6.9/10
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Memphis Belle (1990)

PG-13 | | Action, Drama, War | 12 October 1990 (USA)
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In 1943, the crew of a B-17 based in UK prepares for its 25th and last bombing mission over Germany before returning home to the USA.

Writer:

Monte Merrick
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matthew Modine ... Capt. Dennis Dearborn
Eric Stoltz ... Sgt. Danny "Danny Boy" Daly
Tate Donovan ... 1st Lt. Luke Sinclair
D.B. Sweeney ... Lt. Phil Lowenthal
Billy Zane ... Lt. Val "Valentine" Kozlowski
Sean Astin ... Sgt. Richard "Rascal" Moore
Harry Connick Jr. ... Sgt. Clay Busby
Reed Diamond ... Sgt. Virgil Hoogesteger (as Reed Edward Diamond)
Courtney Gains ... Sgt. Eugene McVey
Neil Giuntoli ... Sgt. Jack Bocci
David Strathairn ... Col. Craig Harriman
John Lithgow ... Lt.Col. Bruce Derringer
Jane Horrocks ... Faith
Mac McDonald ... Les (as Mac Macdonald)
Jodie Brooke Wilson Jodie Brooke Wilson ... Singer (as Jodie Wilson)
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Storyline

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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Brave young men who rode on the wings of victory.

Genres:

Action | Drama | War

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Japan | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 October 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Memphis Belle See more »

Filming Locations:

England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$23,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,026,846, 14 October 1990, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$27,441,977
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Actor Matthew Modine's uncle Wylder Modine was an actual B-17 pilot during WWII. Matthew wore his uncle's uniform and bomber jacket in the film and later donated it to the Wounded Warrior Project. See more »

Goofs

During the start-up and take-off scene, it is implied that the co-pilot of the Memphis Belle is able to start the engines directly by turning on the fuel boost pumps. In reality, the co-pilot would have to turn on the fuel boost pumps and then flip the starter switch to the appropriate engine, wait for a short time and then flip the "mesh" switch to the appropriate position. See more »

Quotes

Richard Rascal Moore: Hey is that your new plane out there?
Stan the Rookie: Yeah, Mother and Country.
Richard Rascal Moore: Mother and Country?
[everyone together]
Richard Rascal Moore: Awwww!
Stan the Rookie: We had our first practice today.
Richard Rascal Moore: Oh yeah? How'd it go?
Stan the Rookie: Well, we need a couple more. If you guys have any advice...?
Sgt. Jack Bocci: Yeah, get a gun, shoot yourself in the foot, and go home!
Eugene McVey: Now, that's good advice!
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

The UK cinema version was rated 12, and was uncut. The video release was rated PG, and removed the use of "all fucked up". See more »

Connections

Edited into Dark Blue World (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Greeneyes
Written by Nilo Menendez, Eddie Rivera (as E. Rivera) and Eddie Woods
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

"MB" nay-sayers: ever been a bomber pilot at age 21?
13 November 2005 | by Missileman1See all my reviews

No?? … then shut up.

My dad was. Didn't fly B-17s, but he was the PIC (pilot-in-command) of a crew of seven, all younger than he, of a B-26 Martin Marauder medium bomber (the Flying Prostitute – 'no visible means of support'; referred to the short wingspan and hot landing speeds) in the Mediterranean Campaign out of Corsica and Sardinia, bombing German-controlled ball-bearing factories in northern Italy at 10,000 ft. Lost his nose-gunner from "fright" - frozen to the gun – wouldn't bail out when they were shot down right after 'delivering the pizza' over Bergamo-Seriate airfield on my mom's birthday, Aug 08th, 1944…about 9 weeks before I was born. His story about getting out of that B-26 before it crashed would raise the hair on your young necks. Survived Stalag Luft III and the 500 mile foot-march – yes, in January, through snow – to Stalag Luft VII (Steve McQueen – "The Great Escape"). Gen'l Patton liberated all in April, 1945 – including my dad and five of his crew.

Dad didn't make furniture like Matthew Modine's character in "Memphis Belle". But he did pick and truck-haul tomatoes on HIS dad's farm in the Ohio River Valley around Racine, right out of the black river-bottom soil just above the banks; became a basketball hero in high school; then entered the Army Air Force at 19. Pilot training in Texas and Florida. I have the letters from him to my mom during all that...

And the dialog in the film? Pretty true-to-life, he said – everybody was young and talked and acted JUST LIKE THAT…

This review isn't meant to be about my dad. But I hope it says a little something about the producer's efforts for "Memphis Belle." Very young kids – normal Americans – tough (even impossible) duty – in advanced machines (then) – in hard times – in a country far from home – doing what they were trained for. Sound familiar even today?...

And don't be too hard on the details. Remember, this is a 'representative film' of what happened to many, many bomber crews in many, many different bombers during WWII. Many thousands of very young American air crews were lost in this effort to help keep America and our Allies 'free.' Think about that whole image, listen to the music score, cherish the action from a fresh perspective. TRY to put yourself in their shoes.

Then watch the film again…


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