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The Tuskegee Airmen (1995)

PG-13 | | Drama, History, War | TV Movie 26 August 1995
The true story of how a group of African American pilots overcame racist opposition to become one of the finest US fighter groups in World War II

Director:

Robert Markowitz

Writers:

Paris Qualles (teleplay), Trey Ellis (teleplay) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Laurence Fishburne ... Hannibal Lee
Allen Payne ... Walter Peoples
Malcolm-Jamal Warner ... Leroy Cappy
Courtney B. Vance ... Lt. Glenn (as Courtney Vance)
Andre Braugher ... Benjamin O. Davis
Christopher McDonald ... Major Joy (as Chris McDonald)
Daniel Hugh Kelly ... Col. Rogers
John Lithgow ... Senator Conyers
Cuba Gooding Jr. ... Billy Roberts
Mekhi Phifer ... Lewis Johns
Christopher Bevins Christopher Bevins ... Young Hannibal
Eddie Braun ... Tail Gunner
Max Daniels ... Left Waist Gunner
Jack Dwyer Jack Dwyer ... Operations Officer
James Field James Field ... Conductor
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Storyline

During the Second World War, a special project is begun by the US Army Air Corps to integrate African American pilots into the Fighter Pilot Program. Known as the "Tuskegee Airman" for the name of the airbase at which they were trained, these men were forced to constantly endure harassement, prejudice, and much behind the scenes politics until at last they were able to prove themselves in combat. Written by Anthony Hughes <husnock31@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They Were Our Country's Best Defense ... And Its Greatest Glory. See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong war violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Laurence Fishburne played the title role in Othello (1995) this same year. A few years later, Mekhi Phifer would play the equivalent role in O (2001). See more »

Goofs

The 99th flew obsolete P-39 Airacobras during their deployment to Africa, not P-51 Mustangs. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Young Hannibal: [chasing after biplane] Hey! Hey! Hey! Wait for me!
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Soundtracks

One O'Clock Jump
Written by Count Basie
Used by permission of EMI Feist Catalog Inc. (ASCAP)
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User Reviews

 
I enjoyed this movie for its historical detail.
2 October 2004 | by ruby2andorSee all my reviews

I enjoyed this film a lot, both for the drama and the action. I watched it on the History Channel where scenes from the film were intercut with commentary from surviving Tuskegee airmen. It made the film that much more fascinating.

As one of the other reviewers mentioned, there is one scene where a pilot sinks a German destroyer using only this guns. This is a true event. From the "Tuskegee Airmen" site: "The 332nd Fighter Group also distinguished themselves in June 1944 when two of its pilots flying P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft discovered a German destroyer in the harbor at Trieste, Italy. One of the pilots, Lieutenant Gynne Pierson of the 302nd Fighter Squadron, using only the aircraft's 50-caliber machine guns, strafed the destroyer, causing it to explode and sink."

The statement that the 332nd did not lose a single bomber to enemy action is also true. To qualify that, some of the bombers were lost in other ways, but never to enemy planes. In fact, under Benjamin O. Davis' command, the group flew more than 15,000 sorties against the Luftwaffe, shot down 111 enemy aircraft, and destroyed another 150 on the ground, while losing only 66 of their own aircraft to all causes.

I am not sure they shot down the FIRST German jet, but they did receive a citation after shooting down some German jets. Again, from the TA website: "The 332nd Fighter Group received the Presidential Unit Citation for its longest bomber escort mission to Berlin, Germany, March 24, 1945. They destroyed three German ME-262 jet fighters and damaged five additional jet fighters without losing any of the bombers or any of its own fighter aircraft to enemy aircraft."

Although there were no "aces" that came from the 332nd, this was probably because pilots were told not to pursue German planes for the kill once the planes were far enough away that they no longer posed a danger to the bombers.

The Tuskegee airmen who commented on this film said that the racism they encountered in real life was much worse than was depicted in the film, but much of the rest of the film was realistic.

I found it especially interesting that Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. (played by Andre Braugher) was depicted in this movie. He was a real person who was one of only two black line officers in the U.S. Army at the time--the other was his father. He was one of the first recruits trained at Tuskegee and received his wings in March 1942, after becoming the first black officer to solo an Army Air Corps aircraft. After flying in the Mediterranean, he returned to the US, and took command of the 332d Fighter Group. Eventually, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Following the War, he commanded the 477th Composite Group and the 332d Fighter Wing. In 1953 he again saw combat when he assumed command of the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing and flew the F-86 in Korea. With his promotion to brigadier general, Davis became the first black man to earn a star in the US Air Force. He retired as a lieutenant general in 1970, and died in 2002, ironically on July 4, at age 89.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 August 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Tuskegee Airmen See more »

Filming Locations:

Fort Smith, Arkansas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,500,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color | Black and White (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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