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The Dawn Patrol (1938)

Not Rated | | War, Drama | 24 December 1938 (USA)
British flying aces in World War I contend with the harsh realities of war.

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Major Brand
...
Scott
...
Phipps
...
Sgt. Watkins
...
Bott
...
Hauptmann Von Mueller
Peter Willes ...
Hollister
Morton Lowry ...
Donnie Scott
Michael Brooke ...
Capt. Squires
...
Flaherty
...
Bentham
...
Mechanic
...
Major Brand's Orderly (as Sidney Bracy)
Leo Nomis ...
Aeronautic Supervisor
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Storyline

In 1915 France, Major Brand commands the 39th Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps. The young airmen go up in bullet-riddled "crates" and the casualty rate is appalling, but Brand can't make the "brass hats" at headquarters see reason. Insubordinate air ace Captain Courtney is another thorn in Brand's side...but finds the smile wiped from his face when he rises to command the squadron himself. Everyone keeps a stiff upper lip. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They roared through the dawn . . . with death on their wings ! See more »

Genres:

War | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

24 December 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Patrulha da Alvorada  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The name Von Richter is obviously a reference to Manfred von Richtofen, the iconic World War I German ace, who was nicknamed "The Red Baron" by friend and foe. See more »

Goofs

The amount of oil and dirt on Courtney's face changes several times between scenes. The most obvious is when he goes up stairs to console another pilot who has lost a friend. As he goes up his face is slightly dirty, as he enters the room it is noticeably dirtier and when he comes back down it is much cleaner. See more »

Quotes

Phipps: [Opens package dropped by enemy plane] It's his helmet and goggles. It means a very gallant gentleman died this afternoon. And for what? What have all these deaths accomplished? So many fine chaps have died in this war and are going to die in future wars.
[pause]
Phipps: That's all, gentlemen.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Special Effects: Anything Can Happen (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile!
(1915) (uncredited)
Music by Felix Powell
Lyrics by George Asaf
Sung by the airmen in the club
Reprised by arriving replacement airmen
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Exciting & Anguishing Film About "the next man who dies"
20 April 2004 | by (Florida) – See all my reviews

I first saw this movie when I was 16, and didn't understand a lot of its subtleties; I just thought it was an exciting & dramatic war film with a lot of great flying sequences. I caught it again when I was 34 and was surprised at its depth.

I like to watch this movie whenever my own job gets crazy and hectic, with unrealistic deadlines and insufficient support, because it reminds me that I really don't have it so bad after all. The men in this movie were sent up daily in obsolete equipment in a bad state of disrepair; as the film progressed the squadron had about a 70% turnover as the combat veterans were shot down and replaced by green kids whose limited training could not possibly have prepared them for what they would face.

The characters are all dissected, even lesser, supporting roles receive excellent character studies, and the stars of course are downright fascinating. It's a thrill to learn that Errol Flynn (Captain Courtney) really could act, as well as just jump around and wave a sword; David Niven is wonderfully innocent and almost childlike as "Scotty," and Basil Rathbone, a truly great actor who seldom got the chance to strut his stuff since he was usually typecast as a "bad guy" or as Sherlock Holmes, gives a nerve-wrenching performance as Major Brand, who's floundering under the strain. He proves a profound point -- it is often easier to go to your own death than to order others to do so, a lesson Captain Courtney and Lt. Scott must reluctantly learn as well.

I'm now 44, and have seen this movie a couple dozen times, but it never ages. The flying sequences are still exciting; the chivalry and wild antics of the fliers never becomes tiresome or old, and the anguish of war is still as heartbreaking. Truly a movie that will last.


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