6.8/10
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39 user 26 critic

Flying Tigers (1942)

Approved | | Action, Drama, Romance | 8 October 1942 (USA)
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

Writers:

Kenneth Gamet (screen play), Barry Trivers (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Wayne ... Capt. Jim Gordon
John Carroll ... Woody Jason
Anna Lee ... Brooke Elliott
Paul Kelly ... Hap Davis
Gordon Jones ... Alabama Smith
Mae Clarke ... Verna Bales
Addison Richards ... Col. Lindsay
Edmund MacDonald ... Blackie Bales
Bill Shirley ... Dale
Tom Neal ... Reardon
Malcolm 'Bud' McTaggart Malcolm 'Bud' McTaggart ... McCurdy (as Malcolm 'Bud'McTaggart)
David Bruce ... Lt. Barton
Chester Gan ... Mike
Jimmie Dodd ... McIntosh (as James Dodd)
Gregg Barton ... Tex Norton
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Storyline

Jim Gordon commands a unit of the famed Flying Tigers, the American Volunteer Group which fought the Japanese in China before America's entry into World War II. Gordon must send his outnumbered band of fighter pilots out against overwhelming odds while juggling the disparate personalities and problems of his fellow flyers. In particular, he must handle the difficulties created by a reckless hot-shot pilot named Woody Jason, who not only wants to fight a one-man war but to waltz off with Gordon's girlfriend. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

STRONG Brave Men Flying In The Face Of Death That We May LIVE See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 October 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Yanks Over the Burma Road See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$3,270,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Republic Pictures (I) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie broke all box office records for Republic Pictures by a large margin and was one of the top grossing movies of the year. See more »

Goofs

In the initial air battle, the AVG shoots down a dual-engine bomber. The following actual footage shows a single-engine fighter craft hitting the ground. See more »

Quotes

Woody Jason: [after hitting bridge and supply train] Give the gentleman a cee-gar!
Jim Gordon: If they wanna cross that river, they'll have to swim it!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: The characters and events depicted in this motion picture are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Five Came Back: Combat Zones (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Battle Hymn of the Republic
(uncredited)
Music by William Steffe (1856)
Played as background at the end
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
What you people don't know would fill a book!
14 April 2005 | by markystavSee all my reviews

Many of the posts here are so filled with diatribes and inaccuracies that I had to laugh! One poster complained that the Flying Tigers actually were only flight trainers for the Chinese Air Force, and only lost three pilots in combat. At least two complained that John Wayne was a draft dodger. One stated that the Tigers were in combat two years before Pearl Harbor. One stated that the Japanese were unfairly treated as bad guys in the film. One declared that the Flying Tigers were up against a superior plane in the Japanese Zero....

First off, the Flying Tigers started training in September of '41 and were disbanded in July of '42. In that roughly ten month period they shot down 286 CONFIRMED kills for the loss of 12 Flying Tigers. They were not "Chinese Air Force flight instructors!" Their kill-to-loss ratio remains one of the finest in aviation combat history. Secondly, the Tigers never encountered the Zero in Combat. Their foes were primarily J.A.A.F. pilots, and the Zero was a Navy plane. Third, the Japanese indeed DID SHOOT AT PILOTS in parachutes and in life rafts, whenever possible, because they were taught that the enemy must be killed at all costs, lest he survive to fight you another day. Fourth, the Japanese committed the most UNSPEAKABLE horrors against the Chinese people during WW II, as the book, "The Rape of Nanking" can testify to. Fifth, John Wayne was NOT a draft dodger. He had a bum ear due to an infection which rendered him physically 4-F. Sixth, the outdoor sequences of "The Flying Tigers" were not filmed in Northridge, California, but rather in the high desert area around Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the (successful) attempt to give the foliage a more "foreign" look.

As to the film itself, I would suggest you go to the Fighter Museum in Phoenix, AZ, or the Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH, and find out just how close the film was to reality. The Tigers WERE usually outnumbered about 8 to 1 in combat. The 3 squadrons of the Tigers DID USE outdoor facilities as shown in the film. The Tigers were indeed mercenaries, paid by the kill, as well as by the month. The Tigers WERE frequently short of spares and fuel. The Tigers DID have nicknames, like "Tex" (David Lee Hill) and "Pappy" (Gregory Boyington). The Tigers DID have a few beautiful nurses on station. (In fact one of them, Jane Foster, ended up marrying a Tiger, who was subsequently shot down and killed a week before they were to leave for the States.) Truthfully, the only real overt fiction in the film is the pre-Pearl Harbor combat, as in fact, the Tigers did not start combat operation until after Pearl Harbor, (being in training prior to that.) Why is the film so accurate? Because two guys who weren't able to cut it as Tigers decided to take the story of the Tigers to Hollywood to sell it. They were the "technical advisers" for Republic, which was able to glean much about the unit from them.

Leave your politics at home and take a second look. This is actually an excellent depiction of the organization and the men, backed up with a superior special effects unit and a great score. (Both nominated for Oscars.)


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