View Full Version : Favourite flying film?

Tiger_ Moth
28th May 2003, 17:54
What's your favourite flying film?

Mine is probably "The Blue Max" about a German in WW1

It seems lots of people really rate the Battle of Britain but I've always thought it was too all over the place, trying to show it from everyones point of view so not really having main characters. I think its better when a film just follows a few people, like in the Blue Max where it's about the individual. Its more a narration of the battle than a story. I wish they'd make a modern, big budget BoB film where they can actually put a hundred planes in the sky using computers and show massive dogfights.

My other favourites include:
Memphis Belle
Tuskegee Airmen
Waldo Pepper
Aces High

Dr Illitout
28th May 2003, 20:12
The best aviation film EVER is Stratigic air command!!!!. As with most aeroplane films the story is drivel but the flying sequences are fantastic. In fact the film won several awards for the "technical" bits. The stars of the film are the B-36's . When you get to view it, the first sequence has a B-36 flying over a base ball field. Turn the volume up HIGH!!!!. Jimmy Stewert and June Allison are the human stars and there is an apperance by the bloke who was the second commander on M.A.S.H. I don't think that it is out on DVD yet but it is worth a view.
Rgds Dr.I

28th May 2003, 20:41
More of a period piece, and I'm a sucker for film musicals, but "Flying Down to Rio" (1933) has a place of its own. It paired Astaire and Rogers for the first time. Music by Youmans, Kahn, etc. Plot is drivel.

Was the long airshow sequence really shot at Rio? Copacabana? ...? One large hotel surrounded by open fields.


28th May 2003, 20:45
I think the September 15th sequence in Battle of Britian with the William Walton music is superb... Sod the computer graphics, real aeroplanes are what it is all about. Sadly, be hard to muster the opposition in such numbers these days.

Not so much a flying film but Catch 22 is a great, wondefully comic film and, I'd suggest, saviour of quite a few B-25 airframes!

Also "The Pursuit of D B Cooper" is worth fast forwarding through to just watch the sequences flown by Art Scholl in a duster Stearman... don't think there is any trick photography there (other than where the Aircraft is actually sitting on the car!). There's a momnet where even Scholl must have been thinking "yikes!" or similar!

As for Top Gun? Pah!

Tiger_ Moth
28th May 2003, 21:47
Yes, real planes are always better than CGI but it would be good to make a sequence with 100 s of planes at once and the only way to do that is CGI.

28th May 2003, 22:05
633 Sqn (ok, there were some models but the actual Mossie flying was good)

Bridge at Toko Ri was quite good with F-86s doing their thing

Not a flying film as such but the one where USS Enterprise goes through a time warp and its F-14s mix it with Zeros (Final something or other?)

Iron City
28th May 2003, 23:17
It's "Bridges at Toko Ri" and those are Banshees, not F-86s. And remember Bill Holden as well as the two Helo guys (Mickey Rooney and I forget who else) get killed in the end. But some great flying parts. You might even try reading the book.

"Flight of the Phoenix" is good but not worth what it cost (Paul Mantz's life)

"Wings" the old Howard Hughes WW I movie that I could swear I see footage from in the History Channel (or as my wife calls it The Hitler Channel) implying it is real WW I photography when it is actually bean fields in Oxnard.

vintage ATCO
29th May 2003, 01:06
Treadders, am I reading you right? Walton in the Battle of Britain? The music was written for the First of the Few. Is it used in BoB? Ages since I have seen it.

They usual play it at the Shuttleworth Proms with, of course, the Spitfire flying. Usually manage to fly through at the final bars and then throttle back for the crackle-crackle-crackle of the Merlin. Not a dry eye in the house.

Films I like are those made during the war, I suppose as a sort of 'propaganda'. How about Coastal Command using real RAF personnel as the actors. Sunderlands, Catalinas, and the Beaufighters at the end!!


29th May 2003, 01:23
Walton was commissioned to write the entire score for BoB, which he did, only to have the studio throw it out and get Ron Goodwin to write a new one. The aerial battle scene is the only part of Walton's score to be used and he apparently never recovered from the shock.


vintage ATCO
29th May 2003, 03:28
Well, I never realised. Thanks for the link. I certainly don't recall the particular piece of music in BoB, I'd better buy the CD now!


29th May 2003, 06:03
The Great Waldo Pepper
Aces High
The Battle of Britain
633 Squadron
Mosquito Squadron
Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines
The Right Stuff
Air America

29th May 2003, 15:32
It seems that when Walton's score was thrown out and Ron Goodwin commissioned instead, Lawrence Olivier threatened to have his name removed from the credits unless his friend, Walton's, was reinstated - a compromise was reached by using the the Battle in the Skies sequence as described by WUB.

Got to get up to Shuttleworth again - next evening show is the eve of the London Brighton bike ride I think (14th) so I can't make that one as I have to be up at Pre-Sparrow fart... soon, I promise!

29th May 2003, 17:01
Battle of britain...... got to be the best, however some of the flying sequences in Pearl Harbour were pretty good, dreadful film but they flying :) !!
Aces high is great and reach for the sky (kenneth moore aka douglas bader)
C :)

29th May 2003, 19:49
A film that hasn't been mentioned yet is the recently released "Dark Blue World" which tracks the pre and post war history of the Czech pilots who flew with the Royal Air Force. Apparently the Communists locked them up post-war as potential "freedom fighters" which was a bit tough. The new flying sequences are excellent and also use computer enhanced outtakes from the "Battle of Britain" movie. It didn't do well here as it was released the same week as the latest "Star Wars". I saw it in the Astra cinema at Duxford and it was really moving.
One note on the "Battle of Britain " movie is that it was alleged to have made more money in Germany than here, due mainly to it's reasonably even handed treatment of the Battle.
Although it was jingoistic (and why not) I enjoyed "Reach for the sky" and for technical merit at the time the "Sound Barrier" was good.

29th May 2003, 20:47
Watched dark blue world for the first time last weekend, pretty good, not enough flying though...... seems to concentrate on the obligatory love story. i never realised howthey were treated after the war...... yet another hidden story. :(

29th May 2003, 23:11
ozplane - agree with you about Dark Blue World, wonderful film. I recently got it on DVD. I never got around to seeing it when it was released in the cinema as I had a problem finding a cinema which was showing it somewhere I could get to at a time I could get to it. great extras on the DVD.

Chrisf - so you've not seen one of the extras on the Dark Blue World DVD where they've edited together all of the flying sequences set to music?

Iron City
30th May 2003, 01:23
The more recent Pearl Harbor movie was more into electronic stuff than is my taste....An older effort "Tora,Tora, Tora" has some good shots of T-6's made up like Zeros and P-40s that are all 100% real airplane. Some model stuff for the carrier launches as I recall too, but you can't have everything.

Tiger_ Moth
30th May 2003, 03:36
I have Dark Blue World on DVD, it's good but not great.

Haven't seen Those Magnificent Men..... is it a bit like an English Waldo Pepper? Is it good? Who's in it?

Reach for the sky is good.

Battle of Britain is just not an entertaining film, it takes too broad a view, although , obviously, some of the flying sequences are good.

Tora Tora Tora is a disgustingly boring film. Theres about 3 hours of putrid political ramblings before you get to the attack.

Pearl Harbour is pretty stupid but there are a few good flying scenes (I thought the Battle of Britain one was good) although sometimes it seems to disregard reality in the way the planes zoom up quickly and turn impossibly etc...

I think Waldo Pepper and the Blue Max are jointly the best flying films ever.

If you're interested the Blue Max is out on DVD sometime in July/August and I'd recommend you all rsuh out and buy it, especially if you haven't seen it yet.

30th May 2003, 18:20
'Strategic Air Command' was a good 'factional' movie - as was the later 'A Gathering of Eagles' where the stars were B-52s rather than B-36s and B-47s.

Otherwise ;
The Dam Busters
The Right Stuff
The Sound Barrier

I agree about the lack of story line in BoB. With such big name stars, you'd expect a reasonably definitive story line. However, truly excellent flying sequences (that was my Cranwell Sqn Cdr doing the opening victory roll over the French refugees) and a non-jingoistic portrayal of the Germans. Oh - and don't forget Susannah York wearing an RAF shirt and not much else in the hotel with Christopher Plummer!

Worst movies?

Anything made by computer geeks - such as the abysmal 'Pearl Harbor'. Storyline reasonable, but flying sequences dreadful. 'Tora, tora, tora' was infinitely better.

I've been trying for years to find 'Out of the Clouds' or 'Down from the Clouds' - something like that. It features James Robertson Justice as an airline pilot and has some excellent 'how not to do CRM' moments!

30th May 2003, 18:59
Iron City: Well no, the carrier jets in 'The Bridges at Toko Ri' were neither Banshees nor F-86s, but Grumman Panthers. Michener's book had Banshees, but the movie-makers substituted F9Fs.

Iron City
30th May 2003, 21:58
Thank you Aero. read the book, saw the movie, don't know that there was a tee shirt but don't have that. It's definately Banshees in the book. As I recalled the movie used Banshees too....but it has been a long time since I've seen the movie so I stand corrected.

There are parts in the book that never made it to the movie because they were n't photogenic I suppose. One was using F4Us lashed to the flight deck to help dock the boat in Japan. Can't believe Mischener would make that up, but an awful use of airplanes. The rescue helo stuff looked pretty good in the movie but kind of "Hollywoodish" and you can't read the end of the book and not remember it.

For another poster asking about Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, No, not at all like Waldo Pepper. MMINFM is a Comedy with a capital C with flying machine stunts etc mixed in and integral to the simple plot. Lots of early pre-WWI type stuff crashing and splintering around.

The Great Waldo Pepper is an American barnstormer type guy who gets into building a better airplane with his friend, friend crashes, bloodthirsty crowd etc. Pure , simple aviator who flys for the fun of it doesn't see it as as much fun after that. Evil bureaucrats introduce licenses and safety standards, rules ,etc because too many aviators are getting killed. Waldo doesn't like it. It really has some good flying in it and non-aviators could possibly get an idea of things maybe if they wanted to. You can even many times get wife/girlfriend of a certain age to hold still for it because of Robert Redford.

30th May 2003, 22:11
For me
The sound barrier
The right stuff

The most dangerous era in test pilot history.

A lot of people seem to like Memphis Belle, I've never undestood why.

31st May 2003, 02:04
The cameo appearance of Chuck Yeager in Pancho's Bar in The Right Stuff is a neat touch as well!

Other cameos:

A real Top Gun ace in the background when the graduating class are having their end-of-class party.

Mick Jagger as a Flt Lt in 'Enigma'

Anyone know of any more?

31st May 2003, 02:43
It just has to be 633 squadron.
O'k the special effects using what looks like Airfix kits really show their age these days. However, the flying scenes using real aircraft more than make up for it. To top it all, thanks to the late, great Ron Goodwin, it has what must be the best piece of aviation music ever.
The runners up...
Strategic Air Command,
Aces High,
Battle of Britain
The Sound Barrier

White Bear
31st May 2003, 03:21
I can't believe no one has mentioned the great Gregory Peck classic; '12 'O' Clock High'.
I grew up in East Anglia, and visited many of the old airfields as a boy. The opening sequence of the old boy riding his bicycle to the perimiter fence of his old base, and remembering as he walked along, how it looked in 1944. The wonderful segway from the wind blowing the grass, to B17 engines blowing the grass....
Utterly believable.
Wonderful film making.
(To say nothing about the most of the flying/fighting sequence's being real!)

31st May 2003, 06:22
Re Bridges at Toko Ri:
There are parts in the book that never made it to the movie because they were n't photogenic I suppose. One was using F4Us lashed to the flight deck to help dock the boat in Japan.

Not to quibble further, but that scene IS in the movie (although as I recall it's all Skyraiders rather than F4Us).

The flying and carrier flight deck scenes in the movie are quite good.

The US Navy has actually been rather well served with flying movies:

Wing and a Prayer -- lots of TBFs. I won't surprise anyone when I say the plot stinks, but the flying and carrier flight deck scenes are quite good.

Task Force -- traces USN carrier development from the Langley to the end of WW2. Lots of period-appropriate flying scenes for each time period. And the plot is actually quite reasonable!

Wings of Eagles -- though the flying is peripheral to the story.

Nimitz - Final Countdown -- the plot is bizarre, the acting terrible, but the dogfight scene between two F-14s and two Zeros is priceless!

Flight of the Intruder -- the night-time A-6 Intruder missions over North Vietnam are well filmed.

Top Gun -- Love or hate Tom Cruise, the F-14s certainly look good.

31st May 2003, 13:49
my favourite would have to be,flight 711 (or something similar)
its about a guy transferring a crop dusting aircraft from the USA to AUST.(a true story),the guy lost his way through malfunctioning ADF amoungst other things and how an AIR NZ aircraft found him in the pacific.GREAT FILM.

all the other films from years gone by are great,


anything with the sound of a merlin engine always makes the hair on my neck stand up and puts a lump in my throat(must have been a spitty pilot in my former life)


Dan Winterland
31st May 2003, 21:34
Spag, glad you mentioned Flight of the Intruder - it gets my vote and also features a top night out in Subic Bay!

12 o'clock High will feature in the memory of those who went through Cranwell in the eighties. It was used as a study in leadership at the RAF college.

1st Jun 2003, 00:16
Maxx..... you mean "Mercy Mission", or something like that???

If I recall rightly, it was Capt. Gordon Vette, formerly of Air NZ.


1st Jun 2003, 02:49
633, War Lover and Hannover Street - to name but three might never have been made but for the tenacity of John Crewdson who got the men and machines together. I recall seeing five Mosquitos land at Biggin prior to the movie - a great sight.

His own particular flying was a joy. Especially his low flying in the B17's at Bovingdon where the War Lover was made. Sadly he was killed in a Jetranger over The Wash. A sad end to a great career.

Gp.Capt. Mahaddie did a great job in getting the aircraft together for the BoB - but some of those aircraft were, to say the least, a bit iffy!

My films?

Right Stuff
War Lover
Magnificent Men

1st Jun 2003, 14:52
youve got it skysista,

right on both counts,was a great film.


1st Jun 2003, 17:39
Think I may watch that one again. I recall seeing it quite a few times back in Aero class....

Another "true story" film I found intersting was "Crash Landing, Rescue of Flight 232" with Charlton Heston. Lame title, really, and one of those made-for-TV ones, but gave some background into the pre-crash facilitles/training at Sioux City. The "mock crash" at the beginning is quite interesting - I'd like to see that excercise at an airport here actually. Only gripe I had was that they've rearranged the order of some transmissions etc. But for the "average" viewer it was pretty good. That crash footage sends a shiver down my spine every time...

And I have to say Magnificent Men was pretty good, just for the laughs...


2nd Jun 2003, 00:39
Catch 22! Milo bombing his own field to save the "Syndicate's" fuel a stroke of genius.

Would anyone out there like to try some cotton candy?:hmm:

Dr Illitout
2nd Jun 2003, 01:50
Gog, the remake of "Memphis belle" is a bit iffey but the original is a master piece. The bit showing the blood transfusion in side a shot up B-17 makes me fill up every time. :{

Iron City
2nd Jun 2003, 22:32
No4: Maybe a bit from "Dr. Strangelove" (is it really a parody of "Fail Safe"? appropriate for all PPRUNE Forums (except Jet Blast) is
" Gentlemen, Gentlemen...You can't fight here, this is the War Room!"

3rd Jun 2003, 00:13
TMMINFM I think is my all time favourite. Some of the best British Actors of the 60's and 70's and some inspired comedy which appeals to anyone remotely intrested in flying. Highlights have got to be-

The Balloon/Blunderbuss Duel over the sewage farm.
Gert Frobe learning to fly from the book (Step One-Get in).
Terry Thomas getting stuck on the train.

I could go on......

On a slightly different note does anyone remember an imported TV show in the 70's called The Aeronauts. Centred around a FAF Mirage III Sqn? Seem to remember it had lots of flying to Africa, bombing things and getting into dogfights with F100's and Mystere IV's. Seemed pretty good at the time-mind you Iwas about 8 yrs old.

Finally, the film/tv series that should have been made- Bomber by Len Deighton, in my opinion the best flying/RAF novel ever written. I was told once that David Putnam wanted to film it instead of Memphis Belle but was prevented from doing so as the money was coming from the USA.

3rd Jun 2003, 02:11
Cor, the Aeronauts, yes, we are of an age!!! Tanguy and er, the other guy (wasn't he always scruffy?).

Around then I can also remember reading books from the library about a Norwegian fighter squadron - they were on Sabres I think... I know there were bits about flying to Bodo and other places like that - anyone remember them (or maybe just it)? Blimey, you've just carried me back thirty years! :)

Bomber - brilliant book. My second hand copy is now so second hand I need to find another copy...

3rd Jun 2003, 02:34
Ah yes, The Aeronauts, two French chappies dashing about the sky in those delta wing Mirages. I too remember watching the program in the early/mid 70s, although I have to say I can't remember any of the plotlines now. Dubbed into English by the same voice-over artists who did The Flashing Blade, Robison Crusoe and White Horses, etc, if I recall correctly.

I suspect it was only shown in some parts of the UK though since I get blank looks whenever I mention it to friends of a similar age brought up outside the South East.

Anyway, diversion aside, back to the purpose of this thread: what is my favourite flying film?

I go along with all of the candidates mentioned so far, but I'm a bit surprised no one has mentioned either Command Decision (1948 -staring Gregory Peck), or The Dawn Patrol (1938 - staring Errol Flynn & David Niven). They're both good films that are still very watchable now, even though each of them is well over 50 years old.

Am I in a minority of one here or is there anyone else who agrees with me that these two should be in with a shout?


3rd Jun 2003, 02:57
I apologise for being pedantic, but I believe that you will find that " Command Decision" starred Clarke Gable, Walter Pidgeon and Van Johnson. Gregory Peck starred in " Twelve O'Clock High",
one of the greatest air films ever made.

3rd Jun 2003, 03:22
Sabredog I stand corrected!

A quick look at Halliwell's Film Guide confirms that you are right: I've mixed up Command Decision and Twelve O'Clock High.

I suspect that's because they're both about the psychological effects and consequences of leadership as much as the flying sequences, which is why I think they, along with The Dawn Patrol, are so good.

So, that makes 3 candidates to add to the ones mentioned previously:

Command Decision
Twelve O'Clock High
The Dawn Patrol

I list them in that order as that's my personal preference - and, for what it's worth, I'd put Aces High in fourth place as it touches on similar themes although not, in my opinion, quite as effectively

3rd Jun 2003, 07:33
...slightly off the thread again, but does anyone remember "The Whirlybirds"?

3rd Jun 2003, 08:25
can anyone remember the name of the movie, and its been along time ago, that featured outrageous flying scenes with a gazelle as the get away helicopter, almost the entire movie was one helicopter stunt after another.

astir 8
3rd Jun 2003, 15:35
"Blackadder goes forth" - the RFC episode


3rd Jun 2003, 16:16

Are you thinking about 'Deadly Encounter' with Larry 'JR Ewing' Hagman?


You want it when?
3rd Jun 2003, 17:10
Srifting off topic (moi, as if?) Yes Yes the Aeronauts, "Do or die, as the Aeronauts fly".

Also one dismal rainy holiday in Ireland in the mid 70's - "Blacksheep" about a squadron of American F4U Corsairs - I only saw one episode but it looked pretty good. How about the old B&W Dambusters TV show? I recall when the BBC sold off the models I was really upset that my Dad did not go and buy any for me.

633 Sqaudron
Battle of Britian

Sorry to be predictable.

Mediocore film:
Dark Blue World

It left me thinking it was'nt complete. Good flying scences though.

3rd Jun 2003, 17:52
Larry Hagman film used a Hughes 500 didn't it? Seem to remember he was a Traffic Spotter or something, though can't recall the plot. Think I enjoyed it though!

3rd Jun 2003, 18:31
Battle of Britain - the out takes they didn't use were superb.
Dark Blue World, flying sequences, obviously,.... the location didn't however reflect rural England.!!Too many mountains in the background : :O
The P-51's in Empire of The Sun -fantastic

Not a cinema film, however, TV's Piece of Cake had some great flying.

Oh, forgot Cloud Dancer if you like lots of aeros in Pitts but no story line, bit like a wild west rodeo with aeroplanes.
Good aerial sequences with the guy from Kung Fu., what's his name, Carradine.

3rd Jun 2003, 19:02
Battle of Britain (if only for the 109 low pass at the beginning and the Sep 15th battle), Dark Blue World (but check the airspeed gauges in the cockpit whenever there is flying going on - oops!), Flight of the Intruder (seems so 'real' to me - none of the usual yee-ha crap you normally get in US films like Top Gun, Iron Eagle etc.), By Dawn's Early Light (B-52 WW3 nonsense but very watchable - the book, Trinity's Child, is much better), Dambusters (oh to see that one remade in colour with surround sound and updated sfx but NO OTHER CHANGES PLEASE!).

633 Squadron is ruined for me by the crap models and the burning of a real Mossie :{

Tora Tora Tora may be more historically accurate than Pearl Harbour but it can drag a bit. Pearl Harbour is worth watching for the attack sequence alone and some gorgeous air to air photography in among the CGI.

The Sound Barrier is awesome for all those early jets, just ignore the storyline and drool.

The Final Countdown is stonking fun, F-14 versus Zeros, what more needs to be said.

A brief aviation sequences worth buying the entire film for can be found in Empire of the Sun (that P-51 flyby).

Veering away a bit there's The Brylcreem Boys - very little flying (but it is Wellingtons - name another film with them in it!) but a rollicking good story of airmen POWs and based on real events.

A Matter of Life and Death is worth a look - again very little flying as such (Lancs this time) but great story.

And of course, Airplane! and its sequels!!!

Iron City
3rd Jun 2003, 22:15
"The Whirleybirds" if I remember it right was at least 1 Bell 47 and a couple guys that did all kinds of stuff with it, but it was mostly rescuing xyz or catching the bad guys?

While going off topic to television did they ever show "Ripcord" in the UK? Two guys with a skydiving school. Did all kinds of stuff dropping out of airplanes, usually their good old C-172. Started each show with a "everything you see here is real, no camera tricks, no illusions. Don't try this at home boys and girls."

The post re "Baa Baa Blacksheep" or "Blacksheep Squadron" a F4U squadron in WW2 doing ground attack and dogfighting with SNJs "disguised" as Zeros (just put a red meatball on it and it is a Japanese A/C right?) was produced for american broadcast television and later syndicated I think. Not sure how many episodes are in the can, at it's best it is quite decent at it's worst a real groaner. Looks like the flying is done in southern California somewhere (background mountains, etc) . See it periodically on "The 'Hitler' (History) Channel" here.

"Dawn Patrol" is a great movie and should be on anyones top list. Recommend also "Wings" by Howard Hughes who used real Foker D-7s and some other late WWI /postwar aircraft to do it. No CGI in this one, all real airplanes, flown by real pilots sometimes really running into each other etc.

"Twelve O'Clock High" great movie, also turned into a television series that works as well as you can a television series. The same actual footage was overused, however.

For "real" movies BoB must be the best. And the best waay to see it was I don't know how manay years ago the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum got a pretty clean print and presented it in their IMAX theatre. The best seat in the house was about ten rows up center and I was sitting in it and you would swear that you were in a jump seat in the He111 as they were coming to bomb England and wanted to crawl under the seat when the fighters attacked. On a one to ten scale about a 12.5

4th Jun 2003, 00:54
Very surprised that "The Way to the Stars" with John Mills and Michael Redgrave, has not been mentioned thus far. Superb film for both script and aircraft ( Blenheims, Bostons, Lancasters, B-17s), as well as John Pudney's classic poem, "For Johnny".
Target for To-night" with Wellingtons (1c)s of 149 Sqnd. and starred S/L. Charles Pickard of Operation Jericho fame. May I add the following to the, generally, illustrious list of flying films?

1. "Journey Together". Richard Attenborough. Edward G. Robinson
and David Tomlinson. PT-17s, Ansons and Lancasters.

2." Dive Bomber". Errol Flynn. U.S Naval Aviation prior to Pearl Harbor. (7th,December,1941, not the film).Splendid colour shots of San Diego Naval Air Station ( North Island)
Shows one's age, somewhat!

Algernon Lacey
4th Jun 2003, 04:30
Got to be Dawn Patrol with Errol Flynn and David Niven

followed closely by Battle of Britain and Dark Blue world.

I never thought that I would one day sit in the same cockpit as that German Gunner who was shot in the face!!

4th Jun 2003, 21:17
Ripcord was certainly shown on UK TV sometime early sixties (about the same time as Whirlybirds).

The book about the Norwegian fighter squadron was I believe, one of a series about a Norwegian Air Force flyer, which included "Otter Two-Three calling".

Aeronauts was about the only aeroplane stuff on kids TV in the 70s. Wasn't it an F80/T33 that got shot down each week - same sort of role as the Jaguars (cars that is) in the Swenny?!

I agree about 'Bomber' - as well as a great flying story possibly one of the best anti-war books of all time. Made me stop thinking about war in schoolboy terms and start thinking about the real human cost. BBC Radio 4 did a 'real-time' Radio drama that ran over a couple of days a few years ago. I missed it but I believe it won an award.

Can't get excited about Battle of Britain though - yes some good flying sequences but the story and the acting was somewhat wooden. Though Susanna York in sussies , well she has alot to answer for!

4th Jun 2003, 21:33
As a student of the subject, I assert that Ms York was, in fact, wearing French knickers in that scene.......

4th Jun 2003, 23:44
Oncemorealoft, what a memory you have (or an extensive collection of books!) :ok:

Quick search on Amazon reveal the Norwegain books were by Leif Hamre and are:

Contact Lost
Otter Three Two Calling
Blue Two-Bale Out!
Ready for Take-off
Operation Arctic

All available second hand for a few quid!

Think I read most of them, all the titles seem familiar!


5th Jun 2003, 10:54
Perhaps not quite on thread but nevertheless, excellent flying scenes in "The Purple Plain". I think that was the title.

Gregory Peck plays the lead. Set in Burma. Excellent flying sequence where Peck flying a Mosquito with a VIP passenger suffers engine fire and has to crash-land. Remainder of film is Peck trying to rescue his passenger who is doing his best to bring all efforts undone.

5th Jun 2003, 15:53
There is a film with Richard Dreyfuss about a fire bomber pilot who is killed but comes back as a ghost. I seem to remember the opening sequence was of two guys fishing from a rowing boat on a lake, when a Martin Mars appears behind them in long telephoto shot, scooping up water and heading straight for them. Anyone remember the title?

Another one that sticks in my mind was an advert which featured a Swedish AF C-130 bouncing on top of a car (SAAB?) on a frozen lake does this ring any bells, or have I lost the plot all together :confused:

You want it when?
5th Jun 2003, 17:32
Thanks for reminding me WUB - the film is called "Always", starring Holly Hunter as the love interest, a strange choice I always thought (couldn't cope with her accent) but it works well.

It's got some good B25 Mitchell flying scenes, and plenty of other fire fighting types and trainers. How one earth could I forget it - I must put it on my watch list for this weekend :ok:

5th Jun 2003, 19:20
they filmed saving private ryan and band of brothers in and around hatfield where i live, spot the aircraft in those films..... however the late mark hannah and another OFMC pilot spent two days beating up the set on the old hatfield aerodrome site in two P51's. Amazing! sat at the end of the old defunct runway with the howl of the air over the gun barrels overhead followed by all the pyro's blowing up the town. If you've seen SPR the seen where tom hanks gets shot on the bridge at the end and then the two mustangs fly overhead.... that was it, but two days of flying for a 5 sec shot!!! ??? I enjoyed myself!!
Had a couple of C47's/DC3's fly over for band of brothers nought too exciting though.

Iron City
6th Jun 2003, 00:08
Didn't count "Always " as an aviation film...thought of it more as a "chick flick". Believethe "other guy" in it is John Goodman?

ChrisF...I am assured that jumping out of C-47s is more exciting, but couldn't state from personal experience as the most I've done is fast roped from a UH-1.

Feather #3
6th Jun 2003, 01:42
I'd have to put "Reach for the Sky" at the top.

It inspired me at a very early age and here I am 50 years or so later enjoying flying as both career and pleasure.

G'day :cool:

6th Jun 2003, 15:15
iron city, thing was with the C47's they only flew past a couple of times.... still a nice sound though!!

White Bear
6th Jun 2003, 22:29
Re "Always"
Not a B25, but A/B26.
Traveling through Wyoming a few years go I visited 'Grey Bull' water bomber base, and there found the very aircraft used in the film.
Along side her was a US Navy version of the B24 (PB?) with the single large tail unit. Sadly she was lost last year with her crew, when the wings failed in flight.

7th Jun 2003, 06:40
Ok bout T.V. Stuff...

B.B.C.'s 'Sailor' Buccs on Ark Royal. Combination of Rod Stewart, and a chopper in the intro ????

Also if memory serves an episode of 'Jimm'l fix it' Did the programme do a fix it which involved loads of aircraft do-in inflight re-fuelling ???

AS an aside a personal fav was the RAS when a sailor met his mum... Class

If memory is duff would welcome correction.
regards Mitzi.

7th Jun 2003, 14:13
Yes - the Jim'll fix it programme was filmed at Brize. A lady was made a 'crew member' for the day.

To get the shots, much of the flying of the VC10 containing the camera crew was somewhat 'unusual'. Including a pairs let-down through 20000ft of solid IMC into Brize... No problem for an Irish ex-Hunter pilot - but the Air Engineer was a bit concerned!

The croundcrew had let slip to the BBC team that the Boss played a pretty mean guitar. So, in the studio, Jimmy Saville produced an acoustic guitar from behind his chair and invited the Boss to play it. Which he did - excellently!

A Herc crew tried to embarrass him a couple of years later by getting the group at the Cocoa Beach Hilton (ah - those were the days - not a tent in sight...!!) to invite him on stage. Again an excellent performance - this time it was Johnny B Goode played with no rehearsals and it was 100% spot on!

7th Jun 2003, 14:27
I could do with him at the Christmas GatBash Beags. :ok:

Dr Illitout
7th Jun 2003, 15:56
Does anyone remember a BBc documetary called "Sky shield" or something along that lines?. It was hosted by Raymond Baxter (what ever happened to him?). It was about the "modern" R.A.F. It was filmed in the 70's and had film from a bombing range of a Vulcan and Phantom attacking a convoy of trucks. That must be worth a re-run!!!. Also with all of the back catalogue of documentarys available, why does Discovery wings show the same old stuff over and over again?

7th Jun 2003, 19:23
Dr I:

I remember that programme, I think it was called 'Skywatch'

7th Jun 2003, 20:24
Thank-you BEagle. I was starting to doubt my memory once i had posted it ! I was a mere kid, more into trainspotting :8 when it was shown. Now graduated to 'plane spotter'

More BBC highlights, cannot forget 'sailor' when a chap was being unsuccessful at trapping his bucc, being informed he now flies commercially big jets. Time again blurs the memory, could this have been sailor '8 years on' ??? Of to Amazon to order the boxed set. Gotta watch it.

Also Test pilot ???? Remember a German pupil, in the tutors vs students cricket match. Someone didn't explain the rules, nor the orthodox grip of the willow blade to him!

Also Jeremy Clarkson in the F15. also at Reno.

On sky at moment JAG. Agree earlier, many repeats on Disc. wings, and History etc.

Regards Mitzi.

7th Jun 2003, 20:48
I'm glad Iron City mentioned 'Wings' - a real classic. Then there was a film about flying the mail in the '30s, lots of leather jacket stuff, a nasty bloke turns hero who possibly perishes while standing in for the injured colleague (or does he get the girl in the end?)....?

Should I be surprised that no-one has mentioned 'A Piece of Cake'...? I was told (by someone in Ray Hanna's staff at the time), that the trailer was worth getting hold of, but he never came up with the promised goods. I recall a glorious shot of 3 Spitfires lifting off from Lord Suffolk's airstrip at Charlton Park, which doubled as the French chateau in the film. There was a story about how Lord S got his fuel bowser for his strip, by arranging for one for the film, to avoid the Spitfires having to use Lyneham all the time - and he got to keep it!

With ref to B o B, there was an article in a German magazine about an American pilot who flew in the film, and for some reason got to export several of the 109s to his farm, in lieu of pay perhaps.

And which film dealt with a freighter that ended up a mess in the desert and was 'remodelled' by a chap who turned out to be an aircraft modelmaker (Hardy Kruger?). Believe it actually cost the life of the film's aviation adviser (Paul Mantz?).

No Highway springs to mind, but that may have not been its title. That may have been connected to Orson Welles, Blackbushe, and a horrendous rehash of something like a Viscount or DC-4 with strange engines and a huge scimitar-shaped tail.

More questions!

7th Jun 2003, 23:20
Flight of the Phoenix,starring James Stewart and Hardy Kruger.
No Highway, from the book by Neville Shute.

8th Jun 2003, 03:40
"........horrendous rehash of something like a Viscount or DC-4 with strange engines and a huge scimitar-shaped tail."

That was the 'Rutland Reindeer' in 'No Highway'.

Re. "Skywatch", that was made in 1974. I was at Cranwell at the time on the JP; one of the LIVE events was a Harrier flying an accurate TOT over College Hall in the middle of dinner. Which it did - to the second!

Dozens of JPs flew on the day/evening; it must have cost a fortune. But it showed that we could do such things back then! Some mate even flew his first solo live from Wittering in a ULAS Bulldog.

Test Pilot was an excellent series - the German mate was a wonderful character as was the Italian. Blokes like Les Evans ("Lebbly - him not comin' home" if you're reading this, Les!) and Dave Southwood also starred. Happy times - long before Political Correctness, Investment in Paperwork, "I hear what you say" - and Pink Wednesday.

Dr Illitout
8th Jun 2003, 23:22
Remember also the series "Fighter Pilot" following raw recruits from civey street to "Steely eyed fighter ace"?. It almost went to plan except none of the "Chaps" made it!!!. One went on to fly C-130's and one went on to fly Buccaneers only to drop out at the last minute to join C.N.D.!. ( Is that a good thing or a bad thing?. New thread please!):D

9th Jun 2003, 09:32
Mine is Phoenix Flights.

10th Jun 2003, 02:13
The Huey sequences in "Apocalypse Now" - surprised no-one has mentioned them yet - slow helicopters I know, but impressive footage nonetheless.

There's also some good Huey stuff in the much more recent "We were Soldiers".

Others that did it for me, aviation wise:

Top Gun - from DVD, with surround sound, on a big screen, great!
Flight of the Intruder
The original (and more plausible) "Airport" (707 stuck in the snow at JFK)
Memphis Belle (gut-wrenching bit when a B17 gets sliced in half)
Battle of Britain

I still have the entire Test Pilot series on video and watched some of it again last year - the German playing cricket (and nearly raising the gear on the Bucc when not yet airborne in one episode) was Harry Fehl. The Italian was Murco Zuliani (sp?)

The character that made me laugh the most was the FAA guy (Bob Horton?) - he seemed to revel in saying "actually, what I'm about to do is quite dangerous" with a cheeky smile on his face.

10th Jun 2003, 03:18
Nobody has mentioned the two Jimmy Stewart aviation flicks, Flight of the Phoenix and The Spirit of St. Louis.

Also worth watching is the 1994 made-for-tv movie Amelia Earhart: The Final Flight, starring Diane Keaton and Bruce Dern (there was another made-for-tv movie produced in 1976, which I believe was simply titled "Amelia Earhart", but I haven't seen it).

12 o'clock High will feature in the memory of those who went through Cranwell in the eighties. It was used as a study in leadership at the RAF college.Along the same lines, another classic leadership film (though not aviation-related) is Tunes of Glory. Alec Guinness and John Mills are great!

10th Jun 2003, 13:25

Do helicopters count when the title of the thread is "Favourite FLYING Film"? :hmm:

However, the flying in "Black Hawk Down" is pretty good, especially when you consider that the only modelling that was done was for the actual crash scenes.

As an aside, the flying in that film was done by the actual guys who were in Mogadishu (sp?) that day.:ok:

11th Jun 2003, 19:25
Astonished that not one mention has been made of "The Hunters" starring Robert Mitchum and Robert Wagner. A Korean War film (actually made in Japan in 1957). Almost continuous shots of F86s and F84s (made up to look like MiG15s). It was the whole inspiration for me to join the R.A.F.

Many years later, I worked with Bob Mitchum and he told me that the U.S.A.F allowed him and Wagner to actually taxi 86s for the film. Apparently Wagner got a little too enthusiastic and had to be "grounded", literally. He managed 5 or 600 yards in the air, before he remembered that he knew nothing about flying!!

Some time ago, in another thread on Prune, I mentioned that my father was on the (film) crew of "12 O'Clock High" at Chelveston in Bedfordshire. He thought that Gregory Peck was one of the nicest "Stars" he had ever worked with. The film is one of the best too!

12th Jun 2003, 04:56
Was this the movie that featured Rock Hudson and involved his sudden appearance at a B-52 base (via C-135), in order to conduct an ORI - Operational readiness Inspection? I may be wrong but seem to remember a film with this in the plot and suspect that it was "Gathering of Eagles."

Aeronauts - Quality!..or at least I thought so...especially after many awful Mondays back at school!

12th Jun 2003, 05:18
It's got to be this film, the one with Larry Hagman. There has never been filmed flying like it.

He plays a flying traffic spotter in an H500. Sees robbery/kidnapping, pursues - not flying in circles overhead, at street level. You can see the skids scrape the road. Rescues unconscious victim, takes her to hospital.

While she's there, Allouette II caves roof in with skids, ties her to stretcher frame and "takes off". H500 in pursuit once more, through dockside buildings. Now this is 1982, so no digital trickery, and Hagman must have been one of the producers, so no insurance hang-ups, there's a camera in the 500's passenger seat looking at him as he patently obviously flies the heli through wharfside sheds. We get it from the outside view as well.

He chases this Allouette along rivers, through canyons, loops it round a bridge and I don't know what else. Top film by miles.

12th Jun 2003, 11:31
Having read most if not all of the coments on everyons favourite film, no one seems to have mentioned the film 'Midway' if I am not mistaken. The great opening shots of being under the wing of a B-25 on full takeoff power on the carrier ready for the Doolittle Raid. It was released at the time when a lot of theatres had the 'Surround Sound' (bass boost+) and the theatre literaly shook, along with every machine gun burst, the seats seemed to vibrate.
Recently saw Pearl Harbour on DVD. Over done with computer graphics, and realy -vertical bomb drops.

12th Jun 2003, 15:30
Fab thread:

here's a few-

'Skyjacked' with Charlton Heston - lots of 707 footage!
'Bat 21' - Gene Hackman down in the jungle...
'Air Force One' yes a bit daft in places but who does it better than Harrison?

Also the MD11 crash in 'Castaway' is absolutely gut-wrenching!

12th Jun 2003, 16:42

You got the right film, but the wrong scenario. Kevin McCarthy was the General who arrived unannounced at the base and failed it on an ORI. Rock Hudson was the Colonel who was sent to Carmody AFB to clear up the mess.

Interestingly, the main screenwriter of Gathering of Eagles was the same person who wrote 12 O'Clock High.

13th Jun 2003, 05:45
Lukeafb 1

Thanks very much...I wasn't completely sure and sadly I only managed to see part of that film on television when the BBC showed it one Saturday evening..umpteen years ago. (It would be great to watch it again as I thought it to be an all time great alongside Strategic Air Command.)

Having always admired Gregory Peck, it is good to hear that he was a 'good bloke' off-screen too, as your Dad suggested.


13th Jun 2003, 14:45
Gregory Peck died peacefully in his sleep yesterday at the age of 87.

Perhaps the TV companies will show some of his classic movies in tribute?

Windy Militant
13th Jun 2003, 21:35
Most of the obvious ones covered so a few obscure ones

The High and the Mighty Starring John Wayne not as good as the novel By Ernest K Gann that it's based on but worth a watch

Von Richtofen and Brown the acting is absolutely ghastly but the flying sequences mostly flown by guys from the Irish air force are truly wonderful

The High road to China. A Tom Sellick Indiana Jones clone but the Tiger Moth sequences are truly spiffing.

Fandango a road movie with Kevin Costner a bit pretentious but some sidesplitting moments. The Hashed out dopehead owner of the parachute school is the real star with some cracking flying as well.;)

Iron City
13th Jun 2003, 23:31
Obscure American TV series with flying time: "Tales of the (something) Monkey" Believe early '80's tropical island with dashing, broke hero with a Grumman Widgeon (or similar), dopey mechanic, hot girl, etc etc etc. Some good flying footage.

"12 O'clock High" great movie even if some of the in the air shots were overused footage and not of great quality they had the virtue of being real. Even got a neighbor to start talking one day of his experience as a gunner in B-24s 8th AF. Got shot up so bad crashed into the sea off Sweden and was interned for the duration. Not as bad as it could have been. By his account the pilot held the aircraft in some semblence of control while they all jumped and got the wounded guys out but lost control before he could ditch or jump.

Windy Militant
14th Jun 2003, 18:59
Iron City,
The series was called "Tales of the Brass Monkey" at least it was in The USA. When broadcast over here it was changed to "Tales of the Golden Monkey" Brass Monkeys have, shall we say unfortunate connotations in dear old blighty.
I think the Aircraft was a Goose as it was named "Cutters Goose" after the hero "Jake Cutter" Mind you it was a while ago so it may well have been a Widgeon.

I'm surprised that no one's mentioned "Air America" yet or did I miss it.;)

15th Jun 2003, 11:20
'The way to the stars' was an excellent film and a copy sits on Turkey's vidio shelf, along with Topgun, Battle of Britain, Dambusters, and Memphis Belle.
That Larry Hagman Film Flight into Danger, was a H500 but there was another film made around the same time staring David Jenson???? the original fugitive, and a H500 which includes a flight under a road bridge,supposed to be the longest chase film made[possably, just at the time]
I remember both the blue Max and the Red Baron films being made as the aircrafts could be seen, from my parents front door in south Dublin.
In Weston, as late as,at least, 1978, a lot of left-over junk from the films was still around.
Windy, thanks for promoting our poor seriously underfunded Air Corps to the status of an airforce.:ok:

Total trash films; iron :mad: eagle,any of them,
Total trash tv, Blue thunder, or Super Carrier.

Chimbu chuckles
15th Jun 2003, 16:14
I found a good one today on DVD. 'First of the Few'. Stars David Niven as Supermarine Test Pilot Geoffrey Crisp- an amalgum of Quill/Summers and the various air race RAF Pilots of the 20s/30s. LOTS of great Spitfire footage filmed during the war. The film was released in 1942 and filmed partly on actual RAF stations using real active duty spitfire pilots. The actor who played the part of RJ Mitchel was shot down and killed on active service with the RAF the following year...after being wounded in WW1 as well. Some particularly good footage of Quill putting a spit through it's paces at low level...all B&W film obviously.

Also picked up a copy of Final Countdown, which I haven't seen for donkey's years.

Can't find a DVD of BoB but the search continues.


Iron City
16th Jun 2003, 22:30
Thank you WM. It was "Tales of the Gold Monkey" ,I think, in the States. And I believe you are right about it being a Goose.

Other movies..."Test Pilot" Clark Gable (in real life an 8th AF Bombadeer in B-17s I believe) and Spencer Tracey.

How about "Flying Tigers" and while I'm thinking John Wayne "Flying Leathernecks" .

Nobody mentioned "Air America" before. Maybe that is just as well. "Con Air" too.
Reminds one of "U.S. Marshalls" Tommy Lee Jones vehicle. Though not strictly an aviation film there is some helo work in at and a B-727 full of persons being moved by the U.S. Marshall Service that crashes spectacularly.

16th Jun 2003, 23:44
aving read most if not all of the coments on everyons favourite film, no one seems to have mentioned the film 'Midway' if I am not mistaken

I suspect that no-one mentioned Midway because it's such an awful, awful movie. The initial sequences of the Tokyo raid you point to are actually from "Thirty seconds over Tokyo", a 1940s-vintage flick that should be added to the list [of good aviation movies]. Most of the rest of the flying in "Midway" is a combination of stock newsreel and out-takes from "Tora Tora Tora" and "Battle of Britain". Remember that one-wheel B-17 landing in TTT? It's also in "Midway". And the newsreel footage was assembled so ham-fistedly it's almost hard to believe. In the same sequence, aircraft turn from SB2U Vindicators into TBF Avengers and then into F6F Hellcats. A carrier crash sequence begins as an SBD Dauntless, turns into an SB2C Helldiver, before actually crashing as an F9F Panther! And of course the colors on the airplanes go all the way from early war light blue with the red dots on the stars to the late-war overall dark blue with the white bar extensions to the star, not to mention the Korean-era colors on that Panther, briefly glimpsed before it bursts into flame.

The amazing thing is, there is actual newsreel footage of VT-8's TBD Devastators taking off from the Hornet that morning, filmed by none other than John Ford. THAT wasn't used.

And let's not even go into the silly love-interest sub-plot involving a Charlton Heston's F4F Wildcat pilot son and a Japanese woman.

Midway can only be considered a prime example of how NOT to make an aviation movie.

[edited for spelling]

17th Jun 2003, 03:50
Can't find a DVD of BoB but the search continues.

BoB just came out on DVD last month (at least, here in the USA, but I've also seen it at a Virgins Megastore in France). One of a raft of war movies that recently came out on DVD, possibly timed to coincide with the US's memorial day.

18th Jun 2003, 00:17
Interesting series of posts. I noted one comment about the movie "Twelve O'Clock High" being filmed in England. The exterior shots were all done in southern Alabama at what was then an auxilliary field for Eglin AFB and what is now Fort Rucker; nothing was shot in the UK. The film utilized a dozen USAF B-17Gs, half of which were ex-drones used in the atomic bomb testing of 1946. The memorable B-17 belly landing flown by Paul Mantz (solo) is one of the early scenes.

There's a big difference to me between films with airplanes and aviation films, and many of the films mentioned in the posts have airplanes in them but really aren't aviation films. Then one has to separate the 'entertainment' factor from the 'aviation' factor, because they aren't the same. In my opinion, just because a Mosquito was burned during the filming of '633 Squadron' doesn't devalue the movie, though it remains a shame.

For me, I think the overall best aviation films have a sense that their creators at least understood the aviation perspective and maybe even enjoys airplanes, and that is communicated onscreen:

Best Aviation Film:
Waldo Pepper

Honorable Mention:
Twelve O'clock High
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Memphis Belle (original)
Command Decision
Best Years of Our Lives
Bridges over Toko Ri
Air Force (1943)
Dam Busters

Best "Entertaining Films with Airplanes in Them":
Flight of the Phoenix
Top Gun

Otherwise interesting aviation films, primarily for the airplanes used, not for the quality of the plot or acting:
Battle of Britain
Tora Tora Tora
War Lover
633 Squadron
Top Gun
Lady Takes a Flyer
Strategic Air Command
Memphis Belle (remake)

Best scenes in a non-aviation film that are tingling:
P-51s in 'Empire of the Sun"
P-51s in 'Hart's War'

Total bombs that are embarrassing if you know anything about it:
Pearl Harbor
Anything with 'Iron Eagle' in the title
Pushing Tin

Algernon Lacey
18th Jun 2003, 17:18
Windy Militant

excellent choice The high Road to China. But the aircraft were Stampes not Tigers.
The Stampe has got to be the nicest aeroplane I`ve ever flown.
Recent issue of Pilot mag has a profile of Tony Bianchi who did some of the flying I believe.
He had a close call when he refused a lift in a helo which subsequently crashed killing one of the other pilots David Perrin.

Windy Militant
18th Jun 2003, 21:46

I stand corrected, it was a long time ago that I saw it on video and now I come to think about it I haven't come across it being shown on TV in the intervening years.

Whilst I'm here "Rocketeer" has some jolly flying sequences and is a rather jolly way to spend a rainy afternoon even if it's not very deep or meaningful.

It's a shame they didn't do something similar with "Biggles the movie" which was a total disaster:*

19th Jun 2003, 20:43

Difficult to know where you got your information on the exterior locations for "12 O' Clock High". I can assure you that much of the exteriors were filmed at Chelveston, just north (or south) of Bedford, England in Bedfordshire. As I said in an earlier reply, my father was on the crew of the film for roughly 8 weeks. There is also a pub near to Chelveston (I don't know the name of it, but I have visited it), which still displays, or did, until a few years ago, a number of faded black and white photographs of actors (including one or two of Gregory Peck) frequenting the pub in flying garb.

I'm not saying that none of it was filmed in the States, but Chelveston was the main exterior location setting.

Chelveston has, like many other WWII airfields, now almost completely been built on.

Philip Whiteman
19th Jun 2003, 22:15
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAArgh! The Bianchi profile was in Flyer, not Pilot!

19th Jun 2003, 23:22
Chelveston is just north of Bedford, and is over the county boundary in Northamptonshire. The pub in the village is the "Star and Garter".

The film "12 O'clock High" is based on events which occured at nearby Thurleigh airfield, home of the 306th BG. The character played by Gregory Peck, Colonel Frank Savage, is based on Colonel Frank Armstrong, who commanded the 306th for a short period in early 1943.

The Bomb Group portrayed in the film was the 918th - 918 is three times 306. Coincidence? :confused:

20th Jun 2003, 15:17
Thanks for that Simtech.

I was beginning to think that I was halucinating!

Sad about Gregory Peck. I have a photograph of Peck and my father taken during the filming of "Twelve O'Clock High" in front of the tower, with Peck's signature and the dedication "To Art and Alice from Greg, with fondest wishes". Alice was my mother, who apparently met Peck at a get-together in a local hotel.

21st Jun 2003, 03:38
Some that seem to have escaped the net so far...

The Pilot (1979) starring Cliff Robertson. Accurate and believable story, nicely understated performances and used a real DC-8 for the flying. The low-level sequence over Monument Valley is stunning.

Captains of the Clouds (1942). WWII 'propaganda'-type film with a typical OTT James Cagney. Only the first half is watchable, but the planes ! Wacos, Bellancas, Fleets etc. bush flying in Canada.
Turns up occasionally on one of the insomniacs' channels :zzz:

Fate is the Hunter (1964). No flying in it (all models), but I still watch where I put my coffee :uhoh:

I quite liked the 'Always' remake. That's a PBY in the opening sequence (Mars is much bigger with more whirly things) and contains probably the last water drop ever made by a C-119. Liked the music too, you can FF the 'love story' bits if you like, but actually it is primarily a love story (aka chick-flick), and I personally didn't find it that gooey.

wrt The High and The Mighty, I understand this is embargoed by John Wayne's estate so cannot be shown/rented/sold. Pity.

21st Jun 2003, 13:28
5 Best:

633 Squadron
The Dam Busters
Airport (The Original)
The Great Waldo Pepper

5 Worst:

Airport '77
Airport '79: The Concorde
Any Iron Eagle movie
Mayday at 40,000 Feet
Pearl Harbor

Algernon Lacey
21st Jun 2003, 18:36
Philip Whiteman

you are absolutely correct.
I goofed it was Flyer ...apologies

:O :O

24th Jun 2003, 09:56

Sorry, but I would have to question your information.

I have two authoritative sources that document the the filming of "Twelve O'Clock High." Aviation film author James H. Farmer did much research of the filming and did a number of articles on the making of the movie, and included a detailed account in his book "Celluloid Wings." He interviewed a number of participants including, as I recall, Henry King, the film's director.

Also, Bruce Oriss did a book "When Hollywood Ruled the Skies" that has an extensively illustrated chapter about the filming and it also includes excerpts of an interview with the director.

Both sources are quite explicit in stating that the movie's landing and takeoff shots were filmed at the closed Ozark Field in southern Alabama, including the famous Paul Mantz belly landing. The USAF lent the filmakers about a dozen B-17Gs, many assigned to a drone squadron at nearby Eglin AFB. (Ozark Field was later reopened as the Army Fort Rucker.)

I have the USAF record card for the B-17G used for the Mantz crash landing and it indicates it was assigned to a drone squadron at Eglin when the airplane was written off.

The exterior sets for the 918th BG operations area were constructed by the stuido at Eglin AFB. All exterior filming commenced on April 17, 1949, and concluded six weeks later. At that time, cast and crew moved to Hollywood for the interior shots to be completed.

The film was released on January 26,1950.

There are a number of web sources, including a State of Alabama website documenting films made in the state, that confirm the above.

In thirty years of researching B-17 material I've never come across any suggestion that any of "Twelve O'Clock High" was filmed in England, at least until now.

28th Jun 2003, 02:20
Only just catching up with the thread. Any film I like is certainly in there ...

BEagle: "Oh - and don't forget Susannah York wearing an RAF shirt and not much else in the hotel with Christopher Plummer..."

When BoB was released in 1969, I was 15, I shall never forget that scene. :=

You were looking for: Out of the Clouds?
There are two films of that name, 1921 and 1955. The later one has this plot outline: A busy day at London Airport. Follow the lives and loves of the crew and passengers.

Amongst the cast:
Anthony Steel
Robert Beatty
Margo Lorenz
James Robertson Justice
Bernard Lee [M] as a customs officer
Sid James as a gambler!!

"The Whirlybirds"? Sure thing!!!! Loved them - but do not remember Rip-cord.

Gog, with regards to Memphis Belle, you comment, "I've never understood why." My father loved that film and said because that is how it was. He, too, would like there to have been a British 'bomber' film but was pleased that the film was made because it told the story. I guess that those of us that were not there, can never understand.

Film detail was taken from the Internet Movie Data Base at IMDB (http://www.imdb.com)

Incidentally, the film The Blue Max has been mentioned several times and my father loved the film because it was how his father told him it was like in the RFC. It seemed to capture the way it was on both sides. One of the writers on the screen adapatation was Jack Seddon, who also co-wrote The Longest Day.

Seddon was a bomb aimer in WWII in heavies, although I do not know which particular machine. So this man had the distinction of being a writer on two of the most acclaimed war films. In October 2001, I had the priviledge of taking his funeral.

28th Jun 2003, 04:34
PAXboy - thanks to a PPRune chum, I now have a copy of 'Out of the Clouds'. The Ealing version with Bob Beatty and James Robertson Justice et al. I once met Bob Beatty in Menorca - a very pleasant bloke.

Susannah - now that was a scene! I was a guest at the premiere of BoB in 1969 in Nottingham having had an all-male existence at Cranwell for a year as a Flight Cadet. When Susannah appeared in the hotel scene in perfect cinematic quality, it had a lasting effect on a lustful 18 year old!

On Track
28th Jun 2003, 13:19
My favourites, in no particular order:

Battle of Britain
Tora Tora Tora
Dark Blue World
Dr Strangelove
Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines

I seem to recall enjoying Empire of the Sun and The Great Waldo Pepper, but strangely don't recall much about them.

Dr Strangelove is one of my all-time favourite films. Peter Sellers was nothing less than a genius.

1st Jul 2003, 05:00
Anybody remember a film called "The Net"? I seem to remember that it was a pretty second rate story but was built around the Handley Page Victor with some fairly good flying sequences including an early morning shot of the aircraft flying low over a dockyard and blowing the cap off one of the workers. Black and white film, mid fifties. I think it turned up on TV a few months ago during the early afternoon slot but I missed it. Maybe that was a good thing!

For my money Strategic Air Command was one of the best. Living in North London in the early fifties I often watched the B-36s flying overhead leaving eight contrails so it was nice to see them close up! I also liked Those Magnificent Men (Tony Hancock flying backwards towards Scotland, the duel over the sewage farm and the final beat up by a flight of Lightnings), and also the opening title sequences of Top Gun with the main theme playing over the flight deck launch activities. As soon as the subtitle "Indian Ocean - today" comes up, I switch off!

david viewing
30th Jul 2003, 20:46
I've read that BoB has been re-released with the Walton music throughout.

Does anyone know how/when/where you could get to see it?

Surely 'Spirit of St Louis' has to be on this list, with a real pilot (James Stewart) doing the acting? Reputedly Stewart put up a chart of Linburgh's progress in his father's grocers shop window at the time of the flight.

31st Jul 2003, 01:47
Been some interesting picks so far but one that I believe has not been mentioned is "The Arrow". An excellent bit of aviation history. This is a CBC docudrama made about 4-5 years ago starring Dan Akroyd and some other well know Canadian actors. Runs about 23/4 hours. Takes place in the late 50's when Canada was doing some amazing cutting edge aircraft production. The story of the CF105 Avro Arrow. Canadians are enraged to this day about the cancellation of that production run by the Diefenbaker government. Many of the engineers from that whole era in the Canadian aviation industry went on to find jobs in places like NASA and were instrumental in putting the USA on the moon. Anyway, if you can get hold of a copy it's a good film with some great flying shots and windtunnel testing etc.

3rd Aug 2003, 08:58
One that hasn't been mentioned is a 2 part film called "Bombers" (made 1944)which I taped off the box years ago (never seen it again on the box that is)

The first 1/2 hr is according to the narration the only colour film ever made of an actual bombing raid over I think Hamburg from start to finish by Lancasters. The T/O sequence featuring the 4 Merlins at full throttle is something else. Pilot from memory was a spritely 19 yr old.

2 nd part is the Original Memphis Belle filmed by Selkik or someone who became a Hollywood director. In both these films over Germany the film sequences of Me109's, Lancs & B17's are all real even the ones going down, gripping stuff.

Best films for me: Strategic Air Command
633 Squadron
and the above oooh those Merlins!

11th Aug 2003, 18:45
Anybody know the name of the US film about a the squadron of test pilots flying the X-15. Caught the back end of it in Seattle last week? One of the actors was a very young Charles Bronson.

11th Aug 2003, 20:43
I think that this film is called "X-15" - according to IMDB. The given date is 1961.

12th Aug 2003, 08:56
All the films mentioned so far are great, but there's one more that's not been mentioned. It's a romanticized portrayal of the joy of flying starring Spencer Tracy called "A guy named Joe"
That film was redone in a peacetime version where the bomber pilots were turned into airborne firefighters. That film (not as good, IMHO, was called "Always" :ok:

12th Aug 2003, 16:21
...for anyone who's interested (Aussies & Kiwis anyway), Mercy Mission: Rescue of Flight 771 will be screening on Foxtel/Austar's channel "Arena" this Friday - not exactly sure of the time but likely to be 8.30pm EST. It's the one with Scott Bakula, about the guy who gets lost and the Air NZ crew helps him home.


12th Aug 2003, 18:01
Found this thread a bit late but for what it's worth here are my faves in no particular order;

Battle of Britain
633 Squadron
Reach for the Sky
First of the Few
One of our Aircraft is Missing
Mosquito Squadron
Sound Barrier
Angels one-Five

Good films but 'lesser' favourites;

Those Magnificent Men...
The Blue Max
Dawn Patrol
Memphis Belle
12 O'Clock High
Tora! Tora! Tora!

Ones I avoid;

Top Gun (all that gung-ho, yee-ha crap really gets on my nerves)

Aileron Roll
13th Aug 2003, 20:05
Does anyone remember "Airline" , must be 20 years ago now. Seem to remember "Ruskin Air Services", some superb DC3 footage.

Whilst completley unrelated saw a couple of good quotes the other day (just ignore if have seen)

"The only time an aeroplane has to much fuel is when it is on fire"

"Always try and fly the aeroplane as far into the crash as possible"

Bob Hoover

Iron City
13th Aug 2003, 21:59
That sounds like Bob Hoover.

The one that goes with the flying it as far into the crash as posible is:
If you must crash run into the softest, cheapest thing(s) you can find.

13th Aug 2003, 22:20
The best in my opinion are:

Tora Tora Tora
Tuskegee Airmen
The right stuff
Spirit of St Louis.

13th Aug 2003, 22:24
Have people heard that "The Right Stuff" has now been re-issued on DVD? It's a 2 disc set, with the film on one disc (and you don't have to flip over this one half way throgh!) and a shedload of extras on the other.

Sadly there's no commentary track on the film itself, just a handful of snippets on the extras disc, but there are hours of extra stuff..

And of course it's a damn good movie everyone should have in their collection...!

14th Aug 2003, 02:46
Aileron Roll:

Airline was produced by Yorkshire Television and starred Roy Marsden as Jack Ruskin, but the real star was G-DAKS (TS423), painted up as G-AGHY ('Vera Lynn')


This particular Dakota was used by Ferranti to flight test a wide range of equipment in the 50s and 60s (including the Lightning and TSR-2 radars).

17th Aug 2003, 06:50
Does anyone know IF and WHERE IN THE UK I can purchase a video called Gathering Of Eagles starring Rock Hudson (I think).:confused: :confused: :{

17th Aug 2003, 08:44
Anybody remember "Cone of Confusion" and another film with James Robertson-Justice as a BOAC Capt refusing to accept a Stratocruiser beacuse the #1 eng didn't sound right.

Both films are week day afternoon films on Chan 4 with great shot of LHR in the '50's, pre multi-storey car-park so you can see right across the airport

17th Aug 2003, 14:59
The film with James Robertson Justice flying the Stratocruiser was 'Out of the Clouds'. Was the other called 'Cone of confusion' or 'Cone of silence'?

17th Aug 2003, 23:50
:D My all time favourite aviation movie has to be 'Always' with Richard Dreyfuss & Holly Hunter. Wonderful story, A26's & PBY's in some beautiful locations. I also liked the flying sequiences in the new 'Pearl Harbour' movie, flying amongst the clouds in a war bird, very dreamy & fun. When I was younger & now my 4 year old son love 'Top Gun'. I could rattle on but I'll stop now....Brgds MriyaDream:ok:

18th Aug 2003, 01:27
The film was "Cone of Silence" (1961), and was based upon David Beaty's excellent book.

19th Aug 2003, 16:20

If you care to contact me privately, I can lend you a VHS copy of "Gathering of Eagles".


21st Aug 2003, 04:26
Lukefb1, have sent details to you PMBox, hope they are OK
All the Best
SPIT:ok: :ok:

I. M. Esperto
21st Aug 2003, 04:38
In the USA, many libraries carry the VHS video's of "Piece of cake".

Fantastic shots of WWII actions.

7th Sep 2003, 19:16
Slight digression - but does anyone remember the news clip of a dust cloud at Red Flag being viewed thru' a ZSU-23 -4 sight (it wasn't tracking!) with a female voice on the tape going "Shhhhheeeeeeee *T - look how low these boys are!" or word to that effect. 2 Buccs emerged from the cloud at about 0' 6" ! Anyone know where you can see this classic?

9th Sep 2003, 09:36
I vaguely recall a film in which a Hunter with control problems was helped back to the airfield by two other aircraft tipping its wings to bank it left and right. It made a big impression on me at the time but I think I was only about 8 so I could have it all wrong. Can anyone identify the film from this vague information?

9th Sep 2003, 16:21

Used to have a copy, but my then wife managed to erase it. I have seen it in Arizona in the last two years on (I think) NBC. They might run you off a copy. At a price! The last clip I got from them cost about $60 for 10 seconds.


I think the feature film you are referring to was called "High Flight", mainly about Cranwell, but finishing on 92 Sqn. Starred Ray Milland and Anthony Newley and was made in (about) 1960. As far as I'm aware, its not available in retail outlets. But I could be proved wrong. If I am, please let me know, I'd like a copy.

9th Sep 2003, 21:01
It was indeed 'High Flight' - made in 1957 in Cinemascope.

No longer available from retail outlets.

Some great low flying in a Piston Provost - even better than Shuttleworth last Sunday:ok:

25th Sep 2003, 05:12
as for best movies, i would have to say..

the right stuff (especially the F104 going to 104 00 ft!)
battle of britain
waldo pepper
flight of the intruder

but the WORST by a long shot is...

Airport 79 (the Concorde)...George Kennedy as a daft concorde captain, with Sylvia (Emanuelle) Kristel as the trolley dolly!
shooting down a French Phantom firing sidewinders with a Verey pistol fired out of the window at Mach 2! special effects by airfix. script by a couple of 14 year olds in thie dinner hour..
(Kristel) "Oh you pilots are such men!"
(Kennedy) " It aint called the cockpit for nothing baby!"

Truly awful!

25th Sep 2003, 10:03
Piece of Cake, truly good stuff, especialy the flight down the river in a spitfire at 'nought feet' and under the bridge, the mass takoff's, and the general filming.:ok:
I dont know if anyone has seen the telly movie"Half a world Away", story of the 1930's Mc'Robinson Airrace from London to Melbourne, the eventual winners being Campbell/Black in the DH Comet.
A 'few' miss represented aircraft, Harved as G-B racer, Anson as Boeing 262, Stearman as 1930's Fairy, DC3 as DC2, but had several well made full size replica DH88 ground running aircraft.
Except for the above , the film is worth a look if you can find it, at your local video shop, always assuming it was released to gp :E

25th Sep 2003, 11:39
We cannot fail to mention Dr. Strangelove with Slim Pickens playing the unwilling to fail B-52 pilot. He will get his bombs through no matter what.

28th Sep 2003, 01:56
My favourite flying film has to be "Those magnificent men in their flying machines" but the best flying sequence is easily the aerial chase scene in "Capricorn one" It sees Telly Savalas flying the hero of the film in an old Stearman. At one point he ( well the stunt pilot) bunts over the edge of a canyon in an attept to get away from the baddies .... makes your guts hit your mouth even watching!
Other good ones are :-

The great Waldo Pepper
Flight of the Pheonix
High road to Shanghi

and of course all the war films metion before!

7th Oct 2003, 19:35
Hey all

I'm a new body here, so I thought I'd ease in gently by picking a pretty easy topic to start me off!

Favourite flying films:

Battle of Britain
Dark Blue World
Aces High
633 Squadron
First of the Few.


8th Oct 2003, 05:50
Also new poster, longtime lurker.

Favourite flying movie: 'The Right Stuff'
Favourite sequence: OFMC's airfield attack in 'Empire of the Sun'. From the exploding Zero to that spectacular super slo-mo pan keeping both Jim and the Mustang in frame, could watch that forever....cheers Messers Spielberg and Hanna (s).
Deserves a mention: The helicopter/SWAT van chase in 'Terminator 2'. "yeah, we'll just fly under this freeway bridge here...."
Also previously mentioned: The Buchon appearing to climb to clear the boundary fence at the start of 'The Battle of Britain'. Love it. That massed Hurricane scramble must sound great for those with home theatre and a decent sub.

8th Oct 2003, 07:09
It certainly sounded good when I was at the premiere in 1969....:ok:

8th Oct 2003, 12:29
On a non-fiction note, the 75Sqn and 2Sqn RNZAF 'The Douglas' video that runs in the RNZAF Ohakea museum theatre is a favourite as well. Great shots of the late Skyhawks doing their thing, flying around rather than over ships, dogfighting, tanking etc. It's only about 7 or 8 minutes long though, there must be a ton of great footage in some archive somewhere....:hmm:

8th Oct 2003, 16:13
Hit'emwiththeWagner -
That massed Hurricane scramble must sound great for those with home theatre and a decent sub.

Sadly not, it's bog standard stereo on the DVD.

Dark Blue World is infinitely better on the sound front - big heavy clunks as the undercarriage retracts, roaring Merlins in the dogfights and room-shaking gunfire.