bombing of German industry by Allied heavy bombers during the Second
World War crippled the Nazi war machine and made it very difficult
for Berlin to maintain supplies for its armies.
plants, machine works, smelters and arms factories all copped a
fearful pummelling as hundreds of planes dropped tonnes of high
explosive on to them.
daylight strategy was very successful, but at a huge cost. Hundreds
of thousands of airmen lost their lives as the Germans tried, with
increasing ferocity, to shoot down the lumbering bombers that often
were forced to attack with no fighter escort.
Belle follows the last mission of a B-17 Flying Fortress crew
as it prepares to finish its 25-mission tour and return to America.
young men of the crew are eager to get out of the war but each realises
that anything can happen on the final run and tries not to think
of the next target.
are hoping for a milk run over occupied France, but instead draw
the short straw of a highly dangerous strike on Bremen - a German
city heavily defended by anti-aircraft guns and beyond the range
of Allied fighters.
first 40 minutes of this engaging war movie focuses on the members
of the crew and the pressures each face. It also shows the camaraderie
that has built between the diverse personalities during their 24
missions together and really draws you into caring for them.
Modine is the do-it-by-the-book pilot, Eric Stoltz is the communications
operator, Billy Zane a Clark-Gable lookalike bomb aimer, DB Sweeney
the navigator and Tate Donovan the resentful co-pilot. Other flight
members are excellent, as are David Strathairn as the airbase's
commanding officer and John Lithgow as the non-thinking military
take-off Memphis Belle really begins to build pace and it's
action aplenty as German fighters and flak guns try to bring down
as many of the heavily armed bombers as they can.
action scenes are terrific and the various ways the aircrews could
die show why so many perished in wartime. It is tension to the max
and the final 20 minutes of the movie will have you sweating in
Memphis Belle was a little hit and miss. The close ups inside
the planes were stunning, with peeling paint and scratch marks evidence
of razor sharpness, but there were times during the long shots when
it seemed to be lacking body and contrast.
to not get hold of a copy of this exceptional tale on those grounds
would be doing adventure/action lovers a disservice.
is one of the best war movies made and will have you hanging up
your parachute and just staying strapped in for the ride.