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Wings (1927)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance, War | 5 January 1929 (USA)
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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 (uncredited)

Writers:

John Monk Saunders (story), Hope Loring (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Clara Bow ... Mary Preston
Charles 'Buddy' Rogers ... Jack Powell (as Charles Rogers)
Richard Arlen ... David Armstrong
Jobyna Ralston ... Sylvia Lewis
El Brendel ... Herman Schwimpf
Richard Tucker ... Air Commander
Gary Cooper ... Cadet White
Gunboat Smith ... The Sergeant
Henry B. Walthall ... David's Father
Roscoe Karns ... Lt. Cameron
Julia Swayne Gordon ... David's Mother
Arlette Marchal ... Celeste
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Storyline

Two young men from the same town but different social classes end up as fighter pilots in WW1. Jack Preston is a keen auto mechanic, building and modifying cars. David Armstrong comes from a wealthy family. They are both in love with the same woman, Sylvia. Her heart belongs to David but she doesn't let Jack know and plays along with his infatuation. Meanwhile, Jack's neighbour, Mary, is deeply in love with him but he just views her as a friend. WW1 interrupts the romantic entanglements as Jack and David enlist in the US Army Air Service (Air Service of the AEF at the time). They are initially bitter enemies, due to them both vying for Sylvia's affections. Over time, however, they become very good friends. They are both posted to the same fighter squadron in France, where being a fighter pilot means every day could easily be your last. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Daring danger and destruction. Scouring the skies for enemy planes. Soaring to the clouds in a flimsy machine. And yet, like a charm, her love kept this "Shooting Star." Carried him through the terrific dangers. Brought him back to earth. Spirited, striving, spectacular. A story of the American war "Aces" in France. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War | Action

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for war violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 January 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alas See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$6,587,502
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System) (musical score and sound effects)| Silent | Dolby Digital (2012 restoration edition)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In contrast to co-star Richard Arlen, Charles 'Buddy' Rogers did not know how to fly a plane when production began, but learned how to by the end of it. During filming, Rogers' flight instructor and sometime backup pilot was Lt. Hoyt Vandenberg (aka "Van"), an Army Air Corps pilot at California's March Field (Vandenberg later became a four-star general, commanding the 9th Air Force in World War II, and served as the US Air Force's first official chief of staff after the war, when the Air Force was made a separate branch of the military). For close-up scenes where Jack and David (and other characters) are flying, the actors are actually working the planes themselves. To shoot these scenes, a camera was strapped to the engine cowling. The actors had to get the plane up in the air, keep it up, fly it so that clouds or German fighter planes could be seen in the background, operate the (motorized) camera and land the plane-and act at the same time. During Rogers' early flights, Vandenberg would hide in the back seat of the plane and operate the controls while Rogers gave his performance. See more »

Goofs

Mary paints the "shooting star" on the left side of Jack's car. Jack immediately drives off to pick up Sylvia. Jack and Sylvia drive past Mary. The "shooting star" is now on the right side of Jack's car. See more »

Quotes

Title Card: A decoration meant leave - and leave, with nerves strained to the breaking point by week on week of unceasing warfare in the skies, meant only one thing - - PARIS
See more »

Alternate Versions

Some showings have trimmed Clara Bow's brief topless scene. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Green Acres: Wings Over Hooterville (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

Incidental Symphonies #3
(credited on 2012 restored score only)
Written by Leo Kempinski (as Leo A. Kempinski)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

All set (hopefully for DVD)?
7 April 2004 | by DrezzillaSee all my reviews

This film is, no doubt, a timeless triumph of the silent cinema. I first saw it three years ago and have seen it at least 30 times since then. I've only looked back to see that I have it in my collection...but not on DVD! These studios need to start thinking back to the days in which movies as good as these were made and stop producing so much garbage that they think will make tons of money without considering whether it's done right or not. This film taught me just how important gesture and body language can be in the acting world, whether it be on film or on stage. I know just how "in-character" an actor is just by looking at their face, their eyes, and how they're written in the script. Don't get me wrong, people can overact and underact in certain parts, but if you do anything without considering your character's expression or mood, regardless of whether or not your voice is unbearable to hear, you will never see success past the sound of crickets hiding in the audience. The industry knew that sound was coming. Most didn't accept this truth, but they knew it alright! "Wings" reminds those who've seen it, as with most classics of the silent cinema, that ACTIONS SPEAK A MUCH GREATER VOLUME THAN THE SPOKEN WORD. I've said all I need to say, and now I'll let this picture speak for itself.


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