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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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(screenplay), (play) | 1 more credit »
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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 red German biplane is a Finnish "Valmet Viima". It first flew in 1935. See more »

Goofs

What are supposed to be SE-5 aircraft are modified 1930's era Tiger Moths. The SE-5 did not have swept wings or round wingtips. 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

Till The Boys Come Home
(uncredited)
Written by Ivor Novello and Lena Guilbert Ford
See more »

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User Reviews

Nothing Groundbreaking (Apart from the crash-landings)
21 January 2010 | by (www.2020-movie-reviews.com) – See all my reviews

A quiet sense of detachment hangs over the little airfield in the heart of the French countryside where this drama is played out. In the opening scenes, as the ridiculously young Lieutenant played by Peter Firth arrives, there is much talk of tea and biscuits, and everything seems very civilised. But under the serene surface there are a mass of tics and twitches, the causes of which are subdued by forced gaiety and too much alcohol.

Firth hero-worships McDowell's youthful commander – who just happens to be his sister's sweetheart – but McDowell is a tarnished hero. His psychological flaws are emphasised in the opening scenes in which we seem him toying with a German pilot whose plane has crash-landed before scything him down in a hail of bullets from his plane. McDowell needs a drink just to climb into the cockpit (while another ace, played by Simon Ward, feigns neuralgia to escape the terrors of aerial combat) and is haunted by a loneliness borne of the repetitive chore of writing letters of condolence to the families of the teenage fighter pilots who are shot down under his command.

There's nothing particularly groundbreaking in Jack Gold's WWI saga, but it is all professionally staged and acted with some crisply edited aerial sequences. All the situations are familiar, and the film must have seemed a little dated when it was released (around the same time as Star Wars), but there's a reassuring Britishness about it all. Despite the reasonably graphic depiction of the terrible psychological consequences of regularly flying towards one possible death, the film is still something of a throwback to the likes of Hollywood's The Dawn Patrol. Only here, the line between the good guys and the bad guys is blurred, and opposing pilots aren't so blinded by national duty that they can't appreciate and acknowledge the professionalism and spirit of their rivals when the opportunity arises. The ending is inevitable – the cycle continues – and elements of the story belie the age of its source material, but Aces High still delivers a quality film experience.


7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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