My Favourite Air Combat/Aviation Movies

I generally enjoy air combat movies. Like sniper and bomb squat movies. They are among my guilty pleasure war movies. Can´t help it. That is why there are some air combat movies in my little list that  experts would never allow in theirs. But as I just said, I can´t help it and I also like an occasional bit of pure entertainment. Here are my six favourites:

6. The Blue Max (1966): WWI. Centered on a German fighter pilot who strives for the Blue Max, the highest possible decoration for a German fighter pilot. As he is not an aristocrat like the “normal” fighter pilots he is not accepted by his comrades. (see review)

5. Memphis Belle (1990): WWII. Yes, yes, it is a bit corny and glorifying. So what? I enjoyed it. Story of a tight-knit group of pilots. Friendship, camaraderie and courage.

4. Battle of Britain (1969): WWII. A hymn to British heroism. The use of original languages makes it very authentic. Great and realistic aviation scenes. (Here is my review)

3. The Red Baron (2008): WWI. The story of the Red Baron. German movie. Gorgeous cinematography. Maybe he is shown as too much of a hero. I think we see how he becomes aware of how different the battle in the trenches is from the one high up in the air.

2. The Dam Busters (1955): WWII. I love this one. So exciting. The true story of British pilots on a secret mission to attack German dams. The first part is dedicated to the inventor of the bombs.

1. Dark Blue World aka Tmavomodry svet(2001) : WWII. I consider this to be  the most beautiful air combat movie. It´s a Czech movie and should be much more known. Great story. Czech pilots fly for the RAF. Wonderful pictures. Really moving from the idyllic beginning to the tragic end.

I have seen many more but find them a tad too corny to be included here ( Top Gun, Flight of the Intruder, Pearl Harbor, Flyboys…to name but a few) and there are a lot I have not seen yet.

Which are your favourites? And which are the ones you think I have to watch absolutely?


13 thoughts on “My Favourite Air Combat/Aviation Movies

  1. TPC says:

    To me, it’s a bit similar to the way “Battle of Britain” was made, “Tora, Tora, Tora” of course. Good movie.

  2. warmoviebuff says:

    Interesting list. I am going to look into Dark Blue World. It’s been a long time, but I liked “Aces High” set in WWI. “Bridges at Toko-Ri” is good. I personally do not like “Memphis Belle” because it is inaccurate and cliche-ridden.

    • I am sure you are right about Memphis Belle, people criticize The Red Baron for the same reasons. There are movies I just like even though I would not necessarily say they are very good regarding accuray.

  3. warmoviebuff says:

    I have shown “Memphis Belle” to my Military History class because it has a likeable cast and covers several of the problems air crews faced, but I cringe throughout the movie. The part where the captain has the squadron repeat the bombing run because the target was obscured the first time over is laughable. If he had tried that in reality he would have gotten the crap beaten out of him back at base. You’re trying to survive 25 missions and this dude is going to make you fly through the same flak twice? Are you kidding? Go to the secondary target!

    • I am sure there are moments like that in it. I will be curious to hear what you think of Dark Blue World. I did like Memphis Belle for the group spirit. Often in air combat movie there is one reckless one or two in competition and not much team spirit. The Blue Ma is always praised alot but I couldn’t stand the character of Stachel. He reminded me of Stransky in The Cross of Iron.

  4. warmoviebuff says:

    I will move Dark Blue World to the top of my Netflix queue.

    • I hope you won’t be disappointed. It could be a movie your wife might like as there is a romance in it and it’s beautifully filmed. I especially liked to see this specific view of Czech pilots flying for the RAF and what became of them once back.

  5. warmoviebuff says:

    Have you seen the mini-series “Piece of Cake” about the RAF pre-Battle of Britain? I saw it when it first came out in 1988 on PBS and remember it fondly.

    • I got it but didn’t have the time to watch it. I only hear good things about it. There are quite a few excellent British mini-series. I’m watching danger UXB at present. Will review it shortly.

  6. One movie which rarely gets consideration is the Australian film Breaker Morant. This film is based on the book “Scapegoats of the Empire” and tells the story of Australian troopers during the Boer War who were executed for their success at counter-insurgency operations which threatened to draw Germany into the conflict.

  7. […] Should you be interested here’s my Favourite Air Combat Movies List. […]

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