RR Movies: Aviation

Had RR done Songs About Pretending To Consider All The Environmental Issues And Then Doing The Stupid Thing You Always Planned To Do Anyway, then today’s topic would be obvious (if we hadn’t already used it when China eventually got Hinkley Point). So, just plain Aviation, then….

I’ll kick off with Scorsese’s portrait of Howard Hughes, The Aviator.

What films about being airborne would you recommend?

39 thoughts on “RR Movies: Aviation

  1. When I saw the title of this week’s subject come up, the first thing I thought of was The Aviator but there are so many films about aviation, and that is leaving aside war films like The Battle Of Britain, which actually has a superb soundtrack by Sir William Walton.

    I think that I really have to nom Airplane, surely it is a shoo-in? And don’t call me Shirley!

  2. I’m pretty blank too, all I can think of is “The Dambusters”, which used to be on TV every Christmas along with “The Great Escape”. It was filmed in part at the Upper Derwent Valley which isn’t that far from where I live now – I think it was the test area for the real raids, as well.

  3. Mmmm a bit more tricky than usual so all I can come up with is the Howard Hawks’ classic Only Angels Have Wings, which concerns the near suicidal exploits of a bunch of American pilots that deliver airmail across the Andes back in the 30s, it stars Cary Grant and Jean Arthur and is quite a sad and tragic film !

  4. Having lived through WW2 and still having strong memories of much of it there’s plenty of films that are relevant, they were popular
    propaganda throughout the war and the images stuck to the degree that I was foolish enough to volunteer for RAF flying school as a young man. Fortunately I saw the light in time and withdrew.
    As Ali states, the Dambusters was rehearsed and filmed at Ladybower reservoir, close to where I grew up and often visited. I loved that film. And then there was the Battle of Britain, another obsessive element in my childhood. During the late 60’s I was staying with friends in Suffolk one summer when suddenly I heard a familiar sound, it was a squadron of Spitfires flying overhead; what an amazing experience, I hadn’t heard anything like that in almost 30 years! In the local paper I saw an article that stated that they were filming the Battle of Britain nearby, so that became another favorite related to my childhood. If you weren’t there I don’t think that you can understand it, WW2 was a very personal experience and I understand those who say ‘I wish you’d shut up and quit going on about it’.
    So I’ll settle for those two plus I’ll add ‘Target for Tonight’ and ‘One of our Aircraft is Missing ‘ and I’ll add the American film ‘Memphis Belle’, truly one of the greatest depictions of ‘what it was really like to fly in a B17 for several hours over enemy territory every night.

  5. I quite liked the first Airport film. And Flight Into Danger/Runaway Zero Eight. Among recent films – United 93 and Neerja, about the stewardess on the Abu Nidal hijacked Pan Am flight. Both bio-pics and even quite good, though we know the end. Sully is just okay though.

    • I love that film and have fond memories of it. I’m 5 years older than my brother and it was the first time if fine to v the cinema without my parents. I took him. I was 14. It’s so sad at the end tho.

  6. Possibly one of the worst Clint films “Firefox” about a US pilot sent to Russia to steal a prototype helicopter that takes all its commands from the pilot’s thoughts…. Thing is the pilot has to think in Russian. Trying to imagine Clint being fluent enough in Russian to think in it well enough to fly a helicopter is a step too far for me…

    • I remember that one. Based on the books by Craig Thomas featuring a Smiley type of hero, only more tech savvy. I still have a couple of his books around. I can recall Wolfsbane, not much else.

  7. For the child-like amongst us “How to train your dragon” is a great animation all about Viking children choosing dragon eggs to nurture and then training the hatched dragons how to be obedient means of fighting transport. Brilliant. The books are even better.

    • Sarah and Fuel: I don’t know how old your children are, but have you read ‘The D’Evil Diaries’ and ‘Hell’s Belles’ with them? (they fit in here because Lucifer’s youngest son Jinx has small wings that don’t work very well! – they don’t fit in here because they are books not films!). The two books have a young at heart Douglas Adams, Terry Gilliam, Tank Girl attitude – my lad was about ten when we read the first one together, he’s re-read them on his own a few times since. Dead funny, if you have the “How to train your dragon” humour.
      They are Written by Tatum Flynn (tatumflynn.net) – we read it straight after David Almonds’s ‘Skellig’ – another fantastic children’s book that gives you wings. ‘Skellig’ made me want to watch ‘Wings of Desire / Der Himmel über Berlin’ again, straight after finishing it.

      • Cheers. I’m at the library and they have Skillig in Finnish – audio and paper books, no English version. I’ll borrow them very soon

        Just checked the Tatum Flynn site. Ha! Love the opening chapter title: “What’s the Plural of Nemesis, Anyway?” Will read the two chapters he’s put online. Cheers.

      • Hi Shane. My kids are 10 & 13 and have always been really confident readers but they haven’t read the Tatum Flynn books. The younger one would be interested tho so I will check them out. The older one is already reading more mature stuff tbh. He took Iain Banks’ The Wasp Factory on holiday in the summer and loved it. The Wings of Desire is a beautiful film and haunting soundtrack. Do you speak German, Shane?

      • Iain Banks signed my copy of The Wasp Factory to me; your eldest has interesting taste.

        No, I don’t speak German – I’m incredibly dyslexic, some dyslexics find German easier to learn as it’s broken up into usable sections – but for me it was an impenetrable collection of letters bumping into each other… the other problem being that my learning process is based on reading or visual aids. I cannot take in people explaining things to me; I need diagrams and instructions written down. Basically I learn by reading – but can’t read properly!

        I visited Germany a number of times; I was going to take over a record label there with some friends. Original time, was the first weekend that the Berlin wall was breached, when I was 19. It was only 3 years after I had first read a book in English, so the length, and presumed complexity, of the language boggled my brain!
        My two friends – that I shared a house with – would converse in German and I’d answer in English on occasions, but I thought of that the same as the weird phenomenon that I passed my English lit exam at school without ever reading a book. When I went to technical collage it took the English teacher 5 minutes to work out that I’d never been taught any useful techniques to live with my jumbled letters.

        It does mean I’ve never read any children’s literature – so when I found out our first son was going to be born, the German record label idea went out the window and a whole new world of Asterix, Tintin, Moomins etc presented itself.

  8. Films about flying would include: Porco Rosso and The Wind Rises (Hayao Miyazaki – animated by Studio Ghibli) – the Studio Ghibli films usually have amazing flying machines in them – but these two have a very distinct historical aviation bent.

  9. Chris, yes, our work is done.

    My current challenge is called Painting The List Crimson. The Mighty Crim only has four A listers.

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