The 10 Best Aviation Movies Ever
Aviation has a long history in movies, dating back to 1927 with Wings and 1930 with Hell’s Angels. Throughout history, airplanes have played a large role in movies whether they’re central to the story plot, used for transportation or simply in the background flying overhead.
In no particular order, we’ve compiled what we feel are ten of the best aviation movies of all times.
1. Top Gun – Directed by Tony Scott, the 1986 drama takes you back to school and into the classroom with Tom Cruise as Maverick. Maverick competes with the other students to be the best in the elite Naval flying school while taking a few lessons from Charlie (played by Kelly McGillis), the civilian instructor.
2. The Aviator – The 2004 film directed by Martin Scorcese stars Leonardo DiCaprio in a biographical drama following the true life and career of director and aviator Howard Hughes from the late 1920s to the mid-1940s. The movie follows the true story of Hughes as a movie producer and aviation pioneer, all the while struggling with severe Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
3. The Blue Max – In the 1966 war drama directed by John Guillermin, you’re taken back to 1918 where a young German air force pilot, Bruno Statchel, does everything in his power to earn the most honored medal – the Blue Max – for shooting down 20 aircraft. He is successful on his first mission but it doesn’t count since there were no witnesses. After a long battle of proving himself, Statchel is finally awarded the medal.
4. Air Force One – Wolfgang Peterson directs the 1997 film in which the President of the United States of America (played by Harrison Ford), along with his wife and daughter, are taken hostage aboard the President’s own plane, Air Force One.
5. Twelve O’Clock High – Directed by Henry King in 1949, the movie uses real combat footage as General Frank Savage takes command of a struggling bomber unit in the US Army’s Eighth Air Force and whips them into shape. The movie is based on the novel, 12 O’Clock High, written by Sy Bartlett and Beirne Lay, Jr. in 1948.
6. Flyboys – The 2006 action adventure directed by Tony Bill takes you on a wild adventure with the Lafayette Escadrille – the young Americans who joined the French military prior to World War I in order to become the nation’s first fighter pilots.
7. 633 Squadron – Directed by Walter E. Grauman in 1964, the British war drama will take you on a nearly impossible mission with the squadron assigned to bomb a German rocket fuel plant in Norway during World War II. The storyline for the movie is based on the novel, 633 Squadron, written by Frederick E. Smith in 1956.
8. Tora! Tora! Tora! – The 1970 action adventure directed by Richard Fleischer and Kinji Fukasaku follows the Japanese attack on the U.S. base at Pearl Harbor. The movie retraces the events that led up to the attack and how it was allowed to happen while telling both sides of the story simultaneously.
9. Battle of Britain – Directed by Guy Hamilton in 1969, the Battle of Britain is an action drama air battle with the British Air Force defending their air space from Nazi Germany. This movie is an entertaining and accurate historical account for all ages.
10. Airplane! – In the outrageous 1980 comedy full of parody and satire, directeors Jim Abrahams and David Zucker take you aboard an unfortunate airline where the entire airplane crew becomes ill with food poisoning. The only person who can safely land the plane is an ex-pilot who happens to be terrified of flying.
Some of these you’ve probably already seen. For those you haven’t, be sure to check them out – we hope you’ll be as entertained as we were.
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