War is Hell in the Heavens

by peterdi315 | created - 11 Aug 2012 | updated - 28 Dec 2012 | Public

Some of the best movies about aerial warfare. All-Time. Alphabetically.

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1. Air Force (1943)

Approved | 124 min | Action, Drama, History

The crew of an Air Force bomber arrives in Pearl Harbor in the aftermath of the Japanese attack and is sent on to Manila to help with the defense of the Philippines.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: John Garfield, John Ridgely, Gig Young, Arthur Kennedy

Votes: 2,508

2. Bat*21 (1988)

R | 105 min | Drama, War

During the Vietnam War, Colonel Hambleton's aircraft is shot down over enemy territory and a frantic rescue operation ensues.

Director: Peter Markle | Stars: Gene Hackman, Danny Glover, Jerry Reed, David Marshall Grant

Votes: 6,816 | Gross: $3.97M

3. The Battle of Britain (1943)

Not Rated | 54 min | Documentary, History, War

The official World War II US government account of Great Britain's stand against the Nazi war machine after the Dunkirk evacuation.

Directors: Frank Capra, Anthony Veiller | Stars: Douglas Bader, Arno Breker, Winston Churchill, Hermann Göring

Votes: 720

4. Battle of Britain (1969)

G | 132 min | Action, Drama, History

In 1940, the British Royal Air Force fights a desperate battle to prevent the Luftwaffe from gaining air superiority over the English Channel as a prelude to a possible Axis invasion of the UK.

Director: Guy Hamilton | Stars: Michael Caine, Trevor Howard, Harry Andrews, Curd Jürgens

Votes: 17,920

5. The Blue Max (1966)

Approved | 156 min | Action, Drama, Romance

A young pilot in the German air force of 1918, disliked as lower-class and unchivalrous, tries ambitiously to earn the medal offered for 20 kills.

Director: John Guillermin | Stars: George Peppard, James Mason, Ursula Andress, Jeremy Kemp

Votes: 5,563

6. The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954)

Approved | 102 min | Drama, Romance, War

Set during the Korean War, a Navy fighter pilot must come to terms with with his own ambivalence towards the war and the fear of having to bomb a set of highly defended bridges. The ending of this grim war drama is all tension.

Director: Mark Robson | Stars: William Holden, Grace Kelly, Fredric March, Mickey Rooney

Votes: 4,583

7. Captains of the Clouds (1942)

Approved | 114 min | Action, Drama, War

Inspired by Churchill's Dunkirk speech, brash, undisciplined bush pilot Brian MacLean and three friends enlist in the RCAF but are deemed too old to be fliers.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: James Cagney, Dennis Morgan, Brenda Marshall, Alan Hale

Votes: 1,188

8. Catch-22 (1970)

R | 122 min | Comedy, Drama, War

A man is trying desperately to be certified insane during World War II, so he can stop flying missions.

Director: Mike Nichols | Stars: Alan Arkin, Martin Balsam, Richard Benjamin, Art Garfunkel

Votes: 18,753 | Gross: $24.91M

9. The Dam Busters (1955)

Approved | 105 min | Drama, History, War

The story of how the British attacked German dams in WWII by using an ingenious technique to drop bombs where they would be most effective.

Director: Michael Anderson | Stars: Richard Todd, Michael Redgrave, Ursula Jeans, Basil Sydney

Votes: 8,239

10. Dark Blue World (2001)

R | 112 min | War, Drama, Action

56 Metascore

The friendship of two men becomes tested when they both fall for the same woman.

Director: Jan Sverák | Stars: Ondrej Vetchý, Krystof Hádek, Tara Fitzgerald, Charles Dance

Votes: 5,034 | Gross: $0.26M

11. Fighter Squadron (1948)

96 min | Action, War

During World War II, an insubordinate fighter pilot finds the shoe on the other foot when he's promoted.

Director: Raoul Walsh | Stars: Edmond O'Brien, Robert Stack, John Rodney, Tom D'Andrea

Votes: 515

12. The Final Countdown (1980)

PG | 103 min | Action, Sci-Fi

A modern aircraft carrier is thrown back in time to 1941 near Hawaii, just hours before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Director: Don Taylor | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, Katharine Ross, James Farentino

Votes: 17,918 | Gross: $16.65M

13. First Light (2010 TV Movie)

75 min | Biography, Drama, War

In May 1940 eighteen-year old Geoffrey Wellum joins the 92 squadron of the Royal Air Force and is taken to the pub,where pilots who have seen action sign their names on a blackboard. Next ... See full summary »

Director: Matthew Whiteman | Stars: Sam Heughan, Gary Lewis, Ben Aldridge, Alex Robertson

Votes: 369

14. Flight of the Intruder (1991)

PG-13 | 115 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

During the air war over Vietnam, a U.S. Navy A-6 Intruder bomber pilot schemes with a hardened veteran to make an unauthorized air strike on Hanoi.

Director: John Milius | Stars: Danny Glover, Willem Dafoe, Brad Johnson, Rosanna Arquette

Votes: 5,350 | Gross: $14.59M

15. Flyboys (2006)

PG-13 | 140 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

47 Metascore

The adventures of the Lafayette Escadrille, young Americans who volunteered for the French military before the U.S. entered World War I, and became the country's first fighter pilots.

Director: Tony Bill | Stars: James Franco, Jean Reno, Jennifer Decker, Scott Hazell

Votes: 38,038 | Gross: $13.08M

16. Flying Leathernecks (1951)

Approved | 102 min | Action, Drama, War

Major Kirby leads The Wildcats squadron into the historic WWII battle of Guadalcanal.

Director: Nicholas Ray | Stars: John Wayne, Robert Ryan, Don Taylor, Janis Carter

Votes: 3,823

17. Flying Tigers (1942)

Approved | 102 min | Action, Drama, Romance

Capt. Jim Gordon's command of the famed American mercenary fighter group in China is complicated by the recruitment of an old friend who is a reckless hotshot.

Director: David Miller | Stars: John Wayne, John Carroll, Anna Lee, Paul Kelly

Votes: 2,982

18. Malta Story (1953)

97 min | Drama, History, War

In WW2, the island of Malta, strategically located and vital to supply lines in the Mediterranean Sea, is fiercely attacked by the Germans but staunchly defended by the British.

Director: Brian Desmond Hurst | Stars: Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Anthony Steel, Muriel Pavlow

Votes: 1,167

19. Memphis Belle (1990)

PG-13 | 107 min | Action, Drama, War

In 1943, the crew of a B-17 based in UK prepares for its 25th and last bombing mission over Germany before returning home to the USA.

Director: Michael Caton-Jones | Stars: Matthew Modine, Eric Stoltz, Tate Donovan, D.B. Sweeney

Votes: 24,376 | Gross: $27.44M

20. Men of the Fighting Lady (1954)

Approved | 79 min | Drama, War

A famous writer visits an aircraft carrier during the Korean war to learn more about it and the way it's run. He also gets to find out more about the Navy and Marine aviators themselves, their internal and external conflicts and dangers of their job.

Director: Andrew Marton | Stars: Van Johnson, Walter Pidgeon, Louis Calhern, Dewey Martin

Votes: 449 | Gross: $1.50M

21. Midway (1976)

PG | 132 min | Action, Drama, History

A dramatization of the battle that was widely heralded as a turning point of the Pacific Theatre of World War II.

Director: Jack Smight | Stars: Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, James Coburn, Glenn Ford

Votes: 14,951

22. Mosquito Squadron (1969)

G | 90 min | War, Drama

In WW2, a RAF squadron leader mourns the death of a comrade and receives a bombing mission against a secret Nazi V-2 rocket testing facility in France.

Director: Boris Sagal | Stars: David McCallum, Suzanne Neve, Charles Gray, David Buck

Votes: 1,051

23. Red Tails (2012)

PG-13 | 125 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

46 Metascore

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.

Director: Anthony Hemingway | Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Gerald McRaney, David Oyelowo, Andre Royo

Votes: 30,707 | Gross: $49.88M

24. Ships with Wings (1941)

Approved | 103 min | Drama, War

Lt. Dick Stacey is dismissed from the Fleet Air Arm for poor discipline. He joins the Aircraft Carrier "HMS Ark Royal" (The Ship with Wings). When they go into battle in the Mediterranean ... See full summary »

Director: Sergei Nolbandov | Stars: John Clements, Leslie Banks, Jane Baxter, Ann Todd

Votes: 92

25. 633 Squadron (1964)

Approved | 102 min | War, Drama

An RAF squadron is assigned to knock out a German rocket fuel factory in Norway. The factory supplies fuel for the Nazi effort to launch rockets on England during D-Day.

Director: Walter Grauman | Stars: Cliff Robertson, George Chakiris, Maria Perschy, Harry Andrews

Votes: 2,880

26. Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944)

Passed | 138 min | Drama, History, War

In the wake of Pearl Harbor, a young lieutenant leaves his expectant wife to volunteer for a secret bombing mission which will take the war to the Japanese homeland.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Van Johnson, Robert Walker, Tim Murdock

Votes: 4,624

27. Top Gun (1986)

PG | 110 min | Action, Drama, Romance

50 Metascore

As students at the United States Navy's elite fighter weapons school compete to be best in the class, one daring young pilot learns a few things from a civilian instructor that are not taught in the classroom.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Tom Cruise, Tim Robbins, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer

Votes: 244,500 | Gross: $179.80M

28. Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)

G | 144 min | Action, Drama, History

In 1941, following months of economic embargo, Japan prepares to open its war against the United States with a preventive strike on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor.

Directors: Richard Fleischer, Kinji Fukasaku, Toshio Masuda | Stars: Martin Balsam, Sô Yamamura, Jason Robards, Joseph Cotten

Votes: 27,594 | Gross: $29.55M

29. The Tuskegee Airmen (1995 TV Movie)

PG-13 | 106 min | Drama, History, War

The true story of how a group of African American pilots overcame racist opposition to become one of the finest US fighter groups in World War II

Director: Robert Markowitz | Stars: Laurence Fishburne, Allen Payne, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Courtney B. Vance

Votes: 4,703

30. Twelve O'Clock High (1949)

Not Rated | 132 min | Drama, War

A hard-as-nails general takes over a bomber unit suffering from low morale and whips them into fighting shape.

Director: Henry King | Stars: Gregory Peck, Hugh Marlowe, Gary Merrill, Millard Mitchell

Votes: 10,973

31. Wing and a Prayer (1944)

Approved | 97 min | Action, Drama, War

In WW2, an American aircraft carrier sails around the Pacific on a decoy mission until it joins the battle of Midway against the Japanese forces.

Director: Henry Hathaway | Stars: Don Ameche, Dana Andrews, William Eythe, Charles Bickford

Votes: 1,134

32. Wings (1927)

PG-13 | 144 min | Drama, Romance, War

Two young men, one rich, one middle class, who are in love with the same woman, become fighter pilots in World War I.

Directors: William A. Wellman, Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast | Stars: Clara Bow, Charles 'Buddy' Rogers, Richard Arlen, Jobyna Ralston

Votes: 9,311

33. A Yank in the R.A.F. (1941)

Not Rated | 98 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

An American pilot impulsively joins Her Majesty's Royal Air Force in Britain in an attempt to impress his ex-girlfriend.

Director: Henry King | Stars: Tyrone Power, Betty Grable, John Sutton, Reginald Gardiner

Votes: 1,000