Synopsis: Before the United States enters World War I, some American youths volunteer for the French military. Subsequently, they become the first U.S. fighter pilots and form a squadron known as the Lafayette Escadrille, whose exploits and heroism become the stuff of legend. This fictional version follows a laconic Texas rancher, an eager Nebraska kid, a Black boxer already in France, and a New York swell, as they arrive green for training, get their baptism by fire when German planes ambush them on their first mission, and graduate to heroics. Rawlings, the Texan, falls in love with a young woman he meets at a brothel.
Director(s): Tony Bill
Production: MGM
  2 wins & 3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
140 min

With over a million casualties

from the Battle of Verdun alone,

the death toll continues to climb.

Never before has the battlefield

been so vast

and never before has the fighting

been so gruesome.

Whether on the ground

in brutal trench warfare

or high, high in the skies above them,

millions of young soldiers continue to die

with no end in sight.

It seems as though the German aggressors

cannot be stopped as the Allied nations

valiantly fight to survive.

The Great War rages on.

Hello, Blaine.

You're not gonna give me any problems,

are you?

Got no quarrel with you. Just that banker.

You broke up Sandford's face pretty good.

He's looking to see you in jail.

He had it coming.

I got a bench warrant for your arrest.

I'm gonna give you half an hour

before I serve it.

If I were you, I'd get out of town.

Way out of town.

Fear continues to grow that

without the United States' intervention,

France could soon fall.

Despite President Wilson's refusal

to enter the conflict,

some determined young Americans

have volunteered to join the fray anyway.

Using the latest in flying war machines,

the French have created a new

airborne combat unit just for these Yanks.

From all over,

American boys are making their way

across the Atlantic to learn how to fly.

Good luck, son.

I'll try to bring home a couple of medals

like you and Grandpa.

We'll march together

in the 4th of July parade,

you'll see.


Don't worry, Mom. I got the Jensen blood.

Haven't made the bullet yet

that's stronger than that.

I'm gonna miss you so much.

Write me every day, okay?

All aboard!

I will.

I'll be fine. Don't worry.

I love you, Laura.



I'm gonna learn to fly airplanes.

Come on, now.


Thank you so much.

- Please take great care of them.

- Yes, sir.

Well, you should have

everything you need.

Thank you, Father.

I've made arrangements

to come to Paris in the fall.

- I may come and see you then.

- Yes, Father.

Buck up, my boy.

This noble conflict you're about to enter

is the kind of adventure

that can set one above the herd.

I suppose so.

Damn it, Briggs, have you no enthusiasm

for anything that might distinguish you?

It's quite enough

you've been dismissed from Harvard,

but your continuing lack of direction

has become an embarrassment.

It's time to do something

worthy of your name.

Have you nothing to say?

No, Father.



They said we're supposed to go

to a place on 228 Rue Brion.

That's where we can buy

all our aviator clothes.

I can't understand a word on this map.

Hello? Does anybody here speak English?



Brion. Rue Brion.


Right there. Yeah.

Rue Brion. Do you see it?

Excuse me, sir? We're a little lost, and...


Never mind.


Oh, good Lord.



On your right,

you've got the English squadron.

They fly the Bristol, the Sopwith

and the SE5As.

- This place is really something.

- Have you ever seen anything...

And here is the French detachment.

They fly Nieuport 11s.


How many of you speak French?


Our country has been at war since

we were first attacked three years ago,

and we have lost more than a million

of our young men.


Your country turned its back

on this conflict,

but you have bravely volunteered

to join the fight to preserve freedom.

All right, there is not much more to see,

so let's have eyes forward.

We do not expect you to win the war,

only to do what your conscience

commands and your courage allows.

You will train for two months,

then we'll see which one of you

becomes your squadron's first ace.

That'll be me.

- Who are you?

- Blaine Rawlings.

We arrive in uniform, Mr. Rawlings.

Yeah, I wasn't quite sure

how it all went together.


I see.

So these are the new corpses, huh?

What's this?

We got cowpunchers coming over now?

Yeah, I done some cowboying.

You think a six-shooter's

gonna help you up there?

Well, whatever you were using

didn't seem to do you much good.

He's funny.

I may even come to his funeral.

The Captain bother to tell you

the life expectancy for pilots around here?

It's three to six weeks.

Let me guess, you're here because

you thought it'd be fun to fly airplanes.

Go home while you still can.

Guy sure knows how to make friends.

All his friends are dead.


We're here.

There we are.


This is your quarters.


Soon others from your country

will stay here as well.

I've never seen anything like this

back home. Have you?

As a matter of fact, I have.

Beats the hell out of the infantry.

Frenchies sure put on a nice war.


- Home sweet home.

My, oh, my.


- Careful, you oaf!

- Hey, I'm sorry.

That's a 100-year-old bottle of cognac.

It's worth more than you are.


Your benefactor, William K. Vanderbilt,

has rented this chteau for you.


- MAN:
Oh, my God.

- Rawlings, look out!


Somebody help.

Get this... Get. Get.

- Get.

Whiskey. Come on, get off him.


What's the matter there, cowboy?

Having a little trouble with the dogie?

Whiskey is our squadron mascot.

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Phil Sears

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Flyboys" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 21 Apr. 2024. <>.

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