A crew of African American pilots in the Tuskegee training program, having faced segregation while kept mostly on the ground during World War II, are called into duty under the guidance of Col. A.J. Bullard.
Cuba Gooding Jr.,
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
The Memphis Belle was named for Margaret K. Polk of Memphis, TN. Although she and Robert K. Morgan broke off their engagement after his returning to the US, they remained friends for life. Polk died April 5, 1990. Her obituary, titled "The Memphis Belle, Margaret Polk, dies", appeared April 6, 1990 in the (Memphis) Commercial Appeal. It runs almost 23 column-inches. See more »
During the pre-flight, Sgt. Danny "Danny Boy" Daly, the radio operator, conducts a radio-check saying, "Charlie, Victor, Uncle, Tango". He is using the modern NATO Phonetic alphabet. During WWII, he would have used a different phonetic alphabet and said, "Charlie, Victor, Uncle, Tare". 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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