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 light-weight Nieuport replicas were indeed grounded, but the full-size Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter actually flew for the film. In the best Hollywood tradition, it played several parts with different "makeup" (water based paint) for each. The Sopwith is now at the Virginia Beach Military Aviation Museum and flies regularly. See more »
The Neuport 17 had outstanding maneuverability, and an excellent rate of climb. Unfortunately, the narrow lower wing, marking it as a "sesquiplane" design with literally "one-and-a-half wings", was weak due to its single spar construction, and had a disconcerting tendency to disintegrate in sustained dives at high speed, therefore many of the maneuvers shown in the movie would have resulted in loss of the lower wing of the Neuport. 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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I just attended the premier of Flyboys at the Oshkosh Airshow. Enjoyed it thoroughly. The flight scene special effects were difficult to impossible to distinguish from the actual flying. Director Tony Bill discussed the background and making of the film to an audience composed largely of aviators including some of the best such as Bob Hoover, Sean Tucker and others. A difficult audience to impress and impressed they were.
The film does not shy away from the ugly aspects of combat nor does it ignore the seamier aspects of the non-flying life although that is nowhere near becoming graphic. The history has been treated accurately - and yes there was really a black pilot as portrayed in the film. I have read a number of histories and autobiographical accounts of the American volunteers - they were idealistic and naive. Thats just the age they lived in - don't judge the characterizations by todays standards.
Anyway, a wonderful film.
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