7.5/10
2,665
44 user 24 critic

The Dawn Patrol (1938)

Not Rated | | Drama, War | 24 December 1938 (USA)
British flying aces in World War I contend with the harsh realities of war.

Director:

Edmund Goulding

Writers:

Seton I. Miller (screen play), Dan Totheroh (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Photos

Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Errol Flynn ... Courtney
Basil Rathbone ... Major Brand
David Niven ... Scott
Donald Crisp ... Phipps
Melville Cooper ... Sgt. Watkins
Barry Fitzgerald ... Bott
Carl Esmond ... Hauptmann Von Mueller
Peter Willes ... Hollister
Morton Lowry ... Donnie Scott
Michael Brooke Michael Brooke ... Capt. Squires
James Burke ... Flaherty
Stuart Hall ... Bentham
Herbert Evans ... Mechanic
Sidney Bracey ... Major Brand's Orderly (as Sidney Bracy)
Leo Nomis Leo Nomis ... Aeronautic Supervisor
Edit

Storyline

In 1915 France, Major Brand commands the 39th Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps. The young airmen go up in bullet-riddled "crates" and the casualty rate is appalling, but Brand can't make the "brass hats" at headquarters see reason. Insubordinate air ace Captain Courtney is another thorn in Brand's side...but finds the smile wiped from his face when he rises to command the squadron himself. Everyone keeps a stiff upper lip. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Roaring into each blood-red dawn . . . fighting for women they had never seen . . . for love they might never know ! ! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Most of the aerial footage comes from Warner Bros.' previous 1930 version (The Dawn Patrol (1930)). See more »

Goofs

When Captain Courtney is rescued, he jumps on the wing and hangs onto the strut. When the actual aircraft takes off, the dummy used is much further forward on the wing than Captain Courtney was. See more »

Quotes

Capt. Courtney: [Asking Phipps to translate to the German POW] Ask him if he'll drink a toast to the dead.
See more »

Connections

Features The Dawn Patrol (1930) See more »

Soundtracks

Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile!
(1915) (uncredited)
Music by Felix Powell
Lyrics by George Asaf
Sung by the airmen in the club
Reprised by arriving replacement airmen
See more »

User Reviews

 
One of the very best of all war films
29 January 2002 | by d1494See all my reviews

The Dawn Patrol, one of Director Eddie Goulding's very finest, is as tense and tightly wound as the characters it portrays, who face the awful question, 'what is maximum effort', how much can a man give in combat before breaking? The story revolves around the vividly drawn characters of Lt. Scott,'Scotty', played by David Niven in one of his most genuine performances, and that of his chum, Captain Courtney, well played by Errol Flynn. Together the two friends face death each day in machines held together by 'spit and baling wire' and each night drink themselves into oblivion. Their antics contrast with the concern that is eating at their commanding officer, Major Brand, wonderfully portrayed by Basil Rathbone. Brand is visibly cracking under the strain, while the oblivious Courtney and Scott play at war, seemingly unconcerned by death or anything else. Paired with Brand is the unflappable Phipps, presented by stalwart character actor Donald Crisp. It is Crisp, who is finally made to express the film's underlying anti-war theme, questioning the point of sending all the fine young men to their deaths, "...and for what?", he asks though no answer is forthcoming. The tension is expertly broken by comic interludes of genuine hilarity as well as great scenes of World War air combat. One sees a reflection of Renoir's 'Rules of the Game', when a German pilot, who is thought to have killed Scotty, is brought in to meet Courtney, who shot him down and they show each other the mutual respect and chivalry that still crossed the no-mans land between the two sides. Like '12 0'Clock High'

its World War II counterpart, this film puts the viewer under the skins of these men as they face death. No phony posturing or heroics, no masks, just humanity faced with something which, ultimately is inhuman. This intelligent and questioning film is at the very top of my list of great war films, and is an absolute must see for new generations of movie goers.


33 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 44 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

24 December 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Dawn Patrol See more »

Filming Locations:

Calabasas, California, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page



Recently Viewed