Movie "Flyboys"

I wasn't sure where to post this, so I stuck it here. I saw the movie this weekend and thought I would recommend it for anyone who is interested in learning more about WW1 Aviation history.


The movie follows a group of new American recruits who join the French Air Force during the middle of WW1. This was before the United States decided to enter the war. The Americans were grouped together into one squadron named the Lafayette Escadrille.

The movie bases a lot of the story on historical facts. Oddly, they change the names of the men, I guess, in order to be able to create a story around each one. For example, one of the recruits is a Afro-American who was in England boxing when he joined. This is based on a real person but they changed his name. (I think it was George Bullard/Bullock).

The recruits come from a wide background: Texas rancher, a rich son, the son of a long line of soldiers and a religious person. It does cover the early rudimentary training but not near as much as it could. They train under the watchful eye of a French Captain but are chastised by the top American ace. After training, they are then given the Nieuport 17 fighter aircraft, which was new according to the movie. In their first combat, they suffer heavy casualties and a grudge develops with the nasty German ace flying a black Fokker Triplane.

While on a joy ride, the star of the movie and another pilot, crash land their 2-seater. The star meets a young French girl, whom he tries to befriend, even though they can not understand each other. He discovers that she lives with her brother's wife and 3 orphaned children. The side-plot of the movie is this relationship.

There are several big dog-fights that lead up to a final combat with the black Baron and involves an attack on a German Zeppelin. Then as a finale, they have to re-fly their first mission, which is a big success.


Historical context is good. Uniform details, aircraft details and such. I tried to place the movie in a specific date but that is asking too much of Hollywood. For example, I don't think the recruits would have been given the newest and hottest airplane just after their solo flight. And these recruits came into the unit that was already established, so the Nieuport 17s were either already there or they would have worked up to them.

The planes were cool. There was a lot of CGI--computer generated imagery. There was a variety of Allied planes: Sopwith 1-1/2 Strutter and an SE-5 on the same base(that a/c looked to be 1/2 scale). All the German planes red Fokker Dr-1 Triplanes, except the black Baron. In reality, there were very few all-red planes. Even the Red Baron flew 6 or 7 a/c and only 2 or 3 were painted all red; one was half red.

Some planes were definately fiber-glass copies. When viewed from the front, many of them had a droop of the aft wing-tip, which wasn't normal. The close-up scenes in front of the cowling revealed what looked like an molded engine: you could see only half of the engine pistons set into a blank background. Those engines should have been rotary with the pistons completely free of the firewall. Also, in one scene the actors got out of the cockpit and the brace wires bounced like a loose clothes line. However, I have to say there were some things that were exact. In one close up of the Nieuport, you could see the control rods moving. These came up thru the cockpit from the floor to the top wing where it moved the control horns for the ailerons.


Overall, I thought the action and the plot was great. A good piece of history but don't take it as all truth.





Wow, excellent synopsis. I love when you go into detail and I think that everyone else on the forum appreciates all the time and efforts that you put into your posts.


We also want to see Flyboys. It looked great to us! :pdt34::pdt34:

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

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