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World War I: an allied squadron and a German squadron face off daily in the skies. Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron, leads one, and, although one of his decisions cost the life of his predecessor, he expects his men to honor codes of conduct. The allied squad has similar class divisions: its colonel, an aristocrat, laments that men he considers peasants are now fliers, including a cynical and ruthless Canadian, Roy Brown, the squad's ace. As the tactics of both sides break more rules and become more destructive, the Baron must decide if he is a soldier first or part of the ruling class. He and Brown have two aerial battles, trivial in the larger scheme yet tragic.Written by
In the film, on the day of his death, Von Richthofen was seen flying a Fokker Dr.I with Maltese Crosses (with curved edges) painted on it. In fact, at that time the Maltese Cross had been replaced by the Balkan Cross (with straight edges) as the national emblem on German planes. See more »
[Walking away from another pilot after an argument on the firing range, when the other officer turns his machine gun to Brown but does not use it]
What's the matter? You can't shoot a man in the back if he's not in a plane?
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The name of the German ace that brought Richthofen into his squadron at the beginning of the film was spelled wrongly as "Boelke" in the credits. His name was Oswald BOELCKE. See more »
Given the very negative comments by others on IMDB about this film, I wasn't really expecting much, especially given that it was directed by Roger Corman, who, whilst he certainly has his talents, would not really be expected to helm a period piece with high production values. Actually I found this film not at all bad. Certainly its narrative plays fast and loose with historical details. But it is quite authentic in many respects - the planes themselves, and the nature of air combat depicted, are reasonably accurate (better, for example, than the planes in The Blue Max, which often look like very thinly disguised Tiger Moths). And fair chunks of the dialogue seem to be taken almost directly from the writings of actual WW1 flyers. Even the rather melodramatic plot does have roots in historical truths, and functions well enough to engage the viewer's attention throughout. I'd say it's definitely worth a look, and compares surprisingly well with the generally much better regarded The Blue Max.
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