12 user 5 critic

Lafayette Escadrille (1958)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, War | March 1958 (USA)
American youth and flying ace flies for France in World War I; meets & loves a French girl & prostitute.



(screen play), (from a story by)

Watch Now

From $9.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

The survivors of an Army patrol ambushed by Indians hook up with a group of cowboys who have also been attacked, and together they try to get to safety at the fort. Unfortunately for them, ... See full summary »

Director: Jodie Copelan
Stars: Scott Brady, Margia Dean, Clint Eastwood
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A family saga: In a stunning mountain valley ranch setting near Aspen, complex and dangerous family dynamics play out against the backdrop of the first big snowstorm of winter and an ... See full summary »

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Teresa Wright, Diana Lynn
Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A story following Lt. Peter Stirling and his dream being in the navy.

Director: Arthur Lubin
Stars: Donald O'Connor, Martha Hyer, Richard Erdman
Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

At the turn of the century Rose and ex-showbiz friend Molly get involved in selling steel. When they come unstuck with corsets they embark on the even more hazardous project of selling ... See full summary »

Director: Arthur Lubin
Stars: Ginger Rogers, Barry Nelson, Carol Channing
Malaya (1949)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Newspaperman Royer convinces government officials of a plan to obtain rubber by stealing it out from under the Japanese. Carnahan is let out of prison to help.

Director: Richard Thorpe
Stars: Spencer Tracy, James Stewart, Valentina Cortese
The Way West (1967)
Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

In 1843 a former U.S. senator leads a wagon train of settlers to Oregon, but his megalomania leads to growing dissatisfaction with his leadership.

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Richard Widmark
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Two producers are putting together a wartime charity show with an all-star cast but the egotism of radio personality Eddie Cantor disrupts their plans.

Director: David Butler
Stars: Eddie Cantor, Dennis Morgan, Humphrey Bogart
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

When a commercial airliner develops engine problems on a trans-Pacific flight and the pilot loses his nerve, it is up to the washed-up co-pilot Dan Roman to bring the plane in safely.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Laraine Day
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An unpolished racketeer, whose racket is finding heirs for unclaimed fortunes, affects ethics and tea-drinking manners to win back the sweetheart who now works for his seemingly upright competitor.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: James Cagney, Bette Davis, Allen Jenkins
Blood Alley (1955)
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

His ship seized by the Chinese Communists, American Merchant Captain Tom Wilder languishes in prison but Chinese villagers help him escape to sail them to Hong-Kong.

Directors: William A. Wellman, John Wayne
Stars: John Wayne, Lauren Bacall, Paul Fix
War | Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A U.S. sub commander, obsessed with sinking a certain Japanese ship, butts heads with his first officer and crew.

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, Jack Warden
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Old friends Kit Marlowe and Millie Drake adopt contrasting lifestyles: Kit is a single, critically acclaimed author while married Millie writes popular pulp novels.

Director: Vincent Sherman
Stars: Bette Davis, Miriam Hopkins, Gig Young


Cast overview, first billed only:
Thad Walker
Renée Beaulieu
Drill Sergeant
Duke Sinclair
U.S. General
Veola Vonn ...
The Madam
Will Hutchins ...
Dave Putnam
George Moseley
Robert Hover ...
Dave Judd (as Bob Hover)
Arthur Blumenthal
Frank Baylies
Henry Nakamura ...
Maurice Marsac ...
Sgt. Parris
Amos J. Walker
William Wellman Jr. ...
Bill Wellman Sr.


American youth and flying ace flies for France in World War I; meets & loves a French girl & prostitute.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The young rebel who didn't fit and didn't try...a kid who couldn't wait for his war!


Drama | Romance | War


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

March 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

C'est la guerre  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to Tab Hunter in his memoirs, Tab Hunter Confidential, William Wellman was furious because, on the set, Warner Productions replaced a coffee man - who gave coffee to the crew - by an automatic machine where every one had to pay. So, Wellman grabbed the machine, threw it on the floor and brought it brutally to the street. And the coffee man came back. See more »


Aviators in World War I generally didn't wear the high-collar tunics like the one worn by Thad. This is because they needed to be able to turn their heads while flying. Rather, they wore a uniform coat that required a shirt and tie. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: A half-forgotten corner of France in a wholly-forgotten war. In memory of the heroes of the Lafayette Escadrille, who died in defense of life and of liberty. This monument, this patch of foreign sky, belongs to a handful of Americans who flew for France and died for France in the First World War. They came with an air of adventure or a sense of impatience in the days before America entered the war. The wore French uniforms, they fought in French planes, and they fell in love with ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

And Introducing Bill Wellman, Jr. Jody McCrae Dennis Devine See more »


Featured in Tab Hunter Confidential (2015) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A shadow of the film it could have been
17 July 2013 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Starring a young Paul Newman and, in his first major role, Clint Eastwood, director William Wellman returned to the theme of his Oscar-winning Wings and his own experiences as an American pilot flying for the French in World War One with 1958's epic Lafayette Escadrille, a fitting swansong for one of the great directors of the golden age - or at least that's what SHOULD have happened. Instead Jack Warner balked at the budget, insisted on casting Tab Hunter instead of the lesser-known actors (Eastwood's role went to David Janssen, leaving him in a small bit part), added a happier ending and cut the film to ribbons in post-production before changing the title to Hell Bent for Glory, with the bitterly disillusioned director never making another film. The scars are all too visible in the rushed pacing and jarring plot holes left by scenes that never made it to the final cut, the opening of the film in particular looking like someone attempted to crudely shoehorn 20 minutes of plot development from an already badly compromised script into five minutes of surviving footage that looks like it's been edited with a lawnmower.

Some moments do survive, but they're few and far between. The heroes' first night in their barracks moves from a flat comic scene to a quietly mournful one where Wellman's own narration identifies of the real-life pilots sleeping alongside them by name and describes their impending deaths, and its here that you see the kind of no-nonsense tribute to the friends he left behind that he so clearly wanted to make. Wellman himself is actually a supporting character in the film, played by his own son, while Tab Hunter's hero isn't a million miles away from the kind of troubled delinquent 'Wild Bill' was himself, a spoiled brat running away from a hit-and-run accident (it's tempting to see Wellman's original ending that saw him die as a kind of survivor's guilt that so many who survived the Great War when 'better' men died sometimes expressed).

Unfortunately the result is just a flat, Earthbound backlot melodrama with some variably staged service comedy that abandons the fledgling fliers at the halfway point as Hunter deserts to marry Etchika Choureau's hustler-turned-nice-girl. Choureau's a pretty girl and there's a nice sequence with her blowing on the sleeping Hunter's face to wake him up, but they never make a strong or convincing enough couple to make you regard their romance as anything but a distraction from what a film called Lafayette Escadrille should really be about. The film rarely gets off the ground and does little that's interesting when it does, becoming surprisingly dreary in the mid-section with Hunter hiding out in her apartment and making a furtive living trawling bars and persuading servicemen to visit one of the local brothels. Naturally his conscience gets the better of him when the film finally realises there's a war on (something there's very little sense of for most of the running time) and he rejoins the squadron, earns his wings and the film finally gets round to having some aerial footage and a dogfight in the last reel. This footage is often quite good, but it's too little too late, feeling arbitrarily slapped on. Worse, there's no real connection to or affection for the character to get you involved, something that would have been just as big a problem had the original ending where Hunter died and his sweetheart committed suicide been retained. All in all it's a sad swansong for a great director and a poor memorial to the pioneer air aces he flew alongside.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
screen time lovinnoni
Discuss Lafayette Escadrille (1958) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: