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An absolutely fabulous film, well acted and full of scary moments for the crew of the Memphis Belle. Near mid air collisions as the crew come under fire from the fighter pilots of the German Luftwaffe on their way to strike a blow to an industrial centre in the Nazi Reich.
Some horribly shocking moments, moving moments and some funny moments, which all fit together really well as we learn about the American crew, not only as individuals, but as fighters who are 'doing their bit' for the English war effort. Heroes on their air base to their comrades, men who never knew if the next moment would be their last, because they had flown 24 missions and were one away from going home.
My boyfriend is very interested in the planes of WW2 and we have visited the RAF Museum in Hendon on numerous occasions, so I had an interesting running commentary about the features of the Memphis Belle, aerodynamics and various other trivia which, far from being annoying, was actually quite interesting.
This DVD is one of what I class as the most moving films of WWII.
It Follows the 10 Man crew of the Memphis Belle, a B-17f Flying Fortress Bomber and the Pressures both Political and Personal involved with them Flying and Completing an important Mission.
It's May 17, 1943 the day before the Memphis Belle's 25th and final mission.
After their final mission, the crew get to go home and because
they would be the first crew to complete 25 missions in the 8th Airforce, there were already plans to make them heroes back home.
But the mission hasn't been flown yet.
With the target being Bremen which was a target saturated with Flak guns, it isn't going to be easy.
With weather, nerves, and dreams all playing a part in the finishing of the mission, the crew has to become the lead plane of the Bomb Group and get the job done of bombing a Nazi Factory that produces parts for the Focke Wulf 190 Fighter, if they get it wrong, many innocent people could be killed as it's in the middle of a residential area and even has a school next door.
OK, where do we start..... that's the opening line of this truly memorable Film.
We meet the Enlisted Crew of the Belle before we meet the Officers who are having Publicity Photos taken and we find out that the B-17 was named after a Woman named Belle that the Captain Dearborn met in Memphis on business, the Furniture Business!
As we learn more about the Personalities and naunces of this crew we see that on the Ground they have nothing in common, but the second they step into Their Sweetheart, they come together as a close-knit family.
At a Party to celebrate the Groups Anniversary a P.R. Officer tries to salute the Belle's crew but it falls on a hushed crowd as they believe it will jinx the mission. At this point the Tailgunner takes the stage and plays the Piano accompanied by a band to the song of "Danny Boy".
The fateful day arrives with a typical message from the Control Room, "Delayed, 9/10ths cloud cover over the Target" so now the crew has to wait by the Belle until Clearance is given.
Soon However we see the Co-Pilot make a heartfelt plea to the Tailgunner as "How many Women are gonna want to know me if I haven't shot down a single Nazi?". The Tailgunner agrees although neither of them know just how tragic this will be.
Soon we get into the Air and after having a Near-Miss with another B-17 the Belle joins the Group and they begin the journey to Nazi Germany.
Not long into the Flight and Luftwaffe Fighters are screaming towards the Formation of Bombers and the Protective Cover "Little Friends" of Mustangs (And Spitfires!!) peel away to keep the bombers free. In the ensueing sequences you see B-17s Blown up, shot down and generally mangled as the Fighters slip between the Bombers with some beautiful flying.
Needless to say but the Belle soon becomes Group Lead and the responsbility of the Bombadier to drop his bombs "In the pickle barrel" (So called because the bombsight was accurate enough to drop a bomb into a pickle barrel!).
On the first pass the Flak started up and the Target was still covered, so the Captain decided they'd go around again! Pure Suicide in most peoples eyes.
At the same time we see the P.R. Officer making the Groups Offices out in Party Decorations to welcome the Belles crew home. When confronted by the Group Commander he states that the Belles crew is important to him!
You then see some genuine wartime footage of B-17s getting shot to ribbons while you hear people reading out their thanks for the Letters they recieved when their loved ones died.
Naturally I'm not going to tell you any more about this Amazing Story..... well, ok, a couple of facts about the film!!
All in all there were only 9 B-17 Flying Fortresses used for this Film. (Regretfully only 8 were left after filming as one crashed in Kent)
The Camera Planes were primarily B-25 Mitchells.
The "Memphis Belle" Aircraft in the Film is Actually the B-17g "Sally B" which is based at Duxford in Cambs.
Matthew Modine .. Capt Dennis Dearborn . Pilot
Tate Donovan .. 1st Lt. Luke Sinclair . Co-Pilot
D.B. Sweeney .. Lt Phil Lowenthal . Navigator
Billy Zane .. Lt Val Kozlowski . Bombadier
Eric Stoltz .. Sgt Danny Daly . Radio Operator
Sean Astin .. Sgt Richard Moore . Ball-Turret Gunner
Harry Connick Jr.. Sgt Clay Busby . Tailgunner
Reed Diamond .. Sgt Virgil Hoogesteger . Top-Turret Gunner
Courtney Gains .. Sgt Eugene McVey . Waist Gunner
Neil Giuntoli .. Sgt Jack Bocci . Waist Gunner
David Strathairn .. Col Craig Harriman . Base Commander
John Lithgow .. Lt. Col. Bruce Derringer. Army P.R.
Written by Monte Merrick
Directed by Micheal Canton-Jones
The Film lasts 103 Minutes and is in PAL Format.
The disk is also Double-Sided!!!
One side being Regular Screen and the B Side Widescreen!
Filmed at Duxford Airfield in Cambs and obviously, In the Air!
This is an amazing film that opens you up to the horrors of conflict and never ceases to make people bite their lips.
A Film I have no grudge about recommending whole-heartedly
No film could ever portray the reality of war in the sky as all hell breaks loose around you on a bombing run, but Memphis Belle manages to get part way there. It conveys quite vividly the thoughts, feelings and foibles of the crew of a Flying Fortress (B52) called that because of the guns protruding from every conceivable place. Based on a true story the Memphis Belle, named after the pilot's girl friend, is set to go on it's 25th and final mission before the crew can be sent home. Having flown 24 missions their chances of survival are very low and because of this the American Air Force is ready to celebrate their return, if they return. The officer getting together the welcome home party is John Lithgow from Third Rock From The Sun fame and I just couldn't help but feel that any moment Sally would put in an appearance. I don't think that anyone could ever imagine the loneliness of the tail gunner, cut off from the rest of the crew except for the intercom. He had the added disadvantage of possibly having his turret shot away leaving him falling into space without a parachute. There is no room in the turret for him and the 'chute. That is the horror and reality of war. Even more so is the plight of the belly gunner in his revolving turret underneath the 'plane. He is sealed in inside his battle station and cannot get out without the help of someone in the 'plane. Not only that but the turret has to come back to one position only so that its hatch lines up with the hole in the B52 before it can be opened. He too has no 'chute with him although he does have a safety harness which restricts his gun operation so he doesn't use it, unless order to. What if the turret is damaged and can no longer turn and a shot up B52 unable to lower its wheels for the landing has to land on its belly? There are many horrifying scenes of battle like when the crew, unable to stop the bleeding of a wounded gunner, seri
ously consider chucking him out with a parachute so that when he lands he will be captured by the Germans and get urgent hospital treatment. Desperate situations need desperate measures. The co-pilot having too flown 24 missions and never fired a gun in anger coerces the tail gunner to let him have a go for a few minutes. He gets his wish and knocks out an ME 109 only to watch in abject horror as he sees it tumble out of the sky and slice through the middle of another B52 sending it plunging earthwards. The blood and guts of a man made hell that is called war is brought into sharp focus by the crew of the Memphis Belle as we fly with them into battle. Never more so than when the Belle is unable to unload her deadly cargo due to cloud cover and the pilot decides to go round again, an action that happened many times in real life. Watch this film and weep for the bravery of the men who flew bombing missions so that you and me can sit here, watch their exploits on the screen and write opinions about them.
~~~~~~~ Background ~~~~~~~ During World War Two, each crew of a B52 bomber, (Flying Fortress) were sent on 25 bombing missions, after which they could return home. 'Memphis Belle' tells the true story of the 'Memphis Belle', which was the first B52 to successfully complete 25 missions. More precisely, the film tells the story of the final mission, a bombing raid over Dresden in Germany. ~~~ Cast ~~~ 'Memphis Belle' features a great cast, including Matthew Modine, Eric Stoltz, Tate Donovan, Billy Zane, Sean Astin, Harry Connick, Jr., John Lithgow and Jane Horrocks. ~~~~~~~ My Opinion ~~~~~~~ Although this film does have some rather predictable elements to it, it tells the story of the 'Memphis Belle' and it's final mission well. The aerial effects are nothing short of spectacular, with several near misses, some crashes, and one scene where the plane is flying through flak. There are some overly sentimental sub plots, such as the dog who supposedly recognises the sound of the engines of the plane his owner is in, but generally the film is great. Unlike many war films it is not overly gory, and does not contain any unsavoury language, so it really is suitable for all ages. A must see for anyone.
Ever wondered what goes through a pilot and his crews mind when they take off to fly over enemy territory on a bombing run, and what would they be thinking if this was their last run which no-one had ever done before. Well this is the movie to watch. It has everything going right for it, it has a great storyline with interesting characters all placed in the one environment and situation. For those action fans out there, have no fear as there is plenty of that also with planes shooting at them and for the special effects, well there is a bit of that also, my favourite scene being a German plane being shot only to slice through a bomber and send it hurtling to its death also. A must see movie.
This film is a true classic. Sure, it's cheesy, but what else would you expect following the disaster of the eighties?... The chesse is, however, moderated by some really emotional stuuf. Profound reditions of W.B.Yeat's poem "An Irish Airman Forsees his Death", with an equally stirring background music of "Amazing Grace" serve to really get the viewer involved. There is a real feeling of cameradery in the film: the diversity of the characters is a welcome break to those in more recent films (e.g. U-571: all chiseled looks and rippling bodies...). At the end, you may question why the almost predictable cheese had such an impact on you... but this is the film's real strength. Cheese that you an believe... Great!
I watched this film when it first came out on TV and loved it ever since. This is a really good film it is fun to watch, Tear jerker(ish), shows you what it was like in the war!! The planes and the acting are worth watching, There won't be a film quite like this in a long time as it is based on a true story. Basically the film shows one crew, the crew of the Memphis Belle, Named after the pilots Girlfriend, Who he met in memphis, With the name Belle, Anyway this crew are set of on there last mission before going home, to Germany to bomb a factory, From which they of course come back form... Great film.
If you've never seen an aviation movie before in your entire life, you'll be blissfully ignorant of the fact that Memphis Belle shamelessly (and yet gloriously) incorporates just about every cliché in the flight-movie handbook. If you're a big fan of aviation films--especially ones about World War II bomber crews--you'll be glad that the genre's clichés have been handled with such professional flair. As it follows the crew of a B-17 bomber on its final and most dangerous mission over Germany, Memphis Belle may be little more than a slick and highly authentic presentation of familiar thrills and characters, but it's a rousing piece of entertainment. Featuring an ensemble cast of fresh faces who've since enjoyed thriving careers (including Billy Zane, Sean Astin, Eric Stoltz, DB Sweeney and Harry Connick Jr.), the movie exists as a fitting tribute to the men who fought and often died in the air over hostile territory. It's the Hollywood version of a 1944 wartime documentary made by legendary director William Wyler (whose daughter served as one of this film's producers), and as such it's a bit contrived and melodramatic. And yet, this exciting movie is almost certain to grab and hold your attention, offering an honourable reminder of the bravery and integrity that were crucial ingredients of any bomber's crew. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com