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Plot:

On December 6, 1941 nine B-17 bomber set off on a flight from San Francisco to Hawaii. One of the bombers, the Mary Ann, is commanded by ‘Irish’ Quincannon. The bombardier, Tommy McMartin, has a sister living in Hawaii and the co-pilot, Bill Williams, is sweet on her. The men are all highly professional with the exception of aerial gunner Joe Winocki, a bitter man who has every intention of leaving the army air corps. They arrive at Hickam Field on the morning of December 7, just as the Japanese are attacking Pearl Harbor and other military facilities. All of the men prepare to face the enemy, including Winocki whose attitude changes quickly. The bomber and its crew will participate in many missions but not all will survive.

Also Known As: El bombardero heroico, Ta ftera ton aeton, Amerikas Luftvaaben, In die japanische Sonne, Arcipelago in fiamme, A légierő, Air Force, Forze aeree, Aeronavmahia ton Filippinon, Águias Americanas, Военно-воздушные силы Soviet, Luften är vårt liv, Çelik ejderler, Archipiélago en llamas, Msciwy jastrzab, Contra el sol naciente, El bombardeo heroico, Los que supieron morir, Fuerzas aereas, Ilma on kohtalomme

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  • dr-kelemen-tamas-gyula
    dr kelemen tamas gyula

    Can’t understand how I missed this picture for so long, but I finally caught up to it after all these years. I thought it was great, one of the best war pictures ever, on a par with “A Walk In The Sun”. As everyone has attested, it charts the progress of a B-17 across the Pacific after taking off from San Francisco on Dec. 6, 1941. They were headed for Hickam Field in Honolulu – we know what happens next.The sleepless crew refuels and moves on to Wake Island and eventually to the Philippines, where it engages in some the best aerial fighting footage in movies, patched up and held together by gum and rubber bands. On the way, we get to know the crew members and their backgrounds. The crew are mostly neophyte actors (this is 1943) John Garfield, Arthur Kennedy, Gig Young and James Brown, but the cast and the story are pulled together by old veteran Harry Carey as the Crew Chief.There are lots of cliché scenes and some of the material has been recycled in other war pictures, but “Air Force” did it first and did it under the skilled direction of Howard Hawks. There is a lot to like in ‘Air Force” and I can’t think of a single criticism – well done all around and I loved it.

  • sara-mcconnell
    sara mcconnell

    I’ve seen parts of this movie over the years, but today I finally had a chance to see nearly all of it. I’m going to buy a copy, too, even though it’s available only on VHS, at present.I have my favorite movies that I enjoy seeing again and again. However, I don’t easily consider making changes to my list of favorites. “Air Force,” though, has earned its way onto my list.The last time I saw any part of Air Force was during my teens; forty years have passed and I now have a keener eye. I found the story was surprisingly rich with numerous colorful characters. The dialogue impressed me and the pace is sometimes quite rapid. Therefore, getting the Oscar for Best Film Editing was not a surprise.Seeing Air Force today, August 10th, 2006, was especially ‘exciting’ to me, for lack of a better word. Soon this date will not seem very remarkable, but it happens to be the day on which Pakistani, British, and American intelligence organizations revealed and thwarted a plot to destroy approximately ten trans-Atlantic airliners. Twenty-four people were arrested in conjunction with the uncovering of that plot.So for me, the battles and hardships endured by the characters in Air Force struck a special chord inside me, today. I’ll remember how moved I was for a long, long time.Go get yourself a copy. It’ll show you a lot about an important time in world history.Tony

  • ramune-gaizauskas
    ramune gaizauskas

    This was an American WWII propaganda film first and foremost. Because of that, acting, writing and shmaltz are paramount and realism is, at best, an after-thought. And I CAN respect the excellent acting by this fine ensemble cast. But, what I CAN’T respect is the utter silliness of the film.The film begins on December 6, 1941–just a day before Pearl Harbor. The crew of a B-17 unknowingly approaches what will soon become a theater of war. As hostilities break out, they are forced to fly from one location to another trying to save their hides and strike back against the Japanese. The problem is, the B-17 appears to be nearly indestructible–as it manages to shoot down Zero after Zero with hardly a scratch. It reminded me of an arcade version of air combat (like Nintendo’s 1942). If our bombers HAD been that effective, the war would have only lasted a few weeks! I guess, though, that the movie would have been a lot less interesting and detrimental to morale if they’d been shot down in their first encounter–which probably would have happened in real-life.

  • lebedeva-sofiia-nikolaevna
    lebedeva sofiia nikolaevna

    The validity of a war film is established to the extent that it pays tribute to those who did their duty and gave their lives. Thus validated, it becomes a sublime experience. It is unfortunate that the lack of understanding of this truth leads to undervaluation of the war film, which most regard as mere spectacle.While it’s true that films like Milestone’s “All Quiet on the Western Front, “Robson’s “The Bridges at Toko-Ri” and Kubrick’s “Paths of Glory” are fine examples of “the futility and evil of war,” for those of us who believe that sometimes war is necessary, the affirmative, or “tribute,” war film is appropriate.Howard Hawks, one of the great “naturalist” directors, does justice to the war film with “Air Force” which, along with Ford’s “They Were Expendable,” Fuller’s “The Big Red One,” is one of the greatest of the genre.”Air Force” is the true story of B-17 Mary Ann and its crew. The action is contemporaneous with the events it depicts. After the film was released, the Mary Ann was shot down over the Pacific, and all its crew was lost.

  • jodie-edwards-rogers
    jodie edwards rogers

    I first watched the movie at a Howard Hawks retrospective and clearly found some of his typical ingredients, like the group in distress, the outsider relieving himself thru successful action, only really missing is any female support, so greatly provided e.g.by Joanne Dru in Red River. It’s (except one crewmen’s mother) a all male cast isolated after their B-17 takes off from SF to Hawaii and further across the Pacific via Wake to the Philippines. Discount the contemporary (1943) “Bug-Eyed Monkey Bashing” against the Japanese and enjoy it as a good time document with great acting from guys like Harry Carey Jr. and James Garfield. Action is also galore. Take it for what it is from a 60 years distance and you will like it.

  • mark-steffensen
    mark steffensen

    Bearing in mind that this film was made over 60 years ago, it thoroughly deserves its high rating. It is well put together, the special effects are generally good and the caste excellent.I have read the comments made re the racism and agree with those who say that it has to be put in context with the times. They were the enemy, and in any case the film does not labour this point. Some of the action scenes are pretty exciting, particularly where the crew trying to take off whilst the Japanese army close in, and I also enjoyed the scenes from inside the plane.Although based on the exploits of a real aircraft, some events are fictitious such as the sea battle. This was a flag waver though at a time when the US was looking for a morale boost. A few corny, over long scenes such as the death bed but this is in keeping with most films of this era.Altogether, a film rarely aired but well worthwhile watching if you get the chance.

  • anthony-miranda-md
    anthony miranda md

    I guess I’m in the minority when I say that Air Force is a good World War II film. If you get past all the racist “Jap Bashing” and the fictitious battle at the end, you will see that this film was perfect for it’s time. Remember, that the film was made in 1943 and was made to help boost the morale of America in the dark days of the war. John Garfield was perfect as the rebellious soldier who couldn’t wait to get out of the army, but when the attack happened he decides to stay and fight for his country. I especially loved watching George Tobias(who would go on to play the role of Abner Kravitz on “Bewitched”)providing some much needed humor in this film.

  • rhima-mowsayelyan
    rhima mowsayelyan

    Watching “Air Force” the night of 7 December 2016, I was reminded of how much I dislike war movies, and was re-reminded how much I hate governments and the people who run governments and who create the death and destruction that war is about.As many movies as I have seen in my life, I had never before seen “Air Force” until this night when it was presented on Turner Classic Movies as part of a commemoration of Pearl Harbor Day.”Air Force” is an extraordinarily well-done motion picture, one of the best I have seen, ever.Howard Hawks as director and Dudley Nichols as author of the original screenplay make an unbeatable team.There is clever dialogue, some really nice byplay between and among the characters that is believable and, at the same time, enjoyable.There is one scene that might be brushed off as corny (reportedly written by the terribly over-rated William Faulkner, whose work I’ve never liked), but all the rest is so realistic and well done, I wish I could award more than 10 stars.In addition to the great directing and writing, the under-played acting is as close to perfect as one can expect, or hope.And the number of superlative actors in this one war-time movie is not short of astounding. When this many people can perform as an ensemble, you know you have great and talented actors and one heck of a director.But I’m a pacifist. I oppose wars, and opposing wars I oppose governments, the very basis of which is coercion, theft, violence.When I see a movie such as “Air Force” and its dramatization of the death and destruction that war is, I vow — if only to myself — that I will work harder to try to educate others on the evils of surrendering one’s individuality to governments, to any kind of collective which requires, which demands, that surrender.When people realize their own lives are their own, that individual human beings are self-owned, are not property of governments, of societies, of tribes, and that all human beings are equally valuable, then we can begin to end this horror that is war.When people realize their lives are sacred, we can begin to attain that proper human state of peace and freedom.”Air Force” is an exceedingly good, even important, movie, and we will owe it and its makers a huge debt of gratitude if we can learn from it that peace and freedom are our heritage and our right.

  • coemijeong
    coemijeong

    When the nine-man crew of the B-17 Flying Fortress “Mary Ann” left San Francisco for Hawaii, they knew it was a routine training flight. What they didn’t know, and we do, is the significance of the date…December 6, 1941. By the time they reach Hawaii, Hickam Field and Pearl Harbor are in flames. They manage to land on a small emergency field and are ordered to refuel immediately and set off for the Philippines, where every bomber and fighter plane is desperately needed. They’ll need to refuel at Wake Island. At Wake they find the American outpost under heavy attack and facing the immediate threat of a Japanese landing. Every soldier and Marine on the island knows it’s going to be a matter of fighting and dying. By the time the Mary Ann reaches Clark Field outside Manila, the Japanese are pushing rapidly south. The crew has fought off Japanese fighters and is now shot up and must be repaired. The crew manages to cannibalize the ruined hulks of planes caught on the ground, scrounge gasoline, and barely escape the first attack of Japanese infantry. By now some of the crew have been wounded, some have died. They set course for Australia, and on the way spot a major Japanese invasion force heading south. The crew alerts American forces and directs them to what turns out to be the Battle of the Coral Sea. After the battle, the Mary Ann barely makes it to a controlled crash landing near Darwin. When we last see the crew, those who survived, they’re getting ready to lead a massive air attack on Tokyo. With Air Force, Howard Hawks managed to create, in my opinion, one of the most effective of Hollywood’s war-time movies. Sure, it has its clichés — does any group of fighting men in WWII ever not have a guy from Brooklyn? And it has its jingoistic moments — it heavily hints that Hawaii had home-grown fifth columnists. What it has in abundance is a carefully crafted movie that for the most part lets us see for ourselves through this crew the issues at hand. It takes us on a perilous journey that shows the consequences of some of our actions, the determination to endure and the grit to win. Hawks does this with four supremely effective themes: First, Who are we? Hawks lets us get to know this crew, especially in the first hour. They may be all singularly clean-cut, but Hawks takes us along as we see how they do their jobs professionally, work as a team and overcome difficulties. The players in this crew are Irish Quincannon (John Ridgely), the pilot, cheerful, open and competent; Bill Williams (Gig Young), the co-pilot, a young but steady second in command; Tommy McMartin (Arthur Kennedy), the bombardier, eager to be in the fight and the brother of the girl Williams is getting serious about; Monk Hauser (Charles Drake), the navigator, who has a tradition to live up do and the challenge of finding Wake Island, a tiny spot in the Pacific Ocean; Robbie White (Harry Carey) the seasoned crew chief, a sergeant whose son is a lieutenant in the Philippines; Weinberg (George Tobias), the assistant crew chief and a gunner, always ready with a joke; Peterson (Ward Wood), the radio operator; Chester (Ray Montgomery), the assistant radio operator and gunner, green as they come; and finally Joe Winocki (John Garfield), embittered because he washed out of pilots training school. Along as a passenger is Tex Rader (James Brown), a fighter pilot hitching a ride from Hawaii to the Philippines. We get to see how they make a team, which eventually includes Winocki. And we share their confidence. “Uncle Sam is a pretty tough old gentleman,” says White to the young crew. “You just wait until he gets mad.” Second, Do we have the right stuff to fight? Hawks shows us what we’re up against. He demonstrates the dire situation America is facing. Hickam Field, Wake Island and Clark are disasters. He also shows us the grit and resolve of America’s fighting men. “If you see my old boss, General MacArthur,” says a wounded officer on Wake, “tell him no matter what the news is, we’ll be in here pitching until they strike us out.” Third, Do we have what it takes to win? Hawks shows the ingenuity and the determination of Americans to persevere and overcome any odds. The whole long sequence of repairing the Mary Ann in the face of Japanese attacks by air and land is an exciting and moving metaphor for how America will ultimately prevail. The crew struggles through the night using spare parts, sweat and ingenuity, everyone working together. Fourth, Will we achieve victory? Having spent an hour and a half showing us the issues and defining the character of America through these crew members, Hawks takes us to a defining moment when he shows us how America will wreak havoc on Japan. When the Mary Ann alerts American forces to the presence of the Japanese invasion fleet, Hawks creates a massive attack by air power on the Japanese fleet that is almost cathartic. It goes on and on, combining war footage from the Battle of the Coral Sea with fairly well-done miniatures. The Japanese fleet is turned into sinking hulks. This is one of the shrewdest and most effective of Hollywood’s war-time WWII movies. Hawks’ gives us a four-part drama made up of carefully selected themes. It’s as effective as you’d ever want.

  • iudin-boris-bronislavovich
    iudin boris bronislavovich

    This is a really minor Goof but hard to understand, considering that the Army Air Force co-operated heavily with production of the film. The Boeing B-17C “Mary Ann’s” serial number is 40-1104 (shortened for radio transmissions to 01104) but that aircraft actually was a Vultee BT-13 trainer, not a B-17. Additionally, Winocki describes himself as a tail gunner when the B-17C did not have a tail position. That change was made in the E model and subsequent versions.Partway through the film, a field modification is made to the Mary Ann by curring away the rearmost part of the fuselage to allow installation of a machine gun to protect the tail.

  • szalai-katalin-erika
    szalai katalin erika

    The most interesting thing about this film is that its characters become the basis for a subplot in Quentin Tarentinos “Pulp Fiction” fifty years later.IN Pulp Fiction, Christopher Walken’s character tells the young “Butch” about his grandfather on Wake Island giving his watch to a passing bomber crew before the Japanese came. The bomber crewman he gave it to was called “Winocki”. In “Air Force” John Garfield plays that crewman.

  • ron-mortensen
    ron mortensen

    As a child, TV I watched “Air Force” and other war films some consider WW II “propaganda” on TV. As a young man, after a night of carousing, I’d come stumbling home and, if a channel were showing these types of films, I’d watch them on the Late, Late Show. Now, I watch these films for the excellent acting, action, and for their historical content significance as “propaganda” films during the dark part of WWII for the US and its allies. When it seemed as if Japan and Germany were conquering the world. And I could also enjoy the action and danger vicariously.Don’t kid yourself that Hollywood no longer makes “propaganda” films. They are making them now more than ever. The films are just a different type of “propaganda”.

  • troy-mcewen
    troy mcewen

    1. The aircraft used in this film were a MIX of B-17B*, B-17C, and B-17D aircraft all stationed at Sebring: The only aircraft I have so far positively identified is B-17B USAAC Serial 39-001 “15”. This is seen VERY briefly in pause or “frame-at-a-time” of John Garfield ducking his head just before entering the “Mary Ann” in the film. As he ducks his head, the tailfin and rudder of 39-001/”15″ are briefly visible. A PHOTO of 39-001 in the bone yard at Lowery Field in 1943 is in the book “Fortress In The Sky” with the letters “4-F” over the number “15” on both nose and tail, and the name, “The Goldbrick”. 2. The Identification of the B-17B variant is by propeller hubs (longer than those for B-17C and B-17D) and also an offset-to-the-right “Mission Commander’s Bubble”. The aircraft used as “Mary Ann” “05564” (“40-5564”)was a B-17B for all these reasons. 3. The Serial Number, “05564” is higher than the highest B-17D Serial Number, 40-3100. This was both used and painted on the aircraft when it was re-painted (after the scenes where the aircraft’s giant “10”s are re-painted). 4. The 19th bomb Group actually, according to my information, DID cut off the tail cone and mounted a .30 caliber(was it a much larger .50 caliber?) machine gun and gave many A6M “Zeros” and Ki. 43 “Oscars” a final surprise. 5. The aircraft used as “Zeros in the film are OBVIOUSLY Republic P-43 “Lancers”, the predecessor of the Republic P-47 “Thunderbolt, which family resemblance can be seen.

  • jordy-weyland-niermann
    jordy weyland niermann

    Air Force (1943)There are many reasons this is an important film, but there are a couple reasons why this isn’t an especially watchable one.First, it’s in the middle of the war, the big one, two years after Pearl Harbor and two years before Hiroshima. You can’t expect anything but a slightly (or not so slightly) propaganda leaning movie. The fleet of flying fortresses (B-17 bombers) that make the basis for the movie are impressive machines, and the men are shown to be both competent and likable, good American boys and men. Director Howard Hawks had just finished “His Girl Friday” and “Ball of Fire,” both comic masterpieces, and he was about to film “To Have and Have Not” with his buddy Humphrey Bogart. “Air Force” is not just a film between great films, it’s made to the same high standards.You’ll see some astonishing photography here, by James Wong Howe (who made some other war films along with a dozen masterpieces among his 136 features over a lifetime). Part of the filming is on the ground, with great light and shadow and framing, and part are airborne battle scenes, including shooting enemy planes in midair, very dramatically. And the editing, which won an Oscar, is conspicuously excellent. Not only are the normal continuity edits from scene to scene and shot to shot sharp and perfect, there are also many times (during battle scenes) where the editing turns to fast cuts, or montage, that is really first rate. It would seem avant-garde in a less militaristic world.What else to like? Well, the plot in its overview is fair enough, beginning with a chilling realization as the planes leave San Francisco that while flying to Hawaii the Japanese have attacked and they have nowhere to land. The emergency begins immediately. The actors, a few famous ones like John Garfield thrown in, are in good form, and the sense of group effort with the occasional disgruntled outsider is firmed up well.But, in the end, the movie almost unwatchable if you care at all about realism. I don’t mean accuracy, but believability. The men are endlessly cheerful in an offhand way even as they are about to die, or the world is crumbling around them. They gather to talk or chitchat and the camera has them fit the frame with almost a parody of posing. This isn’t war, this is a movie, it seems to shout. Well, fine, it’s a movie, and so you never quite buy into it. The events are sometimes implausible, as well, and of course, things work out well over all. Too well.I have to say loudly that I understand why the movie was made this way. There was no room in 1943 in people’s hearts or consciences for doubting and cynicism as people were being drafted, wounded, killed, and terrorized by actual battle, including battle from the air. But that doesn’t mean it makes for relevant watching now. It’s interesting, it’s well made, it’s important as part of how Americans saw the war through Hollywood’s eyes, but it’s also hard to get what it might have meant to home audiences back then.

  • genovefa-auzins
    genovefa auzins

    This movie was made in 1943 and gives you a good idea of what people thought about the war,axis and the japs.Altho this movie is quite gung ho, you have to remember that at the time this movie was made nothing had been settled. It is well worth watching.

  • oyeji
    oyeji

    Howard Hawk’s “Air Force” is another in a long list of patriotic films about America’s fighting men during World War II that were made to raise the spirits of audiences back home. Stereotypes abound, clichés come hard and fast, and the hokum flies faster than the planes as a flying fortress on a routine reconnaissance flight from California in early December 1941 is enmeshed in the Japanese attacks on U.S. Pacific bases. However, despite the requisite sentiment that includes cloying death bed scenes, teary-eyed mothers, and even a stowaway dog, “Air Force” stays on course under Hawk’s steady direction and is fairly entertaining fare. The strong cast, which includes John Garfield, Gig Young, and Arthur Kennedy, is excellent and delivers the uninspired dialog with credibility. Although the considerable talents of these actors are not taxed, Garfield plays to type as the cynic who rises to handle the unfolding events, and a mustached Young provides solid support as the co-pilot. In addition to the cast, James Wong Howe’s dramatic black and white cinematography is another major asset, and viewers have much time to admire his work with light and shadow during the talky episodes that take place within the claustrophobic plane. While there are too many stretches of dialog during the early part of the movie, a climactic air/sea battle brings the film to an exciting conclusion. A fine cast, outstanding photography, and a few good action sequences outweigh the overused plot devices and deliver an entertaining film that will quickly become blurred in memory with dozens of other similar war films made during the mid-1940’s.

  • laura-angel-roma
    laura angel roma

    The “Got him!” dogfight in Star Wars was practically cut-by-cut from Air Force (just as Indiana Jones lifted the Big Round Boulder scene directly from an Uncle Scrooge comic, but that’s another review). Air Force’s Dying Pilot scene (check-listing his crew for takeoff, job by job, and they respond) is almost unendurable to any man who has worked in danger and loss with other men. The crew’s field-modifying the pre-G-series B-17 to equip it with an effective tail gun, (and stripping hulks for usable parts!) helped prepared me as a boy of the 1950s for my young manhood up on the high banks of Talladega and Daytona, and for business and traffic today. I trust our current young soldiers have found their own examples for courage and resourcefulness as they defend us today.

  • ryan-novaes
    ryan novaes

    An exciting, touching, and funny movie, one of Hawks’ best.It’s a richly textured work, with several sub-narratives weaved into one another.The most important is the voyage of the new B-17, the “Mary Ann”, from California to Honolulu to Wake Island to Clark Field in the Phillipines. Movies about journeys can be exciting, if they’re well done, as this one is. There is the change of scenery, the dramas large and small at the stopovers, and above all the living that goes on within the vehicle. There is a lot of model work involved, out of necessity, but it has a reassuring cartoonish quality. I loved those wooden miniature airplanes taking off without lifting their noses, as if levitating rather than flying. And the tiny papier-mache palms, and the fake studio jungles. Within the limits of the available technology, it’s pretty well done. As the model B-17 taxis its way across the tarmac, we can even hear the squealing of its brakes as the pilot applies them.The voyage is fascinating not just because we are following the Mary Ann, but because we get to know what it’s like to live inside the fuselage, to fly and defend the airplane, to work on its engines and to feed it gasoline by using a bucket brigade. Most of all we get to know the tiny social system of the men and how they are knitted together by circumstances into a solidary group.This is true Hawks territory. Here we have John Garfield as the cynical flight-school washout Winocki. (Cf., Christopher Walken’s monologue in “Pulp Fiction.”) Garfield sneers at the others and hates the skipper, the good-natured, efficient, and highly respected James Ridgely as “Irish” Quincannon. Ridgely tries to explain to Garfield that it doesn’t matter what any single person’s feelings are. We are all part of a team here; each of us depends on the other; we support and help one another; we’d give each other our last pair of socks; in fact, two of the crew are married to each other. (Well — not that.) Garfield is finally won over after the attack on Pearl Harbor. (Kids, that was the beginning of World War II for us. PS: We won.) The way the crew learns the news is just plain fine. What craftsmanship. The radioman is sitting at his console and loses contact with Honolulu before picking up some gunshots and Japanese chatter. It’s a sign of the care that was taken in this film that we get to appreciate the job that the RADIOMAN is doing! In almost every other film involving a bombers we get to know only the pilots and the gunners — sometimes the bombardier. But in this case we get to see the kind of job everyone does, including the crew chief, and, in a suspenseful miniepisode, the navigator. The NAVIGATOR! Usually if he’s included at all, it’s only to get his head blown off.Hawks is fond of the gradual integration of an outsider into the group, the willing penetration of social borders. Sometimes it’s a “girl,” as in, “Only Angels Have Wings.” (When Jean Arthur sits down to play the guys’ piano, Cary Grant advises her, “You’d better be good.”) Here it’s Garfield, who begins by hating the Air Corps and ends by being a fully functioning team member, and an innovative leader. If that’s not enough, we have yet another playful rivalry between the Mary Ann’s crew and a passenger they pick up — a pursuit pilot who jokes about the furniture vans that bomber crews have to fly around in. Does he turn into a fully functioning team member at the end too? Yes, he does, although as far as we know he’s had to multi-engine time at all. No matter.The essence of Hawks’ fascination with male solidarity is probably best expressed in the scene in which the Mary Ann is being attacked over a (fictional) Japanese fleet. As a Zero homes in on the B-17 from a given position, the gunner on that side yells out to the captain, “Swing her a little to the left!”, and Ridgely makes the airplane yaw slightly to give the gunner a better shot at the Zero. Let me put this another way — an enlisted gunner is telling the captain of the airplane what to do. And the officer happily complies. That is teamwork. The crew transcend their individuality. They’re like a single organism.”Irish” dies towards the end in a scene that could have been so much cornier than it is. (Faulkner is said to have written part of it.) Everyone of importance is in the death scene and plays a part.The movie practically falls apart at the end, unfortunately. Our airplanes seem to blow the entire Imperial Japanese Navy out of the water in a battle that resembles nothing of historical value. And yet even the final scene, of the Mary Ann crash landing in the rolling surf, is exciting enough to help us forget the obvious propaganda of the previous scene. The problem, though, is that the racism runs all the way through the film. Okay, let’s accept dialog like, “Fried Jap going’ down!”, when a Zero explodes. But the Japanese in Hawaii are treated as treacherous cowards, which, by the time of this movie’s release, should have been a myth long dispelled. Of course there was never any sabotage. They were American citizens before they were Japanese.Anyway, an outstanding adventure movie. Nothing arty or pretentious, simply a nicely executed work. One of the best films to be made during the war.

  • samo-primozic
    samo primozic

    OK, so this is a war years propaganda, moral boosting, rah rah USA, loaded with technical inaccuracies movie. This is still a very good film. Actually far better than most of it’s genre from that period. What I like about it is not that it’s a war movie but that it has such a fine cast and being set in a single interior for much of the film it comes across more like a good stage play set during combat action of World War II. John Garfield, Gig Young, Harry Carey, George Tobias and Arthur Kennedy are among the stellar ensemble cast in a story about the beginning days of America’s entry into World War II. A Hal Wallis production with direction by famed Director Howard Hawks. I’ve probably seen half of the movies directed by Hawks from his 40 year plus directorial career as has most people since he made so many well-known films but in case you may have missed Air Force you should check it out. Dudley Nichols whose screenplay’s include Stagecoach, The Bells of St. Mary’s, Gunga Din, The Big Sky and For Whom The Bell Tolls was nominated for the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for the 1943 Academy Awards. Author William Faulkner collaborated in rewriting a scene and adding additional dialog. The film’s only Academy Award went to George Amy for Best Film Editing. I think Hawks should have received a nomination for direction and the film should have also been nominated for cinematography. The large cast probably canceled each other out for any consideration in actor or supporting actor nominations but they put together a compelling performance. It’s a great human drama. I would give this an 8.5 out of a possible 10 and recommend it.

  • shaantaa-senaadhiish
    shaantaa senaadhiish

    One of the great things about motion pictures in this country is how they change with the times. Take this picture for example which came out in 1943. The U.S. was in the thick of the war and this was a film like many made during that time to stir patriotic fever and make Americans “hate the evil yellow enemy” (and the Nazis too!). It’s full of everything to make the viewer feel good about our boys who are doing the fighting. A B-17 bomber crew where there seems to be no problems, only the desire to “Shoot down Japs” Now go forward about six years to 1949 and “Twelve O’Clock High” and watch that film about B-17 Bomber Crews. Could “Air Force” have cut it with movie goers any time after 1946? Could “Twelve O’Clock High” have made it with a 1943 audience? Probably not. So watch this picture and remember when it came out and what the mood in this country was and you’ll truly enjoy it. Also don’t forget to see “Twelve O’Clock High” as well, maybe right after seeing this one.

  • louis-evans
    louis evans

    I was stationed at Hamilton Air Force Base from November of 1966 till March of 1970. The movie starts off with a teletype message coming through ordering the B-17 group to proceed from Hamilton Field California to Hickam Field Hawaii for two weeks of annual training . I was stationed at the same base years later when it was a fighter plane base. I saw lots of old photos from the days when Flying Fortress B-17’s flew off the same runway. Even though the special effects are not up to todays standards, I still enjoy watching this movie every time it is on TV . As a military photographer, I can only imagine what it must have been like to capture the chaos going on that Sunday morning in 1941. My first two years , I used a Speed Graphic just like those used back then so I have insight into how they worked .

  • denis-zeman
    denis zeman

    Great is over used a lot of times to describe something pretty good or even mediocre, but I think this movie, taken in context, IS great. I didn’t see the racism that [email protected] saw, but after all the movie was made in 1943, we were at war with Japan and since they started it, it is understandable that our attitude toward them was pretty edgy.I always look at characters and the kinds of feelings they create and whether a movie can develop a mood. I think the characters and the mood in “Air Force” do that very well. It shows what a downer war really is (it doesn’t make any difference if you are right or wrong)and how much people lose during war. It also emphasizes the futility of it all sometimes when you know you’re going to die, but you are willing to do your job anyway. Have to hand it to those guys at Wake Island.I saw this movie for the first time way back in the 50’s and had the pleasure of seeing it again recently. It’s STILL a great movie. James Brown who was Tex Raider the pursuit pilot (played Lt. Rip Masters on the TV show Rin Tin Tin) and John Garfield who was Joe Winocki are my favorite characters but like Sargebri it was a hoot to see George Tobias as a young man.

  • altinkaya-safak
    altinkaya safak

    I gave this an enthusiastic 6, and that’s not said sarcastically. If you accept it for what it is, a WWII propaganda film, it is (except for the last half hour) very well done. It was made within the constraints of being a propaganda film, the necessity to maintain dramatic flow, incomplete knowledge at the time of all the facts, and the availability of aircraft that the Army Air Corps could provide. The aircraft are clearly the best thing about the film, though Harry Carey came close to stealing the movie. The aerial battles were staged by Paul Mantz, who was THE best in the business. There were two major weaknesses. The first was the frequent references to 5th column activity. Except for one minor incident in the Kauai area, the Japanese-Americans in Hawaii were singularly loyal to the U.S. The biggest weakness was the totally fictitious battle in the last 30 minutes of the movie. It never happened. The only sea battle in that area during that time frame was the battle of the Java Sea, which was a disaster for the U.S. and Dutch forces. Rather it seemed to be an enhanced composite of the attacks on Japanese convoys in the New Guinea/Solomon Islands area, and the battles of Coral Sea and Midway. We had nothing like the forces portrayed available at that time. The fighters shown at Clark Field were Bell P-39s. They were very pretty little planes, but were such a disappointment they earned the nickname Iron Dogs (all metal and “dogs”). But they still would have been far superior to what was actually available there. Sharp-eyed viewers would see that they were also used to stand in for radial-engined Zeroes (P-39s had liquid-cooled engines), along with radial-engined American trainers in the battle scenes. Also, I am practically certain B-17s didn’t have the range to fly from Hickam to Clark with only one refueling stop, but that is justified by the necessity for dramatic flow. One more note – the dramatic picture of the capsizing battleship near the end of the movie was not a model, but rather a film of the Austro-Hungarian Szent Istvan sunk in 1918 during WWI.

  • gvanc-a-kalandaze
    gvanc a kalandaze

    I’ve seen this on cable dozens of times and almost never turn it off when it comes on. Some of the comments about the racist terms are simply naive. Trying to judge a movie 60 years later using political correctness as a measurement is like trying to compare Slater Martin with Michael Jordan. Air Force was released in 1943 meaning it was written and produced shortly after Pearl Harbor. So, the terms “Fried Jap” are understandable considering the times. Yes, the death bed scene was sappy. But the scene where the “Mary Anne” is trying to take off just one step ahead of invading japaness troops is exciting. The special effects are good (again, considering the technology 60 years ago) and although you can point to problems here or there, I think Howard Hawks and a great cast make this a movie people will enjoy for many more decades.

  • rakide-sama
    rakide sama

    For modern viewers, this is truly a movie for airplane buffs. How many movies can you find with early B-17s flying? I have always appreciated this movie for that purpose. Those early birds without tail guns and power turrets were all gone by wars end. This movie was made during the dark days of WWII for America and the ‘D’ models were still fairly new and in use stateside as training aircraft. Thankfully the producers just went to real Army Air Fields and used existing equipment. That is wonderful visual documentation for history buffs! Many ‘props’ were real! The Air Corps thermos bottles and the Air Crew bandoleers for pistol ammunition were great to see documented.This was a wartime movie made in a period where we had suffered lots of defeats and few victories. The young men being sent off to war had grown up being taught not to kill their fellow humans. Most of the early war ‘propaganda’ films went to lengths to ‘dehumanize’ the enemy so that a young American entering combat would not be conflicted. This happens in all wars but is more obvious to us today due to the amount of films made during WWII. Regarding the talk of ‘fifth column’ work at Pearl Harbor, I believe some have missed the point of the propaganda. We have become so aware of the race issue that we miss the point made in the film. It was not so much to single out the Japanese ancestry citizens of Hawaii as to make the American people think that it wasn’t our military’s fault that we were caught by surprise. The theme in that scene and later on Wake Island proffered that ‘our boys don’t lose in an even fight’. It was to establish confidence in our military and equipment. The idea was to tell the U.S. civilian population that we couldn’t lose unless stabbed in the back. Actually, much of our equipment of the time was inferior to our opponents. We also had mostly ‘green’ troops whereas the Japanese had a lot of combat experienced pilots and troops. It was a tough fight all the way through and our veterans deserve full credit for winning.This movie is entertaining and a great one for airplane/history buffs who know what is ‘right’ and what isn’t correct. Politically it is dated and must be taken in context. It is still fun to watch and worth your time.