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Aces High (1976)

PG | | Action, Drama, War | December 1977 (USA)
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In World War I, the high casualty rate amongst the rookie pilots of the Royal Flying Corps puts an enormous strain on the survivors.

Director:

Jack Gold

Writers:

Howard Barker (screenplay), R.C. Sherriff (play) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Malcolm McDowell ... Gresham
Christopher Plummer ... Sinclair
Simon Ward ... Crawford
Peter Firth ... Croft
David Wood ... Thompson
John Gielgud ... Headmaster
Trevor Howard ... Silkin
Richard Johnson ... Colonel Lyle
Ray Milland ... Brigadier Whale
Christopher Blake Christopher Blake ... Roberts
Gilles Béhat Gilles Béhat ... Beckenauer (as Gilles Behat)
Elliott Cooper Elliott Cooper ... Wade
David Daker ... Bennett
Barry Jackson ... Joyce
Jacques Maury Jacques Maury ... Ponnelle
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Storyline

A naive young officer straight from school arrives on the Western front to fight the air war against the Germans. However, the life expectancy of green pilots is not very good. Written by Orde Saunders <ODS101@York.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

High above the trenches 14 days is a long life...This is the 15th day!

Genres:

Action | Drama | War

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | France

Language:

English | French | German

Release Date:

December 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Aces High See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP1,250,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The melody to the song "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" is heard. It was published in 1917, the year this film is set. See more »

Goofs

What are supposed to be SE-5 aircraft are modified 1930's era Tiger Moths. The SE-5 did not have swept wings or round wingtips. See more »

Quotes

Mess Corporal Bennett: [as the pilots set off early in the morning on a dangerous mission] How many for breakfast? Any of them?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: England October 1916 See more »

Alternate Versions

Some DVD releases feature a shorter print which reduces the French restaurant scene and misses out shots of the officers looking at a slideshow of nude photographs. These appear to have been made by the distributor, as the film has never been cut by the BBFC. See more »

Connections

Version of Journey's End (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Goodbye-ee
(uncredited)
Written by Bert Lee and R.P. Weston
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Heavy Handed Anti-War Film
26 April 2004 | by Theo RobertsonSee all my reviews

First of all I feel I`ve got to point out the two flaws of ACES HIGH

1 ) The film starts with the commonly held erroneous view that young men of whatever nation joined the army because they`d been brainwashed by glorious tales of derring do and had no idea of the horror awaiting them in the trenches . Not so in Britain at least since The Times newspaper published the names of every British serviceman killed at this time . One edition in July 1916 published over 20,000 names of the men killed during the Somme offensive , so to insinuate that the boys at the school had somehow only had Gresham`s account of the war to fall back on is somewhat naive . This might have happened in 1915 but not so when this film was set towards the end of 1916

2 ) ACES HIGH is based on the play JOURNEYS END except it revolves around a plane squadron which means when the chaps are at the airfield everything feels a bit too stagey while when they`re up in the air there`s a distinct lack of drama since the cast are indistinguishble with their goggle clad faces and their lack of dialogue

Having pointed out the flaws I can`t not mention the main strength and that`s the cast . Malcolm McDowell an actor I can`t usually stand at the best of times gives a superb performance as the bitter , cynical alcholic John Gresham . It`d be very easy for McDowell to give a very over the top performance ( Some might say that`s all he ever does ) but he`s both very convincing and disciplined here . Christopher Plummer is completely convincing as a paternal English officer ( Plummer was always good at this kind of role ) and Peter Firth - Despite being hampered with a character unsubtley written - is also good

Considering the limited budget the technical aspects are impressive enough with the sometimes slightly obvious backscreen projection hardly bringing the film down . It`s an anti-war film so its heart is in the right place but like many an anti-war film it`s somewhat heavy handed ( As I imagine the source play was ) and the ariel scenes with their lack of dialogue means a somewhat over dramatic film in places and an undramatic film in other places

Six out of ten


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