The 10 Best Warplane Films, According to Real Aviation Buffs (No Top Gun, Thank You)

Page 2 of 5

10. Flyboys (2006)
Director Tony Bill's valentine to WW I flying pictures, and to Wings in particular. Just the duel between the Nieuports and the Zeppelin is worth the ticket price. Flyboys revels in great period detail, and is a corny-in-a-good-way film about courage and chivalry. The movie follows several young men who go off to join the Lafayette Escadrille before the US entry into WW I. Such is the detail that the filmmakers had several replica WW I aircraft built, including a Fokker Dr. I Triplane.

The film even has an African lion whose character is named Whiskey, as did the real American flyers (along with another cub named "Soda"). And yes, at the beginning of WW I there really was a vague but courtly understanding among airmen, who were utilized primarily as observers, not fighters. Then, as Chuck Yeager put it, "Somebody put a gun on an airplane and ruined it for everybody."

The critics who were so cruel upon Flyboys' release clearly didn't know a Nieuport XVII from a Sopwith Camel.

9. Flight of the Intruder (1991)
John Milius's typically two-fisted (read: crypto-fascist) film is about two Naval aviators (Willem Dafoe and Brad Johnson) who decide to take the Vietnam War into their own hands and bomb downtown Hanoi with their A-6 Intruder. The Navy cooperated so closely that the production was allowed to actually rent the carrier USS Independence and her aircraft at a bargain $1 million a day. The result is a little Milius agitprop and a lot of great flying scenes with a host of different aircraft. It was an obvious choice as one of the first films to have a game tie-in with the production.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Mel Sharkskin