Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Memphis Belle |
Actors: Matthew Modine, Eric Stoltz, Tate Donovan, D.B. Sweeney, Billy Zane
Director: Michael Caton-Jones
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Military & War
Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 09/08/2009
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From a former military aircraft crewmember
Nosferatu | Albuquerque, NM United States | 07/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have to be different from most of the other reviewers and give this movie a full 5 stars. It is one of my favorites. As a former hookup man, crew chief, flight engineer, and door gunner, I have seen exactly the type of character assortment and wacky actions that this film portrays. There is always one that is afraid of dying. There is always AT LEAST one hung over person, usually with a barf bag within reach. There is always the one that tries to ride herd on the rest and keep them paying attention to their job. There is always one glory hound that feels he must get a shot at everybody's job so he has bragging rights when he gets home. So this set of characters is totally credible and all were played with extraordinary skill. I love them all, even the jerk.As for historical accuracy, it is not accurate. They based the story on the Memphis Belle, but incorporated all the incidents and accidents that happened to the flying fortresses. If it didn't happen to the Belle, her crew witnessed it. In my opinion, the movie is made better for this. It also serves to educate people about the realities of WWII bomber flights. I'm all for that. The public needs to be made aware that these men went through a hell that most cannot begin to imagine. Thus, this movie performs a vital function.As for the entertainment value ... it is top of the line. You will feel the pain and dodge the shrapnel! The anti-aircraft rounds make me get in fast motion! I especially like the part about the monkey harness and can identify fully with it. The pilot always had to force me to put mine on, and like the guy in this movie, it saved my bacon once. There's just no comparison to flapping in the breeze beneath an aircraft while other crewmembers try to haul you back aboard. (But you'll never have to be told to put on your monkey harness again!) Thus, I identify and empathize with his position ... literally! Order a copy today and see if it doesn't fully engage all your systems!"
Great Hollywood Introduction to Vital American History
Rob Morris | Idaho Falls, ID United States | 12/30/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A little background. First of all, there really was a plane called the Memphis Belle. It is traditionally considered the first B-17 to complete the obligatory 25 missions and survive. If you are going to learn about the real 'Memphis Belle', I highly recommend you watch the William Wyler documentary, made during World War II, that chronicles the story of the actual plane and its crew. You may also want to read the book that came out in the past year called "The Man Who Flew the Memphis Belle" about the Belle's pilot, Robert Morgan, because it is a fascinating book about a man who went on to fly B29's in the Pacific after surviving in Europe. And to watch a movie that accurately chronicles the trials and tribulations of bomber crewmen in Europe in WWII, I recommend "Twelve O'Clock High" and "Pistol Packing Mama".
That having been said, I must add that most air veterans think that the 1990 "Memphis Belle" movie is unrealistic, and in many ways they are right. However, I have done enough research to appreciate that the film is a great way to get introduced to the exploits of the brave aircrews who flew over Germany in World War II. It is an entertaining film. I think the director would have been much better off NOT calling the film "The Memphis Belle", because the story is mostly fiction. So why did he/she do so? It was put out by the daughter of William Wyler, who made the original movie, in part as a tribute to her father. Thus the name.The actual pilot of the real Memphis Belle was asked about the movie, and said that it appeared to him that the writers had taken everything that had happened to the crew over all 25 missions and compressed them into one hellish mission. Indeed, the crew deals with about every in-flight emergency imaginable on mission twenty-five. This is one exciting piece of film.
Roger Freeman, one of the great air historians, also served as an advisor on the film. The film got a lot of things right, too, in addition to the gaffes that many air vets notice.
The joy of seeing three of the surviving B-17's flying together again in this movie is worth the price, in my book.
I recommend the movie with the caveat that it is not FACT, but historical fiction, and recommend that if you like it, that you not stop until you see the real "Memphis Belle" video from the forties and also read Robert Morgan's book. You will come away with renewed and increased admiration for the brave men who flew missions in the war to save the world. These men flew knowing full well that each mission could well be their last. They flew no fewer than 25 such missions at war's beginning when the odds were terrible, and as many as 35 by war's end. This movie is a fitting tribute to their sacrifices."
Twelve O'Clock Medium...
Joel R. Bryan | Athens, Georgia United States | 03/01/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If you can penetrate (like a B-17 cutting through cloud cover) all the character cliches and a certain old-fashioned hokey aura, you'll find a harrowing depiction of daylight bombing, circa 1943. What you won't find is an accurate account of the real Memphis Belle's 25th mission, or anyone resembling the actual men who flew her that day.
Matthew Modine captains this fictionalized crew, with support from resentful co-pilot Tate Donovan, dishonest bombadier Billy Zane, panicked navigator D.B. Sweeney and wiseacre belly gunner Sean Astin. Tailgunner Harry Connick, Jr. gets to display his vocals and piano skills in a musical number, dedicated to waistgunner Eric Stoltz, that stalls the film in the early going.
While the real Memphis Belle experienced a somewhat less dramatic run to a different target, this film's mission is to depict the aerial terrors of that year in Europe, when American airmen suffered more losses than any other branch of our armed forces. Direct hit! Massive B-17 formations thunder across the sky, flak rips planes apart, and in one chilling moment, an enemy fighter slices one bomber in half, and our heroes hear the panicked screams of its doomed crew over the radio.
The battle scenes are horrific, and the character scenes are just horrible. It's not that the acting is of poor quality; it isn't. It's that each crewmember faces some sort of hackneyed personal crisis and comes through in true cliched fashion, which somewhat cheapens what the real crew experienced. It's literally one thing after another, a bombing run as group therapy. The film relies exclusively on stock Hollywood types, rather than human beings. Plus, Sweeney's fearful character does a disservice to the real Belle's navigator. Modine comes off best, with his youthful appearance and dedication, as he admonishes his crew not to shout their targets over the intercom. John Lithgow has the thankless task of portraying the coldblooded PR officer who's more concerned with publicity tours than the men's welfare, or their mission's stategic/tactical importance.
Despite its failings as a "true" story, this is a film worth watching. Not until "Saving Private Ryan" would a film surpass "Belle's" depiction of nerve-wracking combat."
Good, But Some Inaccuracies
Jet Jockey | Phoenix, AZ | 09/26/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As war flicks go, this one was pretty decent; no overdramatic, sappy acting, the cast playing the Belle's crew was pretty cohesive, just like you would expect.
For the most part, the film was reasonably realistic (I've known lots of B-17 and B-24 pilots). It impressed me that they even got the Belle's model (B-17F) right; I didn't know there were any flying F's still around, most are G-models.
There were some inaccuracies though. Why did they glamorize the Belle's name on the nose, when it actually was made up of plain block letters? The "little friends" (fighter escort) would not be made up of P-51's in early 1943, more than likely P-47s; I can forgive this one because there are only a couple of flyable "Jugs" left. The Belle's 25th mission was actually a "milk run" over France; they did fly once over Bremen but I believe that was around their 20th mission. Smoking was not allowed on, or anywhere near, the bombers. I could list several other things, but you get my point.
Still, it was one of the better bomber movies in many ways. I would have to agree with another reviewer though about "Twelve O'Clock High". It doesn't have as much action as this movie, but is totally accurate and much more dramatic."