer (uncredited)
Gloria Wellman ... Peasant Child (uncredited)

William A. Wellman ... Doughboy (uncredited)
Percy Williams ... Armstrong Butler (uncredited)
Zalla Zarana ... Undetermined Role (uncredited)
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Directed by
William A. Wellman 
Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast (uncredited)
 
Writing credits
John Monk Saunders (story)

Hope Loring (screenplay) and
Louis D. Lighton (screenplay)

Julian Johnson (titles)

Byron Morgan  story ideas (uncredited)

Produced by
B.P. Schulberg .... associate producer
Lucien Hubbard .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
J.S. Zamecnik (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Harry Perry (photographed by)
 
Film Editing by
E. Lloyd Sheldon (editor-in-chief)
Lucien Hubbard (uncredited)
 
Art Direction by
Hans Dreier (uncredited)
 
Costume Design by
Travis Banton (uncredited)
Edith Head (uncredited)
 
Production Management
Frank M. Blount .... production manager (uncredited)
Lucien Hubbard .... production supervisor (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Charles Barton .... assistant director (uncredited)
James Ewens .... assistant director (uncredited)
Richard Johnston .... assistant director (uncredited)
Norman Z. McLeod .... assistant director (uncredited)
E.K. Merritt .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Charles Barton .... property master (uncredited)
Paul B. Malone .... construction: Camp Stanley (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Roy Pomeroy .... engineering effects (uncredited)
Barney Wolff .... special effects assistant (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Frank Andrews .... stunt pilot (uncredited)
Pierce L. Butler .... stunt pilot (uncredited)
Frank Clarke .... stunt pilot (uncredited)
Hal George .... stunt pilot (uncredited)
Dick Grace .... aerial stunts (uncredited)
Clarence Irvine .... stunt pilot (uncredited)
Denis Kavanagh .... stunt pilot (uncredited)
Earle E. Partridge .... stunt pilot (uncredited)
Earl H. Robinson .... stunt pilot (uncredited)
Rod Rogers .... stunt pilot (uncredited)
Sterling R. Stribling .... stunt pilot (uncredited)
Bill Taylor .... stunt pilot (uncredited)
Frank Tomick .... stunt pilot (uncredited)
Hoyt Vandenberg .... stunt pilot (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
L.B. Abbott .... additional photographer (uncredited)
E.F. Adams .... additional photographer (uncredited)
Bert Baldridge .... camera operator: Akeley camera (uncredited)
Guy Bennett .... additional photographer (uncredited)
Cliff Blackstone .... additional photographer (uncredited)
William H. Clothier .... camera operator: Akeley camera (uncredited)
Frank Cotner .... camera operator: Akeley camera (uncredited)
Faxon M. Dean .... camera operator: Akeley camera (uncredited)
Otto Dyar .... still photographer (uncredited)
Russell Harlan .... additional photographer (uncredited)
Art Lane .... camera operator: Akeley camera (uncredited)
Ernest Laszlo .... camera operator: Akeley camera (uncredited)
Harry Mason .... camera operator: Akeley camera (uncredited)
Herbert Morris .... camera operator: Akeley camera (uncredited)
Albert Myers .... additional photographer (uncredited)
Gene O'Donnell .... additional photographer (uncredited)
Ray Olsen .... camera operator: Akeley camera (uncredited)
Paul Perry .... additional photographer (uncredited)
William Rand .... additional photographer (uncredited)
Eugene Richee .... still photographer (uncredited)
William Riley .... camera operator: Akeley camera (uncredited)
Harry Schapp .... camera operator: Akeley camera (uncredited)
Herman Schopp .... additional photographer (uncredited)
Cliff Shirpser .... assistant camera (uncredited)
E. Burton Steene .... additional photographer (uncredited)
George Stevens .... additional photographer (uncredited)
Sergeant Ward .... additional photographer (uncredited)
L. Guy Wilky .... camera operator: Akeley camera (uncredited)
Al Williams .... additional photographer (uncredited)
Al Williams .... aerial camera operator (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Carl Pierson .... cutter (uncredited)
Mildred Richter .... cutter (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Peter Boyer .... conductor: 2012 restored score
Dan Goldwasser .... soundtrack producer (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Jesse L. Lasky .... presenter
Adolph Zukor .... presenter
Frank Andrews .... commander: military pilots (uncredited)
Henry H. Arnold .... technical consultant (uncredited)
S.C. Campbell .... supervisor: flying sequences (uncredited)
Sterling Campbell .... technical director: flight sequences (uncredited)
Walter Ellis .... communications supervisor (uncredited)
James A. Healy .... supervisor: flying sequences (uncredited)
A.M. Jones .... supervisor: ground troop maneuvers (uncredited)
E.P. Ketchum .... supervisor: trench system reproduction (uncredited)
Arthur Kocks .... business manager (uncredited)
Norman Kohn .... business manager (uncredited)
F.P. Lahm .... commander: military pilots (uncredited)
Rodger Manning .... business manager (uncredited)
Robert Mortimer .... ordnance supervisor (uncredited)
Edward Norris .... double: Buddy Rogers, Parisian hotel scene (uncredited)
Ted Parson .... supervisor: flying sequences (uncredited)
Harry Reynolds .... airplane preparation (uncredited)
Bill Taylor .... airplane preparation (uncredited)
Carl von Haartman .... supervisor: flying sequences (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
MPAA:
Rated PG-13 for war violence
Runtime:
144 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System) (musical score and sound effects) | Silent
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Was considered lost for many years until it was discovered languishing in the Cinematheque Francaise film archive in Paris.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: At 1:27:27, the position of David holding the letter changes between shots.See more »
Quotes:
British Soldier:Hello Yank, welcome to a very merry little war. And now how about a wee drop for the King and Uncle Sam?See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) (TV)See more »
Soundtrack:
WingsSee more »

FAQ

What is a Bangalore Torpedo?
See more »
45 out of 55 people found the following review useful.
American Melodrama at its Best, 15 October 2003
Author: playerpage from United States

Wings (1927), is not only the FIRST winner of the Best Picture Academy Award, it may be the BEST film to hold that title, and I say that knowing that Casablanca, Gladiator, and The Last Emperor all hold the statue too. There have been some stinkers dubbed "Best Picture" in the past, (Shakespeare in Love beating Saving Private Ryan??? The Greatest Show on Earth over High Noon?! Spare us all) but this is not one of them.

Even supporters of the film, writing reviews here at IMDb, can't seem to resist taking shots at Wings' plot, but I'm here to tell you it is just fine, even solidly written. Some reviewers don't sound like they have seen this movie in a long time, or if they have, they slept through it. For one thing, the "Love Triangle" is not as convoluted or hard to grasp as others have implied:

Jack Powell (Buddy Rogers) has a crush on one Sylvia Lewis (Jobyna Ralston), the local beauty queen. She finds this cute and indulges it a little bit--actually too much. But she is quite sincerely in love with someone else, David Armstrong (Richard Arlen) a well-off local boy who isn't quite able to figure out how to tell Jack to butt-out because it doesn't involve money. The wild card in all of this (literally and figuratively) is Mary Preston (Clara Bow), who lives next door to Jack and has been mooning over him since she was a little girl.

That's the whole dynamic. I have no idea what someone was thinking when they suggested Mary expressed any feelings for David (She never does). Some have said they can't believe Jack would go for Sylvia with Mary next door. I see their point, because the casting of Clara Bow in her role is like having Kirsten Dunst living next door and not noticing. The problem is, Jack isn't SUPPOSED to notice Mary until the end, when he has experienced the war and realizes that everything he wants is right there at home where he belongs. In the beginning he is all about Fast Cars and the Trophy Girls.

So, the plot thickens as the US gets dragged into World War I and both Jack and David sign up as pilots. Naturally each of them heads to Sylvia's house to say good-bye. Sylvia prepared a locket with her picture in it for David, but Jack sees it first. This scene is a great display of awkwardness wrapped in etiquette, especially when Sylvia tries to let go of Jack's hand. Jack takes the locket from her, and, this being more than she can stand, Sylvia almost gets the words out to tell him the truth when David gets there. At this point Jack turns on the macho-factor, and he is so gleeful about rubbing Sylvia's locket in David's face that he doesn't even notice she never kissed him good-bye.

Sylvia makes up for David's loss of the locket with some tender words and some passionate kissing--no mystery where her feelings lie--and the three of them head off for war. Three, because Mary goes too, as a nurse. Another complaint about this film and it's plot has been that Clara Bow wasn't given enough to do, shunted off into a side part even though she got billing as the Leading Lady, but I just don't see it. Her part was as big as any Romantic Interest in most movies out there; a good example for comparison would be Kathleen Quinlan's roll in Apollo 13. Most of her scenes were not shared with Tom Hanks, but she turned in an emotional and Oscar-nominated performance nonetheless.

The air battles in this film have never been topped anywhere. Ever. And that includes anything involving aliens, fighter jets, or a galaxy far, far, away. The information that the actors flew their own planes is misleading. Actors couldn't do what these pilots do. The stunt flying is by the US Army Air Corps in Texas (!) where the movie was filmed (I dare you to have guessed that on your own). What Rogers and Arlen do is all their own close-ups, flying the plane as they careen and dive. When the camera ran out of film (or the planes ran out of gas) a stunt pilot from the Army would pop up and land the plane.

The resolution of the story I won't comment further on, except to say that it is extremely moving and does highlight the madness of war, especially the kind of war WW1 was. I support military action for just causes, but everything has a cost and Wings lays that cost bare. These were issues being struggled over long before Vietnam, just in case you thought Hippies invented protest.

After complaining that she didn't do enough, some people insist that Mary's tactics in Paris were out of character. No they were not. Mary had to get Jack away from that "other woman" and get him his orders before he got court marshaled. She was not becoming a floozie, only dressing the part, and she paid the ultimate price for the risk she took. It also helped to stir up Jack's feelings about her in later scenes, and get him thinking.

Wings! Melodramatic? Sure. Unoriginal? Well... if you make that claim because you can guess what's coming or you've seen it all before, just ask yourself how old these movies are that you are comparing Wings to, and check Wings' release date again. Maybe the plot-heist occurred in the other direction.

This film deserves a DVD release. Barring that, see if you can track down the old Paramount Laserdisc, LV 2851-2, which is what I had. I have been enamored with, and watching, this film since I was 13 (30 now). It shattered my little-boy prejudices against both black and white and silent films in one great blast of anti-aircraft fire, and I have been spreading its gospel ever since. You will not ever see a better World War 1 film.

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Fantastic Stunts donovanarchmontierth
Did 'Pearl Harbor' (2001) rip this off? JoReia
Bullets? shamrok1947-1
Just saw 2012 re-release. What's different from the original version? nielw
Wings vs The Artist volwolf
Available on Amazon Instant Video. Watch it while you can! nielw
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