In WW1 the high casualty rate among the rookie pilots of the Royal Flying Corps puts an enormous strain on the survivors.

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Sinclair
...
Crawford
...
Croft
David Wood ...
Thompson
...
Headmaster
...
Silkin
...
Lyle
...
Brigadier Whale
Christopher Blake ...
Roberts
Gilles Béhat ...
Beckenauer (as Gilles Behat)
Elliott Cooper ...
Wade
David Daker ...
Bennett
...
Joyce
Jacques Maury ...
Ponnelle
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Storyline

A naive young officer straight from school arrives on the Western front to fight the air war against the Germans. However, the life expectancy of green pilots is not very good. Written by Orde Saunders <ODS101@York.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

High above the trenches 14 days is a long life...This is the 15th day!

Genres:

War | Drama | Action

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

December 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aces High  »

Box Office

Budget:

£1,250,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene with the balloon observer jumping out with a parachute is reused footage from The Blue Max (1966) See more »

Goofs

Sinclair informs Croft that Gresham uses a Nieuport "that he swears by", but every time we see Gresham aloft he is flying an SE5 like the rest of the squadron. See more »

Quotes

Mess Corporal Bennett: [as the pilots set off early in the morning on a dangerous mission] How many for breakfast? Any of them?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: England October 1916 See more »

Connections

Edited into Blackadder Goes Forth: Private Plane (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Roses of Picardy
(uncredited)
Written by Haydn Wood and Frederick Edward Weatherly
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Heavy Handed Anti-War Film
26 April 2004 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

First of all I feel I`ve got to point out the two flaws of ACES HIGH

1 ) The film starts with the commonly held erroneous view that young men of whatever nation joined the army because they`d been brainwashed by glorious tales of derring do and had no idea of the horror awaiting them in the trenches . Not so in Britain at least since The Times newspaper published the names of every British serviceman killed at this time . One edition in July 1916 published over 20,000 names of the men killed during the Somme offensive , so to insinuate that the boys at the school had somehow only had Gresham`s account of the war to fall back on is somewhat naive . This might have happened in 1915 but not so when this film was set towards the end of 1916

2 ) ACES HIGH is based on the play JOURNEYS END except it revolves around a plane squadron which means when the chaps are at the airfield everything feels a bit too stagey while when they`re up in the air there`s a distinct lack of drama since the cast are indistinguishble with their goggle clad faces and their lack of dialogue

Having pointed out the flaws I can`t not mention the main strength and that`s the cast . Malcolm McDowell an actor I can`t usually stand at the best of times gives a superb performance as the bitter , cynical alcholic John Gresham . It`d be very easy for McDowell to give a very over the top performance ( Some might say that`s all he ever does ) but he`s both very convincing and disciplined here . Christopher Plummer is completely convincing as a paternal English officer ( Plummer was always good at this kind of role ) and Peter Firth - Despite being hampered with a character unsubtley written - is also good

Considering the limited budget the technical aspects are impressive enough with the sometimes slightly obvious backscreen projection hardly bringing the film down . It`s an anti-war film so its heart is in the right place but like many an anti-war film it`s somewhat heavy handed ( As I imagine the source play was ) and the ariel scenes with their lack of dialogue means a somewhat over dramatic film in places and an undramatic film in other places

Six out of ten


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