1941 (1979). Steven Spielberg directs this riotous farce depicting the hysteria of a cross section of Los Angeles citizens following the bombing of Pear Harbor. The film is loosely based on a true event in which a Japanese submarine surfaced off the California coast, setting off a brief wave of panic.
633 Squadron (1973). A WWII Royal Air Force squadron prepare for an important and dangerous mission…to demolish a Nazi-run munitions factory deep in the fjords of Norway–an installation which is a source of fuel for German rocket-launching. Based on the novel by Frederick E. Smith.
Above and Beyond (1953). Robert Taylor (“Ivanhoe”) delivers a powerful performance as the pilot of the Enola Gay who dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Troubled by his actions, he struggles to cope with his guilt and his marriage. Based on the true story of Col. Paul Tibbets.
Above and Beyond (2006) is a Canadian mini-series about the Atlantic Ferry Operation during World War II. Richard E. Grant (Gosford Park), Jason Priestley (Beverly Hills, 90210), Ken Welsh (The Aviator) and Joss Ackland (Asylum) as Winston Churchill. ….
Aerial Gunner (1943) has two Air Force fliers (Chester Morris, Richard Arlen) who are rivals for the same woman (Lita Ward) put aside their differences during a battle in the South Pacific. .
Air Force (1943) has oscar-nominee and Golden Globe-winner Arthur Kennedy stars in this exciting action/adventure about a bomber crew that arrives in Pearl Harbor in the aftermath of the Japanese attack and is sent on to Manila to help with the defense of the Philippines.
Angel of the Skies (2013). Determined to join the fight against Nazi Germany, Earl Kirk (Nicholas van der Bijl), a young South African pilot, leaves his pregnant fiancé and volunteers to serve in the Royal Air Force. While in combat, Kirk and his crew come under relentless attack and are forced to parachute into Nazi occupied territory. There, the surviving men battle to complete their mission while being pursued by a vengeful German SS Officer who will stop at nothing to find, capture and kill them all.
Appointment in London (1953) has a grounded British wing commander (Dirk Bogarde) that tries to make sure his men concentrate only on their job and so keeps women away from the base, but then he himself meets naval officer Eve Canyon. He then risks court-martial to make his 90th bombing run over Germany.
Battle of Britain (1969) is a seminal moment in World War II when Britain must rally his outnumbered pilots against Hitler’s feared Luftwaffe. Besieged by German bombing runs, the Brits counter with an aggressive air campaign of their own.
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) is at the end of World War II, with Fred Derry (Dana Andrews), Al Stevenson (Fredric March) and Homer Parrish (Harold Russell) returning home to Boone City. The three men share first a plane trip then a cab ride and become friends while they adjust to life after the war.
Bombardier (1943) is set after Pearl Harbor, and America prepared to fight for its life. In mere weeks, millions of civilians from farmers to bellhops were turned into battle-ready gunners, commandos, Seabees, pilots and bombardiers.
Canal Zone (1942) is a World War II action film filled with drama and romance. Hamilton runs a U.S. Army training ground for bomber pilots near the Panama Canal, but he hasn’t had a pilot like Ames, a reckless but qualified flyer who makes life hard for Hamilton. Also featuring Lloyd Bridges (Airplane!).
Captain of the Clouds (1942) has James Cagney (“Yankee Doodle Dandy”) in this WWII adventure about a mail flyer who joins the Royal Canadian Air Force for fun but finds himself having to prove his worth when he goes to war. Co-starring Dennis Morgan (“The Great Ziegfeld”) and Brenda Marshall (“The Sea Hawk”).
Catch-22 (1970) is Mike Nichols superbly directed cinematic adaptation of Joseph Heller’s scathing black comedy, the tale of a small group of flyers in the Mediterranean in 1944. There are winners and losers, opportunists and survivors. Separately and together, they are nervous, frightened, and often profane.
China Doll (1958) is a perfect example of what critic Andrew Sarris once referred to as Borzage’s films about war as an intrusion on the emotional privacy of lovers. A climactic scene set at an Air Force base under attack by Japanese pilots is one of the most powerful and poignant wartime visions in American cinema.
Command Decision (1949) takes on the kind of questions that Hollywood could never have raised during the war–questions about the cruel responsibilities of command, including the responsibility to spend a great many lives to save thousands more in the future.
The Dam Busters (1955) is a much-loved British classic. Michael Anderson’s 1954 drama captures the tension and bravery of an audacious raid on the centre of Nazi Germany’s industrial complex, and the quintessentially English combination of inventiveness and dogged determination.
Dangerous Moonlight (1941). A concert pianist refuses to leave Poland when the Germans invade. Only the fast thinking of his friends who trick him into leaving the country saves his life. Pursuing his concert career in New York, and then marrying, he travels to England to join a Polish Air Force squadron.
Desperate Journey (1942). A Royal Air Force bomber crash-lands in Germany. The surviving crew, led by Flight Lt. Terry Forbes (Errol Flynn) and including Johnny Hammond (Ronald Reagan) and Jed Forest (Arthur Kennedy), flee the plane as it explodes, but German soldiers capture them and place them in a prison camp.
The Devil’s General (1955) is loosely based on Ernst Udet. A German General is devoted to his country and military duties, and his charismatic personality makes him loved by many. He faces opposition from the Gestapo, who feel he is anti-Nazi.
Dive Bomber (1941). Fred MacMurray and Errol Flynn star in this exciting action/adventure about a crusading scientist who fights to prevent bomber pilots from blacking out. Well-made, with great flying sequences. This film was released just months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Eagle Squadron (1942). Eager to participate in the war, Americans Chuck Brewer (Robert Stack) and Johnny Coe (Leif Erickson) join the British Royal Air Force and are assigned to an American unit, Eagle Squadron, under the command of Paddy Carson (John Loder). …
Eagles Over London (1969). During World War 2, a German undercover unit infiltrates British lines during the evacuation of Dunkirk, 1939. Hollywood legends star as military officers pursuing this team of Nazi saboteurs through war-ravaged London, as it works to disrupt R.A.F. operations during the Battle of Britain.
Enola Gay: The Men, the Mission, the Atomic Bomb (1980) is a history lesson in the form of a TV movie that tells the story about the decision to drop the atom bomb towards the end of the second world war, the secrecy surrounding the mission, and the men who were called to carry it out. …
The Eternal Sea (1955) is based on the true story of Rear Admiral John M. Hoskins (Sterling Hayden) who fights to stay in the fight after losing a leg on an aircraft carrier in the Battle of Leyte Gulf during in the Battle of the Pacific during World War II. .
Fighter Attack (1953) is about an Italian freedom fighter (Joy Page) and her leader (J. Carrol Naish) that help an Allied squadron leader (Sterling Hayden) find a Nazi supply dump during the Italian Campaign during the second world war.
Fighter Squadron (1948) has thunderous sky battles with actual wartime footage. Edmond O’Brien portrays Hardin, who tempers his flyboy recklessness when the men of the squadron are entrusted to his leadership.
Flat Top (1952). An aircraft carrier flight-group commander (Sterling Hayden) pits his pilots against Japanese Zeros.
Flight Command (1940). Straight out of flight school, Ensign Alan Drake plans to arrive at his assigned San Diego naval post with a flourish but is forced to eject due to dense fog, hardly making a good impression. Drake’s squadron, led by Cmdr. Billy Gray (Walter Pidgeon), puts up with his less than stellar contributions.
Flying Leathernecks (1951). John Wayne is a no-nonsense WWII squadron leader whose unforgiving style clashes with that of his fellow officer, Robert Ryan. But when called into action over Guadalcanal, he bravely leads his men to victory and earns the respect of all. Outstanding aerial combat footage.
Flying Tigers (1942). John Wayne adds luster to this early WWII film about the famous P-40 Flying Group who soared into battle against the Japanese in defense of China’s freedom.
For the Moment (1993). A pre-superstardom Russell Crowe brings enough leading-man wattage to this modest Canadian drama to light all of Manitoba. An Australian pilot training in 1942 Manitoba has an affair with a local farm girl whose husband is away at war.
Fortress (2012). Based on actual events. When the commander of the crew of a B17 Flying Fortress bomber is killed in action in a raid over Sicily in 1943, his replacement, a young naive pilot struggles to be accepted by the plane’s already tight-knit Irish American crew.
God is my Co-Pilot (1945) is an enormously popular World War II-era spirit-lifter based on the bestseller by fighter pilot Col. Robert Lee Scott, Jr. An inexperienced “textbook pilot” who asks to fly with the all-volunteer, battle-seasoned Flying Tigers headed by Gen. Claire Chennault.
A Guy Named Joe (1943). When adventurous World War II bomber pilot (Spencer Tracy) dies in an aerial attack after ordering the crew to safety, he meets “the General,” who assigns Pete to return to earth as a guardian angel for a new pilot (Van Johnson).
Hanover Street (1979). A courageous American bomber pilot, and a British nurse accidentally meet during an air raid and fall instantly in love. Committed to an assignment, David asks her to meet him two weeks later in spite of the fact that she is married.
International Squadron (1941). An American daredevil pilot played by Ronald Reagan delivers a bomber to England and joins the Royal Air Force.
Journey Together (1945). A tribute to the RAF with several actual members of the Royal Air Force and The Royal Canadian Air Force playing key roles in the film. The story traces the lives of two flyboys, from their basic training to a hazardous bombing mission.
The Lion Has Wings (1939). RAF squadron leader W.C. Richardson, his wife and a relative, placidly ignore the military rumblings from Nazi Germany in the late 1930s. Only after the German takeover of Austria, Czechoslovakia and the invasion of Poland do the Richardsons accept that there must be war.
Malta Story (1953). During World War II, British photo-reconnaissance pilot discovers that the Italians are planning a secret invasion of Malta, a strategically important island nation critical to keeping the Allied supply lines open. Peter and his commanding officer, resolve to fight off the enemy and save the island.
Memphis Belle (1944). Documentary about the 25th and last bombing mission of a B17, the “Memphis Belle”. The “Memphis Belle” took part in a great bombing raid on sub-pens in Wilhelmshafen, Germany.
Memphis Belle (1990). This film re-creates the actual events of the team of men who flew dangerous missions over Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II. They flew one of America’s giant B-17 flying fortresses known as “Memphis Belle”.
Midway (1975). The battle of Midway sounded its furious thunder in June, 1942, just six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Midway interweaves the dramatic personal stories of the men who fought the courageous battle that was to be the Pacific turning point for the United States.
Mosquito Squadron (1969). David “Scotty” Scott is shot down over France and thought to be dead. His best friend, Quint, takes his place not only as leader but also in the arms of Scott’s wife. Quint is to lead an attack where Allied soldiers are being held. Quint realizes that Scotty is alive and being held in his bombing target.
Murphy’s War (1970). Irish merchant seaman Murphy (Peter O’Toole) is the sole survivor of a World War II German U-boat attack in tropical waters. Picked up by a French oil engineer, he is taken to a native village hospital. Upon recovering, he learns about a downed seaplane which he repairs and learns to fly.
Never So Few (1959). Frank Sinatra told the director to give the newcomer a break. John Sturges (The Great Escape) obliged, providing favorable camera angles for Sinatra’s young co-star. McQueen plays Bill Ringa, one of the O.S.S. combatants harassing the enemy in World War II Burma.
One of Our Aircraft is Missing (1942). On its way back from a raid on Germany, a British bomber is shot down over Nazi-held Holland. Parachuting into Dutch farmlands under cover of darkness, the crew connects with members of the local resistance, as they make their way towards freedom.
Operation Crossbow (1965). Action-packed story of a small group of military agents who are ordered to blow up a secret Nazi missile facility during WWII. Fast-paced explosive thriller stars George Peppard, Trevor Howard, John Mills and Sophia Loren.
Piece of Cake (1988). Piece of Cake marks the coming of age of young men prepared to die for their country. Whatever their own personal qualities, there are heroes in abundance and a rich cross-section of characters from the pilots-to the back-up team at base. The other heroes are the planes themselves.
Purple Heart (1944). In 1942, Air Force Capt. flies his B-25 bomber and crew during a crucial bombing raid on Tokyo, but their plane is shot down and they parachute into Japanese captivity. The tight-knit crew are put through an illegal civil trial before a triumvirate of Japanese judges.
The Purple Plain (1955). Canadian Royal Air Force pilot Forrester (Gregory Peck) is a loner whose bravery can’t cover a streak of reckless instability. When his actions cause an injury, he is nearly transferred, but Dr. Harris (Bernard Lee) recommends pulling him from duty, due to the emotional trauma he’s suffered.
Reach for the Sky (1957). This is the remarkable true story of Douglas Bader, a pilot in the RAF who overcomes every obstacle to prove his worth. He is a young and ambitious pilot who, after a plane crash, is badly injured. Although doctors expect him to die, he survives but loses both his legs.
Red Tails (2012). Academy Award® Winner Cuba Gooding Jr. and Academy Award® Nominee Terrence Howard lead a powerful ensemble cast in this high-flying epic inspired by the real-life adventures of the first African-American combat unit to serve in World War II.
The Sea Shall Not Have Them (1954). A Royal Air Force bomber is forced to crash-land in the North Sea. An air-sea rescue ship is ordered to rescue the flyers. They battles rough seas and engine failure in a race against time to save the freezing airmen as their dinghy drifts toward the occupied Netherlands.
Sink the Bismarck (1960). Based on the true story of the hunt for the Nazi super-battleship Bismark, this film follows the valiant attempts of the British Admiralty’s chief of operations, Captain Jonathan Shepard, and his team as they gather intelligence and launch an offensive against the dreaded German juggernaut.
Sky Commando (1953). In the skies over Germany during World War II, an Air Force reconnaissance group is driven hard by Col. Ed Wyatt. War correspondent Jo McWethy learns that Wyatt’s men blame Wyatt for the death of his previous co-pilot, as she becomes friendly with the dead man’s replacement, Lt. Hobson Lee.
Stairway to Heaven (1946). A WWII British pilot miraculously survives a crash and goes on to fall for American WAC Kim Hunter. When a brain injury suffered in the accident leaves Niven near death, his spirit is summoned before a heavenly court where he pleads to be allowed to return to Earth.
Star of Africa (1957). Robert and Jochen are sent off to Africa as fighter pilots. Jochen is on his way to becoming a hero thanks to his numerous kills and fearless maneuvers. Much honored by Hitler, he falls in love with Brigitte and it isn’t long before Jochen is asking himself what the whole point of the War is about.
Target For Tonight (1941). Following a unit of soldiers from the Royal Air Force, director Harry Watt captures from beginning to end the undertaking of a British mission to bomb a strategic German facility during World War II.
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944) is about Doolittle’s impossible one-way flight by launching fully loaded bombers for the first time ever from the deck of an aircraft carrier and landing in China.
This Man’s Navy (1945). Hotshot navy pilot Ned Trumpet has been known to tell a lot of tales about his war exploits, but no stories are greater exaggerations than those about his son, because Trumpet is childless. Unusual movie in that the flying is focused on blimps.
The Thousand Plane Raid (1969). An American serving at a Royal Air Force base in England, has a grand military dream: a risky plan to send a fleet of 1,000 bombers to a German airplane factory as a strategic strike. He badgers his commanding officers until he has his way, losing friends and alienating people as he goes.
Thunder Birds (1942). During World War II, British medic Peter Stackhouse follows in his late father’s footsteps by joining the Royal Air Force, in spite of his crippling fear of heights. Stackhouse finds a friend and willing mentor in flight instructor Steve Britt, who helps him to overcome his fears.
Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970). Tora! Tora! Tora! is the Japanese signal to attack – and the movie meticulously recreates the attack on Pearl Harbor and the events leading up to it. Opening scenes contrast the American and Japanese positions.
The Tuskegee Airmen (1995). The story of the ‘fighting 99th’–the first squadron of African American U.S. Army Air Corps fighter pilots in WWII. Laurence Fishburne stars in this thrilling HBO Original Movie.
Twelve O’Clock High (1949) stars Gregory Peck as a callous general who assumes command of a bomber squadron based in England. The film is used widely as a study in leadership.
Wake Island (1941). In the weeks before the Pearl Harbor attack, the Marines stationed on Wake Island have grown accustomed to a leisurely attitude. All that changes when newly appointed Maj. Geoffrey Caton (Brian Donlevy) arrives to whip the men into shape — until the Japanese strike.
The War Lover (1962). In World War II, American bomber pilots Capt. Buzz Rickson (Steve McQueen) and 1st Lt. Ed Boland (Robert Wagner) are stationed at a military base in England. Buzz is a hotshot pilot who consistently demonstrates great bravery — if not outright cockiness — in air combat.
The Way to the Stars (1945). (aka Johnny in the Clouds) RAF Bomber flight leader David Archdale (Michael Redgrave) masks his concern over his possible fate from his wife, Toddy (Rosamund John). Young pilot Peter Penrose (John Mills) arrives at the base, and his enthusiasm soon dims as the war takes its toll.
We’ve Never Been Licked (1943). WWII morale film for Texas A&M graduates fighting overseas. Young Brad Craig enters the military school with a chip on his shoulder which Mitchum and other upperclassmen quickly knock off. Expelled for spying, an officer’s son goes to Tokyo and redeems himself in battle.
Wild Blue Yonder (1951) is directed by Allan Dwan. The film stars Wendell Corey, Vera Ralston,Forrest Tucker and Phil Harris. Wild Blue Yonder deals with the Boeing B-29 Superfortress air raids on Japan during World War II.
A Wing and a Prayer (1944). Flight Cmdr. Bingo Harper (Don Ameche) is trying to get pilots like ex-film star Ens. Hallam “Oscar” Scott (William Eythe) up to snuff, as he and fellow Naval officers work to defeat the Japanese during World War II. The Americans ultimately control the air, but not without paying a dear price.
Winged Victory (1944). Pinky Scariano is an Ohio barber who, with his closest buddies, Alan and Frankie, longs for the day he will be flying planes for the U.S. armed services. But the five men are ill-prepared for the rocky road ahead, and each must face his own unique battle in the journey to earn his stripes.
The Wings of Eagles (1957). Frank “Spig” Wead is a pilot trying to improve the Navy’s aviation program. On the night he decides to spend more time with his family, Spig falls down the stairs and breaks his back. During his recovery, buddy “Jughead” Carson convinces Spig to start writing pro-military films.
Wings Over the Pacific (1943). A Navy pilot (Edward Norris) and a Nazi pilot disturb a World War I veteran (Montagu Love), his daughter (Inez Cooper) and natives. The Nazis plot to take over an island in the Pacific on which oil has been discovered.
A Yank in the RAF (1941). The story of a naïve young soldier’s transformation into a committed patriot, Henry King’s wartime romance follows American pilot Tim Baker (Tyrone Power), who somewhat impulsively joins Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force in Britain.
You Came Along (1945). A doomed pilot (Robert Cummings) falls in love with his guide (Lizabeth Scott) while travelling the country on a war-bond sales tour with his buddies.