Many on this board have compared this movie to TOP GUN which is a good movie but lacks Dawn Patrol's depth.
The early version of DAWN PATROL tells a complex tale of leadership and command best illustrated by the scene in which the commanding officer is promoted out of the unit and command falls into the hands of his highly critical, hot dog, second in command. I don't remember exactly was the CO said when he opened the orders relieving him. I believe the line goes, "Now see what you can do now that you can't do everything you want." The tension between the commander and his second is what find to be the most interesting part of the movie. Top Gun simply lacks that type of insight. Top Gun is more of an adventure story of a hot dog pilot.
Movies comparable to Dawn Patrol in the military war genre which attain the understanding of the conflict at the top.are Major Dundee, Twelve O'Clock High and surprisingly the John Wayne film Flying Leathernecks.
This film was remade in 1938 with Errol Flynn in the lead role. I'm told that it was so gripping that French spies on the Luxembourg border went to see it and missed the onset of the German invasion.
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