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The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress (1944)

Not Rated | | Documentary, History, War | 13 April 1944 (USA)
A documentary on the 25th bombing mission of the Memphis Belle, a B-17 in the US 8th Air Force.


William Wyler
3 wins. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Stanley Wray Stanley Wray ... Self - Group Commander (as Colonel Stanley Wray)
Robert Morgan Robert Morgan ... Self - Pilot (as Captain Robert Morgan)
James A. Verinis ... Self - Co-Pilot (as Captain Jim Verinis)
Robert J. Hanson Robert J. Hanson ... Self - Radio Operator (as Sergeant Bob Hanson)
Charles B. Leighton Charles B. Leighton ... Self - Navigator (as Captain Chuck Leighton)
Harold P. Loch Harold P. Loch ... Self - Engineer and Top Turret Gunner (as Sergeant Harold Loch)
John P. Quinlan John P. Quinlan ... Self - Tail Gunner (as Sergeant John Quinlan)
Cecil H. Scott Cecil H. Scott ... Self - Turret Gunner (as Sergeant Cecil Scott)
Vince Evans Vince Evans ... Self - Bombardier (as Captain Vincent Evans)
Clarence E. Winchell Clarence E. Winchell ... Self - Waist Gunner (as Sergeant Bill Winchell)
Casimer A. Nastal Casimer A. Nastal ... Self - Waist Gunner (as Sergeant Tony Nastal)
Haywood Hansell Haywood Hansell ... Self - USAAF (as Brigadier General Hansell)
King George VI ... Self - Congratulates Crew of Memphis Belle
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother ... Self - Congratulates Crew of Memphis Belle
Ira C. Eaker Ira C. Eaker ... Self - Commander: 8th Air Force (as General Eaker)
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Documentary about the 25th and last bombing mission of a B17, the "Memphis Belle". The "Memphis Belle" took part in a great bombing raid on sub-pens in Wilhelmshafen, Germany. On their way they encounterd heavy AA fire and interceptors. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Fly and Fight with the Crew on an Actual Bombing Mission Over Germany!


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Some of the footage was lost and portions of the film are actually recreations shot over Santa Monica, California. See more »


The narrator claims that Britain was last conquered more than a thousand years ago. The latest conquest of Britain was in 1066, 878 years before the film was released. See more »

Crazy Credits

All aerial combat film was exposed during air battles over enemy territory See more »


Referenced in Sex, Censorship and the Silver Screen: Censored (1996) See more »

User Reviews

You'll never take war movies seriously again.
6 June 1999 | by midnite-7See all my reviews

Ever see paramedics resuscitate a dead man? If you have, it's impossible to take a medical drama seriously again. There is absolutely no drama in their actions. "The Memphis Belle" left me with same impression about soldiers. Although they worked in an inherently tense situation, a situation in which their lives could end on a whim, or an instant shift in kharma, it was their calmness that colored them the most. For two magnificent segments, director William Wyler plays taped intercom conversations over the already breathtaking photography. What we get are scenes that put those of ANY fictionalized war movie to shame. In the first, the camera is in the right place at the right time as he captures the waistgunner engaging a charging Messerschmidt. He lets his gun loose, and a stream of tracers goes sailing off into oblivion, wreathing the enemy plane. Then a few hit, then a few more and then the enemy fighter is engulfed in a cloud of black smoke. As he watches the plane drop with a sickening whistle, he hollers over the intercom in joy: "ha, ha, I got him, I got him." The Captain, annoyed, barks back: "don't yell on the damn intercom!" No joy, no bravado, just the grim realities of war. In the second, the camera captures a foundering B-17 turning on its side and slowly nosing down in a beautiful arc. Their response: {calmly} "a B-17 is goin' down at four o'clock" The crew chants in irritation "come on you guys, get out of there. What are you fellows asleep in there, get out!" Finally, two or three parachutes unfurl, closely resembling a Daffodil blooming. War turns out to be beautiful. Kurosawa's "Ran" and Coppola's "Apocalypse Now" argued this same point. But they were just movies. This film with its countless shots of the clear blue skies and the appealing flak patterns, proves it to anyone who dares to believe. In the film, there was not one patriotic utterance, or a single pean to heroic sacrifice, at least not from the men who flew the planes. These men were not heroes, nor were they warriors, or even soldiers in the sense that we portray those things. They were EMPLOYEES of the U.S. Army Air Corps. They did a job, and did it only because the "Boss" told them to. Even if they hated it (and you get the sense that they did), they did it. That impression never leaves me. The human species and its ability to accept any situation and get used to it. From now on, the passions of the soldiers in all the "blockbuster" war flicks will make me sick. Why dramatize that which is inherently full of tension. but we know most people that write war flicks have never been in jeopardy, so what do you expect. "The Memphis Belle" requires no histrionics or flowery dialogue to be the greatest war movie ever made.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

13 April 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Memphis Belle See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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