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History Undercover: The True Story of the Black Sheep Squadron (2001)

TV Movie  |   |  Documentary  |  29 November 2001 (USA)
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The story of Greg "Pappy" Boyington and his famous World War II Marine Corps fighter squadron - VMF 214 - the Black Sheep.

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Cast

Cast overview:
Arthur Kent ...
Narrator / Host
Barrett Tillman ...
Naval Aviation Historian
John Bolt ...
USMC, Black Sheep (as Lt. Col. John Bolt)
Bruce J. Matheson ...
USMC, Black Sheep (as Col. Bruce J. Matheson)
David 'Tex' Hill ...
Flt. Leader, 2nd Pursuit Squadron, Flying Tigers (as Gen. David 'Tex' Hill)
Bruce Gamble ...
Author, Black Sheep One
Joe Foss ...
Air National Guard (as Gen. Joe Foss)
J.R. Dick Rossi ...
Flt. Leader, 1st Pursuit Squadron, Flying Tigers
Henry Bourgeois ...
USMC, Black Sheep (as Lt. Col. Henry Bourgeois)
Henry Sakaida ...
Author, The Siege of Rabaul
Ned Corman ...
USMC, Black Sheep
Allan McCartney ...
USMC, Black Sheep (as Col. Allan McCartney)
...
Creator / Exec. Prod., Baa Baa Black Sheep
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The story of Greg "Pappy" Boyington and his famous World War II Marine Corps fighter squadron - VMF 214 - the Black Sheep.

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Documentary

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29 November 2001 (USA)  »

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$180,000 (estimated)
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User Reviews

 
The Errol Flynn Factor.
5 February 2015 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

What a remarkable man was Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, one of the most celebrated fighter pilots of World War II.

As a young man he enlisted in the Marine Corps in the 1930s but was ornery and drank too much. Both he and the Marines were happy to part company when Boyington joined the Flying Tigers in China as a paid mercenary. Flying the obsolescent P-40s, he managed to down two Japanese zeros and destroyed four more on the ground. He continued adding those four to his total score, although aircraft destroyed on the ground were never counted as victories in the US military.

With the outbreak of World War II, the Flying Tigers were dissolved and Boyington talked his way back into the Marine Corps. He was sent to the Pacific and was squadron leader of 214, called the Black Sheep squadron, and flying the modern F4U Corsairs.

It's a candid biography and there are multiple talking heads -- biographers, friends, other pilots. Boyington's behavior was reckless. He off-handedly challenged anyone to fight him. He deliberately irritated his superiors. He drank when he didn't fly and sometimes when he did. One team mate remembers Boyington staggering out to his airplane. How do you fly in combat when you are hung over -- or still drunk from the night before? Boyington racked up enough kills to tie his nearest competitor, winning the Congressional Medal of Honor. (They all seemed to treat the contest like a high school football game.) Then he was finally shot down and imprisoned in 1944.

Released at the end of the war, he returned to his old ways and the Marine Corps promoted him to Lieutenant Colonel before easing him into an early retirement. The guy was an embarrassment to everyone.

He drifted from job to job before dying of cancer, still adored by his team in the Black Sheep Squadron.

There is a 1976 TV series based on the squadron's exploits. It's inaccurate and unbecoming. Boyington was hired as a consultant but contributed little to the program.


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