Before the United States enters World War I, some American youths volunteer for the French military. Subsequently, they become the first U.S. fighter pilots and form a squadron known as the Lafayette Escadrille, whose exploits and heroism become the stuff of legend. This fictional version follows a laconic Texas rancher, an eager Nebraska kid, a Black boxer already in France, and a New York swell, as they arrive green for training, get their baptism by fire when German planes ambush them on their first mission, and graduate to heroics. Rawlings, the Texan, falls in love with a young woman he meets at a brothel.Written by
The real Lafayette Escadrille actually had a pair of lion cubs as mascots. One was indeed named "Whiskey," as in the film. The other, appropriately enough, was named "Soda." See more »
The movie takes place in late 1916 and early 1917. The Fokker Dr.I triplane didn't appear until September 1917. Likewise, the Bristol Fighter and SE5a weren't available until after the time period depicted in the movie. Also, the paint schemes shown on the Dr.I triplanes are wrong. The crosses weren't painted on the upper surfaces of the lower wing and the all-red paint scheme was only used on Manfred von Richtofen's (the Red Baron's) plane; however many of the planes in his unit were partly red. Correct German fighter planes for the time frame of the movie would have been the Albatros DI,DII,and DIII, and the Halberstadt DII. See more »
By the start of 1916, World War I had wreaked havoc across Europe. Over nine million people would eventually die.
Although the airplane had only recently been invented, it was quickly adapted into a war machine.
The young men who flew them became the first fighter pilots and a new kind of hero was born.
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This is the story of American volunteers who fought for the French during World War I before America entered the war. It is based on a true story, and largely faithful to that story. The first world war was the first "ugly" war. It is the first war where, as one of the characters observes, "Neither side will win. It will just end." And, this movie does not shrink away from showing the horror, the ugliness, and the overwhelming grimness of war.
Because the special effects made it possible, more than any movie in recent memory, it graphically shows the excitement and the adrenaline rush of combat flying. The combat sequences are nothing short of dazzling; they were so good I could experience vicariously the rush of bullets tearing through cloth fuselages, the spins and turns, and dips and climbs, and barrel rolls, and dives, and with all that, I could look inside myself and know I did not have the courage to do what they did. In the end, that's what this story is about, and the love story, the individual pilot lives fade into the background.
Still, it's worth noting, one of the movie's best moments is the denouement where we learn what happened to the Americans of the Lafayette Escadrille, those who survived. I won't spoil it for you, just know that truth is stranger than fiction, and often a good deal sadder. I enjoyed Flyboys for what it was: the chance to vicariously experience the adrenaline rush of aerial combat. Performances were good, and Jean Reno was great as the captain of the Lafayette Escadrille. Nice popcorn flick.
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