Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Memphis Belle A Story of a Flying Fortress|
Actors: Robert Morgan, Vince Evans, Jacob Devers, Ira Eaker, Haywood Hansell
Director: William Wyler
Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary, Military & War
The Memphis Belle is a World War II bomber, piloted by a young crew on dangerous bombing raids into Europe. The crew only have to make one more bombing raid before they have finished their duty and can go home. In the brie... more »
One of the best aviation movies on WW2 ever produced
Ejaz | 12/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you've never seen an aviation movie before in your entire life, you'll be blissfully ignorant of the fact that Memphis Belle shamelessly (and yet gloriously) incorporates just about every cliché in the flight-movie handbook. If you're a big fan of aviation movies--especially movies about World War II bomber crews--you'll be glad that the genre's clichés have been handled with such professional flair. As it follows the crew of a B-17 bomber on its final and most dangerous mission over Germany, Memphis Belle may be little more than a slick and highly authentic presentation of familiar thrills and characters, but it's a rousing piece of entertainment.
Featuring an ensemble cast of fresh faces who've since enjoyed thriving careers (including Billy Zane, Sean Astin, Eric Stoltz, D.B. Sweeney, and Harry Connick Jr.), the movie exists as a fitting tribute to the men who fought and often died in the air over hostile territory. It's the Hollywood version of a 1944 wartime documentary made by legendary director William Wyler (whose daughter served as one of this film's producers), and as such it's a bit contrived and melodramatic. And yet, this exciting movie is almost certain to grab and hold your attention, offering an honorable reminder of the bravery and integrity that were crucial ingredients of any bomber's crew."
From a former military aircraft crewmember
Bart | Montpellier, France | 12/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have to give this one 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!"
Terrific Depiction of Allied Daylight Bombing Over Germany!
Arthur | America | 12/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I watched this great movie with wonder at all the restored vintage B-17 bombers used in the filming. When one watches as they take off and land with such dangerous imprecision, it's remarkable to realize how far we've come technologically since those dangerous days of daylight bombing by the Americans (the Brits went at night) and the murderous losses over German skies. All of this as depicted was before we developed the P-51 with its much longer range and its ability to escort the bombers to the target area to fend off Luftwaffe fighters who shot down so many bombers in 1942, 1943, and 1944.
This is a wonderful movie, very accurate, authentic, and quite appealing. Starring Matthew Modine as the Pilot of the fabled "Memphis Belle", the first bomber crew to accomplish its mission tour and be returned to the states (to sell war bonds, among other things), is retells the amazing story of how thousands of kids as depicted here went off to England to fly thousands and thousands of planes through the perilous skies of Europe in a sustained effort to bomb the Third Reich into submission. Off they went, seeking the industrial and urban targets, knowing full well they might as well have had `bullseyes' painted on their fuselages. The costs of flying the missions in terms of lost people and planes were almost overwhelming to the Allies.
The story is told in all its fullness, and one comes to recognize just how many of these plucky kids leaving the air field would never come back, as the daily losses to German fighters, flak and mishap were atrocious. Yet they went up again the next day and the next and the next, in a dazzling display of uncommon courage, tenacity, and maturity beyond their tender years. This is a poignant and well-told, scripted and acted story brilliantly photographed on location over the hills and dales of bonny olde England, where it all unfolded in its grand yet grisly magnificence fifty some years ago."
A fascinating wartime look at America's flying fortresses
jen | 12/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This wartime documentary celebrates the successful return of the B-17 bomber Memphis Belle, named after pilot Robert Morgan's girlfriend, from its twenty-fifth and final bombing mission over German soil, but it also makes clear the fact that this was only one of many such planes filled with heroic young men prepared to die for their country and for freedom. Director William Wyler basically takes the viewer through a typical day in the lives of the American men serving at an undisclosed air base in Britain. Ground crewmen prepare the B-17s for flight and load the bombs they will drop, pilots and crew receive their briefing on the mission ahead, death is delivered to the German homeland in the form of fire from the sky, and the pilots bring their bombers home - if they can. The bravery of the ten men who served onboard each B-17 bomber is beyond question; while these incredible airplanes earned the right to be called flying fortresses, each mission bordered on the suicidal. The bomber was a large and slow yet deadly aircraft; the pilots had to hold formation and concentrate on dropping their bombs amidst anti-aircraft fire from the ground, the pursuit and attack of much quicker German fighters, and constant bursts of flak all over the sky; with no fighter escort, the gunners stationed atop, behind, and astride each plane had their hands full trying to shoot down enemy planes. This film, built around actual combat footage taken from 16mm and 35mm onboard cameras, presents a telling and impressively realistic look at the incredible dangers all bomber crewmen faced.
Some speak about the propaganda aspects of this film. It is true that the war in Europe raged on when the film was released by the War Department in April 1944, and it is also true that Wylie used footage from several missions as well as some film from a second air combat unit, but the heroism on display here rises far above propaganda. To return home from a bombing mission was a small miracle in and of itself, as can clearly be seen in the extensive damage to both crew and aircraft for many of those that did make it back to the base. What makes the Memphis Belle such a legend is the fact that the crew took the plane out on twenty-five bombing runs and returned home each and every time. As the film shows us, this accomplishment earned all ten of the Memphis Belle's crewmen distinguished service medals, a visit from the King and Queen of England, and a trip back to the States to help teach future crewmen how to fly the B-17 bombers that continued to prove themselves instrumental in the eventual Allied victory over the Third Reich.
I might make note of the fact that this film is actually in color - not a vibrant sort of color but color nonetheless - and runs a little short of forty-five minutes in length. Those with an interest in aerial combat or World War II in general should find much to interest them in this inspirational look at the Memphis Belle and the brave American men who flew her."