It's May 1943 at a US Army Air Corps base in England. The four officers and six enlisted men of the Memphis Belle - a B-17 bomber so nicknamed for the girlfriend of its stern and stoic captain, Dennis Dearborn - will soon start their twenty-fifth mission, having completed their previous twenty-four successfully with nary an incident, while fewer and fewer other planes are coming back from their missions at all. If they complete their next mission successfully, they will be the first Army Air Corps B-17 Crew to complete their tour of duty. Visiting communications officer Lt. Col. Bruce Derringer wants to publicize and highly tout their accomplishment, even before it happens, as a long term good news campaign at a time when there is little good news to report. Derringer's plan is against the wishes of the base commander, Col. Craig Harriman, who would prefer to treat the ten as any of his other hard working men. The previous success of the Memphis Belle is despite the disparate natures ...Written by
There was originally a part written for the Memphis Belle's ground crew chief called "Les". He had a number of scenes with the Captain detailing the condition of the plane etc. The actor remains in the film, and is listed in the credits, but keeps only one line: "It's only got one wheel down." He is not specified as the crew chief of the Belle at any time in the finished cut, meaning his one line makes him look like a glorified extra. See more »
When the crash-landed B-17 slides to a stop, the name and artwork is visible on the nose. When the view changes to just before the plane explodes, the nose is unmarked. See more »
The movie actually was a fairly accurate account of the Belle's experiences except that the movie had everything that actually happened to the plane and crew on its 25 flights happen on the last flight. The one thing missing was that a Belle waist gunner ended up with frost bite on his hands and was replaced. The characters in the movie were fictional. I've seen some comments by people that it was unrealistic for a 21-year old (Matthew Modine's Dennis Dearborn character) to be the pilot. The real Belle pilot, Robert K. Morgan, was only 24 when they began flying missions in late 1942. Some of the movie's dialogue actually was said by crew during the Belle's missions. The government produced a 1944 documentary on the Memphis Belle directed by William Wyler and if you watch it you will recognize some of the scenes and dialogue from this movie.
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