Aviation Film and Movie List for the Enthusiast



These comments are from the point of view of the aviation enthusiast. They do not necessarily reflect the artistic and dramatic quality of the work.
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The Early Days
World War I
World War II
Korea
Cold War
The Space Race

THE EARLY DAYS

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Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965)  Set in the early 1910, this movie contains flying by some real and imaginary airplanes of the era as they race from London to Paris.
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WORLD WAR I

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The Blue Max  A working class soldier becomes an aviator and top ace.  Great flying with aircraft of the day.
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WORLD WAR II

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Tora! Tora! Tora!  is a docu-drama of the Pearl Harbor attack.  It appears to be mostly historically accurate, with scenes depicting actual events and people.  Almost all of the flying was done with real aircraft.  Except for the hokey gas flames for muzzle flashes, the flying looks realistic.  The Japanese Zeros are modified AT-6s.  The Vals were created from a combination of BT-19s and AT-6s.  The P-40s  on the ground are non-flying relicas.
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Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo is a black and white film based on the book by Ted Lawson's  personal account of the raid.  It looks like actual footage of the B-25s taking off from the carrier Wasp, is included.
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12 O'Clock High show the early days of daylight precision bombing from B-17s. It contains actual combat footage from air battles to add realism to the drama.
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Pearl Harbor
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633 Squadron
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Battle of Britain
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The Flying Tigers

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Wing and a Prayer
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KOREAN WAR

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The Bridges of Toko-Ri is based on the novel by James Michner depicting the personal struggles of Naval Aviation personnel and their families.  There are some great flying scenes from the dawn of the Jet Age, with jets operating from aircraft carriers designed for an earlier era.
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COLD WAR

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Strategic Air Command – Former WWII bomber pilot (James Stewart) returns to duty with the Strategic Air Command, giving up a promising career in baseball.  The story line is said to be pretty boring by non-aviation people that have viewed this.  There are some great actual flying scenes in the B36 and B47.

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Jet Pilot
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Bombers B-52
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Fail Safe – Vindicator bombers (played by B58s) are accidentally sent beyond their fail safe point toward their targets.
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Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
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War Games – Teens thinking they are playing a computer game almost start World War III.
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No Easy Days: Snakes in the Cockpit is a documentary on U.S. bomber accidents from B-29s to the B-70. Many of these aircraft were carrying nuclear weapons at the time of the accident.
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THE SPACE RACE

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The Right Stuff
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Apollo 13
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© 2004-2007 George T. Palecek.
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Last modified 02/05/07.