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TOP 10 best movies with and about aviation. (video)
The film and aviation started around the same time. There are some notable moments in aviation and film that took place in parallel: the flight of the Wright brothers in 1903 and the 2 famous film productions - A trip to the moon (1902) and The big train robbery (1903).
Some time ago, I presented you with a top of Aircraft and aviation movies from a more recent period of the two industries. Now we bring to your attention a TOP 10 best movies with and about aviation of all time, which was made by specialists and enthusiasts.
TOP 10 best movies with and about aviation
We do not say that they are the best, but the specialists. And in the end it's a subjective top, which certainly won't please everyone. But we invite you to follow this ranking. Try to evaluate the film as a story and not as a presentation medium for the plane.
1. Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965)
This humorous film has it all: wonderful replicas of successful and unsuccessful early flying cars, beautiful scenery and a great cast that includes Terry Thomas, Sarah Miles and Irina Demick as Brigitte, Ingrid, Marlene, Françoise, Yvette and Betty.
Each of Demick's characters is wonderful, carefully captured and excellently presented. Even though the planes had more reliable engines and were better built than the original ones, it was a challenge to try to fly with them. The film summarizes the first decade of aviation.
2. Twelve O'Clock High (1949)
Written in part by Beirne Lay Jr., this epic reflects both his love for the US Army Air Force and his direct knowledge of the real events on which the film is based.
Gregory Peck, always a reliable performer, is at his best in this film, which takes advantage of the B-17 aircraft still available and the existence of combat images to make the flight scenes very realistic.
The writers did not feel the need to introduce a love story in the film, and the film benefits a lot from this.
3. Wings (1927)
Wings received the first Oscar for Best Picture in 1929, a greeting to its director, William Wellman, a former member of the Lafayette Air Corps.
Wellman had flown to France with the same Tommy Hitchcock, who - in the war - saw the potential of the Merlin engine to power the P-51 Mustang. Wellman also served briefly in the U.S. Army Air Corps shortly after the war. He got a job in Hollywood as a messenger and quickly went up to the director.
Wellman's reputation and contacts were enough to convince the Air Corps to provide a virtual army of more than 220 imaging aircraft. These include Thomas Morse MB-3A Scouts, Curtiss P-1 Hawks, Martin MB-2 and de Havilland DH4s. Several World War I planes, including a Sword VII, a Fokker D.VII and an SE5a, also appear.
Unlike Twelve O'Clock High, the film presents a love story typical of those times, a triangle between Buddy Rogers, Richard Arlen and Clara Bow. Interestingly enough, Wellman, FJ writer Saunders, Arlen and Rogers were all pilots.
In one scene, Rogers is shown flying with Thomas Morse. Wow! It was very unusual for a star's life to be risked in this way.
4. Hell's Angels (1930)
A good deed is not everything, not if you can gather the number of authentic World War I planes that Howard Hughes used to produce this extravagance.
Great efforts have also been made to make contemporary aircraft look good enough as real ones when flying in line or lining up for take-off, even making a Jenny Curtiss look like an Avro 504.
Although there is very little talk about aviation in this film, this little one is remarkable. The studio work done with Zeppelin is amazing, better than many of today's special effects. Monumental battle scenes have been incorporated into dozens of other films and are still stolen today for use in documentaries.
So, despite its many flaws (terrible actors, bad story, insufficient flight scenes), Hell's Angels is an inevitable choice for this TOP 10.
5. Strategic Air Command (1955)
The aerial frames of the Convair B-36 and Boeing B-47 aircraft in Strategic Air Command are probably the most beautiful ever filmed.
Jimmy Stewart is especially good in scenes where he is supposed to fly. His realistic manner - no sudden movements of the sleeve. We could say that he is an experienced pilot. He sits down and looks at the instruments, making small adjustments and giving the impression that he knows exactly what he is doing.
Beirne Lay's story and script are adequate, except that it offers June Allyson the opportunity to be a wife who doesn't understand her husband's love for flying.
6. The Blue Max (1966)
What, another World War I movie? Well, yes, "The Blue Max" is the first color aviation film from World War I. We owe a lot to Jack D. Hunter, the author of the novel on which the film is based, who died in 2009.
The lines built for the film are adequate - it's worth seeing any Pfalz in flight. The cinematography is superb. George Peppard plays his usual role with the face that does not convey anything, but Ursula Andress compensates by the excellent acting game.
7. Battle of Britain (1969)
The massive effort to gather the necessary number of hurricanes, Messerschmitts, Spitfires and Heinkels, was worth it, and the special effects are not bad for that time. All fans know that Messerschmitts and Heinkels were the former Spanish air force, powered by Merlin engines, but no one bothers.
The cast is spectacular, and the producers had the good taste and common sense to cast Laurence Olivier as Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding.
The story is based on a spectacular novel, "The narrow margin", Written by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster.
Ground scenes were filmed in Duxford, contributing to the overall realism. In fact, they burned down a World War II hangar for the movie - that gets a little too realistic.
8. The Dam Busters (1955) and 633 Squadron (1964)
These two films are put together, as they represent a time when good and patriotic aviation films were made in the UK, using real planes and decent special effects.
The number of Lancaster and Mosquitos aircraft made available to manufacturers was limited, but in the case of "The Dam Busters", some good wartime films were released.
Anyone who knew the inventor of the "bouncing bomb" Barnes Wallis, laughed a little at the portrait of Michael Redgraves, but Richard Todd was perfect for the role of Guy Gibson.
In "633 Squadron", Cliff Roberston did his usual job, no doubt enjoying the chance to be around the "mosquito".
9. The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954)
"Where do you get these men from?" it's, I think, the question Fredric March asked at the end of the film, and in a way, it really defines the message of the film.
The maneuvering of World War II aircraft was a difficult operation, at best, and its realization in the prevailing conditions in Korea made it even more difficult.
While the film does not describe the accident rate as it was at the time, it conveys the constant danger and courage that the pilots needed to make the missions really tough.
10. The High and the Mighty (1954)
Another aviation film directed by William Wellman, starring the great Ernest Gann - who wrote not only the book on which it is based, but also the screenplay. The result is a film about an air disaster, but of the best quality. Gann has a solid role, influenced by a good cast and a credible ending that even Sully Sullenberger would approve.
There are old films, historical films, which covered the evolution of aviation. What aviation and aviation movies have you seen and recommended?