Set in northern Australia before World War II, an English aristocrat who inherits a sprawling ranch reluctantly pacts with a stock-man in order to protect her new property from a takeover plot. As the pair drive 2,000 head of cattle over unforgiving landscape, they experience the bombing of Darwin, Australia, by Japanese forces firsthand.
A crew of African American pilots in the Tuskegee training program, having faced segregation while kept mostly on the ground during World War II, are called into duty under the guidance of Col. A.J. Bullard.
Cuba Gooding Jr.,
In the highlands of Scotland in the 1700s, Rob Roy tries to lead his small town to a better future, by borrowing money from the local nobility to buy cattle to herd to market. When the ... See full summary »
Before the United States entered World War I, young Americans went to France to be fighter pilots, joining the Lafayette Escadrille. This fictional version follows a laconic Texas rancher, an eager Nebraska kid, a Black boxer already in France, and a New York swell, as they arrive green for training, get their baptism by fire when German planes ambush them on their first mission, and graduate to heroics. Rawlings, the Texan, falls in love with a young woman he meets at a bordello. Keeping their eyes on them are Captain Thenault and Cassidy, the resident ace, who keeps a pet lion. Can the boys measure up? Written by
Cassidy was mainly inspired by Raoul Lufbery, the leading flying ace of the Escadrille Squadron. See more »
Lucienne's chinstrap during her first plane ride. See more »
By the start of 1916, World War I had wreaked havoc across Europe. Over nine million people would eventually die.
Although the airplane had only recently been invented, it was quickly adapted into a war machine.
The young men who flew them became the first fighter pilots and a new kind of hero was born.
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The aerial combat was exciting, tense, and realistic
(Synopsis) World War I began in Europe in 1914, but by 1917, the United States had still not entered the war. However, many brave young American men went to France to fly and fight for the Allied powers. They joined the Lafayette Escadrille fighter squadron. The Germans had better planes, weapons, and pilots. The average life expectancy for a fighter-pilot was three to six weeks. Why did these Americans volunteer to fight in France with certain death when their own country was not at war? This was a time when men were idealistic, but naive to embark on a great adventure. Blaine Rawlings (James Franco) was forced to leave his home in Arizona after the family ranch was foreclosed by the bank. Blaine sees a newsreel of fighter-pilots in France and decides that he has nothing to lose. Briggs Lowry (Tyler Labine) can't do anything right and is shamed into joining by his rich father. African-American boxer Eugene Skinner (Abdul Salis) had been living in France, a racially tolerant country, for many years, wanted to give something back to his new country. These Americans were under the command of French Captain Georges Thenault (Jean Reno) and American Squadron Leader Reed Cassidy (Martin Henderson). They were the world's first combat pilots.
(My Comment) The film was inspired by a true story. What that means is that the writers could write anything they wanted to about the pilots' personal lives. There were actually 38 American volunteers with an average age of 26 that joined the Lafayette Escadrille. Thirty were college educated and eleven were sons of millionaires. These men had a sense of adventure and romance of war, and they believed in "dying with honor." The movie uses a composite of these qualities of the actual pilots, and yes, there really was a black pilot in the squadron. The movie does not shy away from the real aspects of war or the sordid aspects of life on the ground. After every mission there are some pilots who do not return, and we get to see their replacements, and how the pilots deal with the loss of their friends. The aerial combat was exciting, tense, and realistic with the attack on the zeppelin being the best scene of the movie. There is a love story that slows the pace of the movie, and it was a little too long. You will love the scenes with Whiskey, their mascot lion. I think the writers could have used the real pilots' stories and names, and it would have been a better movie by giving credit to those young men. If you like war pictures this is a movie to see. (MGM Pictures, Run time 2:19, Rated PG-13)(8/10)
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