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"FLYBOYS"
(2006) (James Franco, Martin Henderson) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Heavy Extreme Heavy Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor None Extreme None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Minor Moderate Heavy Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama/Action: A disparate group of Americans volunteers to fly for the French in battling the Germans during WWI.
PLOT:
It's 1916, and America has yet to join the efforts of other countries to defeat Germany in WWI. Yet, a disparate group of Americans volunteers to fly for France's Lafayette Escadrille in combat. Among those reporting to Capt. Georges Thenault is Texas rancher Blaine Rawlings (JAMES FRANCO) whose ranch has just been foreclosed upon, while Briggs Lowry (TYLER LABINE) hopes to impress his arrogant father by joining the cause.

William Jensen (PHILIP WINCHESTER) comes from a long line of fighting men and he feels it's his duty and time to join that, while Eugene Skinner (ABDUL SALIS) is a black American expatriate and current boxer who wants to take advantage of his adopted country's more open policy toward people of his skin color. Then there's wise guy Eddie Beagle (DAVID ELLISON) whose inability to hit targets doesn't bode well for his future.

That's especially true since Thenault informs the rookies that the life expectancy of pilots is just three to six weeks, a point experienced fighter ace Reed Cassidy (MARTIN HENDERSON) can attest to since he's lost all of his friends, many to his arch nemesis, a German pilot known as the Black Falcon. Nevertheless, the men train for their new vocation and soon believe they're ready for combat, although their first encounter with the enemy tests their mettle, although it makes Cassidy and the other veterans more accepting of them.

When Blaine and Eddie crash-land near a local brothel, the former is instantly smitten with French girl Lucienne (JENNIFER DECKER) who he believes works there, but is later relieved to learn that she only lives nearby, caring for her orphaned nephews and nieces. As their relationship flourishes despite neither speaking the other's language, Blaine and the others do what they can to survive their perilous combat missions to defeat the enemy.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're interested in the subject matter or are fans of someone in the cast, it doesn't seem too likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For war action violence and some sexual content.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JAMES FRANCO plays a rancher who joins the squadron after his ranch is foreclosed upon. Cocky yet determined, he clashes with Cassidy and other veterans, although he eventually proves his worth, even when wooing Lucienne.
  • MARTIN HENDERSON plays the battle worn veteran fighter pilot who isn't accepting of the rookies until their first mission and often returns to combat by himself in hopes of engaging and killing his arch nemesis.
  • JENNIFER DECKER plays the local French farm girl who cares for her orphaned nieces and nephews while falling for Blaine despite their differences.
  • JEAN RENO plays the realistic French captain who runs the squadron and hopes to train the American rookies into competent fighter pilots.
  • DAVID ELLISON plays another rookie, something of a wise guy with a poor sense of aim when it comes to flying and shooting.
  • PHILIP WINCHESTER plays his comrade who feels it's his duty to take his place in a long line of family members who've served in the military.
  • TYLER LABINE plays a rich kid who wants to impress his arrogant father, and initially has a racist attitude toward Eugene.
  • ABDUL SALIS plays a black American expatriate and current boxer who wants to take advantage of his adopted country's more lenient attitude toward people of his color by learning how to fly.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a quick look at the content found in this PG-13 rated, action-filled drama. Profanity consists of mild expletives, while some colorful phrases and non-explicit, sexually related dialogue is uttered. Some hookers are seen in a brothel and sex is implied, but none is seen.

    WWI style war footage is present, including various dogfights where pilots in and out of their planes are shot (resulting in death and damage), while other violence includes other killing and some brief fighting. Some of that has bloody results, while those scenes and other moments of peril might be intense or suspenseful for viewers.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes (including racism and war-related violence), while some drink and there's brief smoking. There's brief talk of familial deaths (and one woman is raising her orphaned nieces and nephews), while other war-related thematic elements are present.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's some of that from the flicker of a movie projector.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are some spin around camera shots, as well as some bouncy/shaky camera movement from time to time.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Briggs announces that he has a 100-year-old bottle of cognac that he lifted from his father's stock (he holds the bottle).
  • Various fliers (including Cassidy) drink in the cantina where the new flyboys are told they can't drink until their first kill (in the air).
  • We see liquor bottles in a brothel.
  • We see a wine bottle on a table.
  • Cassidy drinks.
  • Various veteran and new pilots drink in the cantina.
  • Various pilots drink in the cantina, where Blaine and another rookie are invited to join them and drink some hard liquor known as the bottle of death. Blaine takes a swig, but the other rookie says he doesn't drink and doesn't want to, but the others use peer pressure and he takes one swig.
  • Cassidy tells others to get Jensen some bourbon (for dealing with his post-traumatic distress disorder, but we don't see it delivered or consumed).
  • Briggs and Skinner share some hundred-year-old cognac.
  • Blaine has a drink, as does Cassidy.
  • A German infantryman drinks.
  • Jensen drinks from a flask.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Some newsreel footage shows brief views of non-bloody, dead bodies.
  • We see some wounded soldiers in a train station. One is missing an arm, another a leg, and a third has a bandage on his head (all of that dressing has bloodstains on it).
  • We hear the sound of one man urinating in public (we and others see him standing there at the train station, but don't see the actual act).
  • Blaine has a few bloody scrapes on his leg following a crash landing.
  • A pilot is hit in the shoulder and is then seen bloody and unconscious, while another pilot is killed on the ground (no blood, but we see his face and open eyes in close-up on the ground).
  • One flier vomits after some conflict.
  • A pilot is hit in the neck by gunfire (with bloody results).
  • During a dogfight, one shot appears to go out through the top of one German pilot's head (we see a brief spurt).
  • We see some blood when a pilot's hand is purposefully severed (with a shovel) from wreckage to save his life (getting him out of harm's way).
  • Lucienne has some blood on her top after she's shot in the shoulder.
  • A pilot who's shot and killed is bloody, while another mortally wounded one is also rather bloody, including from his mouth.
  • Another dogfight occurs, Blaine is shot in the shoulder (with bloody results) as his plane is riddled with gunfire, but he then flies up next to the enemy and shoots the pilot dead (in midair) with a handgun (with bloody results).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • The Germans are the enemy pilots in the film fighting on the wrong side of the war.
  • We hear that Blaine beat up some guy who he said had it coming, and is to be arrested, but the law enforcement officer gives him 30 minutes to get out of town.
  • About Cassidy's cold demeanor toward them, Blaine says that the guy sure knows how to make friends, with Thenault chiming in that all of Cassidy's friends are dead.
  • Briggs doesn't want to bunk with Skinner (who's black) as he says that would be like staying in the same room with one of his servants. He later makes amends, but only after Skinner saves his life during combat.
  • Grant (another veteran pilot) calls Skinner "chocolate," then "fuzzy" and then rubs his head, prompting the boxer to punch Grant to the floor. Grant then gets up and pushes another flier out of the way in anger.
  • Although he enjoys their company, Eddie has an elitist attitude toward some hookers (including Lucienne who he thinks is one).
  • When pressured, Beagle confesses that he robbed a bank in the past to pay off a bookie, but we hear that he did so with a toy gun.
  • We hear that Skinner joined the U.S. forces once they entered the war, but was not allowed to fly (due to being black).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and/or "Blood/Gore" may be unsettling or suspenseful to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • The new flyboys are told the life expectancy for their kind is three to six weeks.
  • Cassidy's pet lion runs in and jumps on Blaine, but then starts licking him.
  • Blaine is assigned to teach Eddie how to fly and shoot his guns simultaneously, but Eddie tires of that and just goes flying. But they then run out of gas and have to make a crash landing, ramming into a tree (we don't see the impact, and they're okay later other than Blaine has a few bloody scrapes on his leg).
  • The fliers take off on their first mission, seeing explosions on the battlefield below them, while encountering anti-aircraft explosions all around them. German fighters then engage them, exchanging gunfire in a dogfight that has various close calls. One pilot is hit in the shoulder and we then see him bloody and unconscious, while another loses his prop and crash lands, but lives. However, once he's out of the plane, an enemy fighter strafes him on the ground, killing him (no blood, but we see his face and open eyes in close-up on the ground).
  • There's another dogfight where a person is hit along with the plane that then falls apart in midair (we don't see the impact with the ground). Another pilot is hit in the neck (with bloody results), and a French plane explodes in midair when hit. One plane then chases an enemy one low across the ground, with both having to avoid trees and a house along the way.
  • An enemy fighter positions himself behind Blaine who thought he was dead, but the pilot lets him go, saluting him while doing so.
  • We see Jensen suffering from some posttraumatic stress disorder (he's sweaty and shirtless in the hallway, looking all panicked). Cassidy slaps him in an effort to try to snap him out of it, and then tells others to get Jensen some bourbon (we don't see it delivered or consumed).
  • A German plane strafes refugees on the ground, hitting some and causing an explosion. One man is partially on fire, and some French soldiers shoot back, followed by French planes arriving and shooting at them (one plane is hit and the pilot falls out). Other planes on both sides are hit, with one shot appearing to go out through the top of one German pilot's head (we see a brief spurt). Blaine lets an enemy pilot go (who earlier did the same for him), but that plane then goes after another until it's shot down.
  • Beagle's plane comes apart and he crash-lands hard in the middle of a battlefield where infantry from both sides fire at each other, and the enemy shoots at Beagle whose hand is stuck under the wreckage, making him unable to flee. Blaine ends up landing and darting through the battlefield. During this, one soldier is hit by an explosion, another is shot in a trench, and a third is hit and killed trying to help Blaine rescue Beagle. With no alternative, Blaine uses a shovel to cut off Beagle's hand (we see the motion, but not the impact, although we do see some blood). They then run over to their side, avoiding gunfire, with Beagle's plane being hit and then exploding.
  • We see tanks and infantry on the move, and note that Lucienne and the kids are still in their house and thus in harm's way. Blaine then flies in and takes the kids, but must leave Lucienne for the return trip. We then see that she's returned to the farmhouse at night, and she must then sneak out when German infantrymen arrive and start looking around the place. Blaine then returns, she motions for him to be quiet as he approaches, and the two then run back to his plane. But the starting of the engine alerts the Germans who run out and open fire on them and the plane. Lucienne is hit in the shoulder (with bloody results), while Blaine mows down two enemies with the plane's machine guns (no blood). He then flies Lucienne back to the camp and carries her to the medic.
  • The pilots are sent to intercept a German zeppelin and engage in a dogfight with fighters accompanying it. During this, some men inside the zeppelin are hit by a strafing run, while a good pilot is hit and killed by gunfire. Two German fighters are hit, while more dogfighting occurs, with planes being hit and one having its wings torn off by the landing gear of another. A good pilot is shot and mortally wounded, so he flies up high and then crashes down into the zeppelin, resulting in a massive midair explosion.
  • During another dogfight, a good pilot's plane is hit and catches on fire, sending flames toward him in the cockpit. With no other alternative, he pulls out a pistol and commits suicide, but we don't see the actual act or impact. Other planes are then shot and hit, while bombs are dropped with resultant explosions.
  • Another dogfight occurs, first one on one and then three on one. During this, some planes are hit, while two German planes collide in midair. Blaine is shot in the shoulder (with bloody results) as his plane is riddled with gunfire, but he then flies up next to the enemy and shoots the pilot dead (in midair) with a handgun (with bloody results). That enemy plane then crashes and explodes.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Biplanes (with machine guns)/Handguns/Machine guns/Bombs: Used to wound or kill others and/or cause property damage. See "Violence" for details.
  • The flyboys fire machine guns in practice (at practice targets).
  • Cassidy gives his fliers pistols, stating that suicide is the best option if the plane catches on fire as no parachutes are available.
  • There's a 21-gun salute for a downed pilot.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: What sounded like "She's a chippy" (presumably meaning "hooker"), "Beats the hell out of me," "Careful, you oaf," "Shut up," "What the hell?" "Hell no," "Bastards," "So G*ddamn noisy up there," "Screwy," "Scratching fleas on a stuffed dog," "A pompous ass" and "Whorehouse."
  • During training, the flyboys are spun around repeatedly and then try to walk down a straight plank.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of suspenseful, ominous, and action-oriented music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 6 hells, 3 damns, 1 ass and 1 use each of "G-damn" and "Oh good Lord."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • After crash landing, Blaine comes to in a brothel where he's cared for by Lucienne (who we later learn is not a prostitute). We see other hookers there in sexy looking, period bustiers and skirts, etc. but there's no nudity. Blaine then starts to undress for Lucienne (down to his shirt and boxers), but does so in order for her to tend to his slightly injured leg. Eddie then walks in on this and thinks it's the beginning of a sexual encounter. When those two men leave (and Eddie grabs at Lucienne, thinking she's a hooker), others arrive, including Cassidy who walks back to the brothel with his arms around two hookers.
  • We see some close contact between a flier and a hooker in the lobby of a brothel (no nudity, but close body contact).
  • Blaine and Lucienne passionately kiss, but the scene ends there so we don't know what else happens.
  • Thenault states that he's sure one particular pilot would rather be buried behind the "whorehouse."
  • SMOKING
  • A photo of the real pilots shows one with a cigarette, while a miscellaneous German infantryman smokes once.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Briggs' father refers to the war as a noble endeavor, and tells Briggs that it's time he (Briggs) did some worthy of his name (mentioning the young man being kicked out of Harvard).
  • Blaine states he has no next of kin.
  • Lucienne implies that her brother and his wife were killed in an explosion at their house (we see the rubble and two photos of them that Lucienne has put out). We then see that she's caring for that couple's three kids.
  • Blaine talks of his mom leaving the ranch in the past and of his father dying.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • WWI and why America was not yet in the war in 1916.
  • There's a mention of the nine million people who perished in WWI.
  • The historical accuracy and/or any artistic license the film takes with the truth.
  • Briggs' father refers to the war as a noble endeavor, and tells Briggs that it's time he (Briggs) did some worthy of his name (mentioning the young man being kicked out of Harvard).
  • The new flyboys are told the life expectancy for their kind is three to six weeks.
  • About Cassidy's cold demeanor, Blaine says that the guy sure knows how to make friends, with Thenault chiming in that all of Cassidy's friends are dead.
  • Briggs doesn't want to bunk with Skinner (who's black) as he says that would be like staying in the same room with one of his servants.
  • Cassidy gives his fliers pistols, stating that suicide is the best option if the plane catches on fire as no parachutes are available.
  • Blaine is upset that an enemy fighter strafed a downed pilot, saying he thought there was some honor in the conflict.
  • Cassidy telling Blaine that relaxing in the cantina (and drinking) is their way of honoring those who've just perished in conflict.
  • Skinner's statement that he likes flying because no one can see he's black.
  • We see Jensen suffering from some posttraumatic stress disorder (he's sweaty and shirtless in the hallway, looking all panicked). Cassidy slaps him in an effort to try to snap him out of it, and then tells others to get Jensen some bourbon (we don't see it delivered or consumed).
  • Talking about their parents, Skinner states that his father was a slave.
  • Cassidy stating that all of the pilots they've lost won't make any difference in terms of the war.
  • We hear that Skinner joined the U.S. forces once they entered the war, but was not allowed to fly (due to being black).
  • VIOLENCE
  • Some newsreel footage shows WWI explosions, a plane trailing smoke as it spirals downward, and brief views of non-bloody, dead bodies.
  • We briefly see some boxing-related hitting by Skinner and his opponent or sparring partner.
  • Grant (another veteran pilot) calls Skinner "chocolate," then "fuzzy" and then rubs his head, prompting the boxer to punch Grant to the floor. Grant then gets up and pushes another flier out of the way in anger.
  • Blaine is assigned to teach Eddie how to fly and shoot his guns simultaneously, but Eddie tires of that and just goes flying. But they then run out of gas and have to make a crash landing, ramming into a tree (we don't see the impact, and they're okay later other than Blaine has a few bloody scrapes on his leg).
  • The fliers take off on their first mission, seeing explosions on the battlefield below them, while encountering anti-aircraft explosions all around them. German fighters then engage them, exchanging gunfire in a dogfight that has various close calls. One pilot is hit in the shoulder and we then see him bloody and unconscious, while another loses his prop and crash lands, but lives. However, once he's out of the plane, an enemy fighter strafes him on the ground, killing him (no blood, but we see his face and open eyes in close-up on the ground).
  • Blaine falls off a horse doing some stunts for Lucienne and her brother's kids, but is okay.
  • There's another dogfight where a person is hit along with the plane that then falls apart in midair (we don't see the impact with the ground). Another pilot is hit in the neck (with bloody results), and a French plane explodes in midair when hit. One plane then chases an enemy one low across the ground, with both having to avoid trees and a house along the way.
  • We see Jensen suffering from some posttraumatic stress disorder (he's sweaty and shirtless in the hallway, looking all panicked). Cassidy slaps him in an effort to try to snap him out of it.
  • A German plane strafes refugees on the ground, hitting some and causing an explosion. One man is partially on fire, and some French soldiers shoot back, followed by French planes arriving and shooting at them (one plane is hit and the pilot falls out). Other planes on both sides are hit, with one shot appearing to go out through the top of one German pilot's head (we see a brief spurt). Blaine lets an enemy pilot go (who earlier did the same for him), but that plane then goes after another until it's shot down.
  • Beagle's plane comes apart and he crash-lands hard in the middle of a battlefield where infantry from both sides fire at each other, and the enemy shoots at Beagle whose hand is stuck under the wreckage, making him unable to flee. Blaine ends up landing and darting through the battlefield. During this, one soldier is hit by an explosion, another is shot in a trench, and a third is hit and killed trying to help Blaine rescue Beagle. With no alternative, Blaine uses a shovel to cut off Beagle's hand (we see the motion, but not the impact, although we do see some blood). They then run over to their side, avoiding gunfire, with Beagle's plane being hit and then exploding.
  • We see tanks and infantry on the move, and note that Lucienne and the kids are still in their house and thus in harm's way. Blaine then flies in and takes the kids, but must leave Lucienne for the return trip. We then see that she's returned to the farmhouse at night and must then sneak out when German infantrymen arrive and start looking around the place. Blaine then returns, she motions for him to be quiet as he approaches, and the two then run back to his plane. But the starting of the engine alerts the Germans who run out and open fire on them and the plane. Lucienne is hit in the shoulder (with bloody results), while Blaine mows down two enemies with the plane's machine guns (no blood).
  • The pilots are sent to intercept a German zeppelin and engage in a dogfight with fighters accompanying it. During this, some men inside the zeppelin are hit by a strafing run, while a good pilot is hit and killed by gunfire. Two German fighters are hit, while more dogfighting occurs, with planes being hit and one having its wings torn off by the landing gear of another. A good pilot is shot and mortally wounded, so he flies up high and then crashes down into the zeppelin, resulting in a massive midair explosion.
  • During another dogfight, a good pilot's plane is hit and catches on fire, sending flames toward him in the cockpit. With no other alternative, he pulls out a pistol and commits suicide, but we don't see the actual act or impact. Other planes are then shot and hit, while bombs are dropped with resultant explosions.
  • Blaine strafes and hits various planes on the ground, causing them to explode.
  • Another dogfight occurs, first one on one and then three on one. During this, some planes are hit, while two German planes collide in midair. Blaine is shot in the shoulder (with bloody results) as his plane is riddled with gunfire, but he then flies up next to the enemy and shoots the pilot dead (in midair) with a handgun (with bloody results). That enemy plane then crashes and explodes.



  • Reviewed July 19, 2006 / Posted September 22, 2006

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