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Dive Bomber (1941)

Errol Flynn , Fred MacMurray , Michael Curtiz  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Errol Flynn, Fred MacMurray, Ralph Bellamy, Alexis Smith, Robert Armstrong
  • Directors: Michael Curtiz
  • Writers: Frank Wead, Robert Buckner
  • Producers: Hal B. Wallis, Robert Lord
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, NTSC, Full Screen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 27, 2007
  • Run Time: 132 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000M2E30Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #181,632 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Dive Bomber" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New featurette: "Dive Bomber: Keep 'Em in the Air"
  • Trailer

Editorial Reviews

It's not the most he-manly endorsement imaginable, but Dive Bomber must be the prettiest aviation movie ever made. Errol Flynn, Fred MacMurray, and Ralph Bellamy top the cast, but the real star is Technicolor--in particular, a special Monopack developed to take the color process airborne without the cumbrous three-strip cameras used in the studios. Bert Glennon and Winton C. Hoch (once and future cameramen to John Ford) were Oscar-nominated for best color cinematography of 1941, but the flying footage was shot by Howard Hawks's aerial go-to guy Elmer Dyer (The Dawn Patrol, Only Angels Have Wings, Air Force) and Charles Marshall. For his part, director Michael Curtiz set up as many dialogue scenes as possible to include low-level flyovers by U.S. Navy Air Force squadrons. The onscreen results are often breathtaking (and beautifully served by the DVD mastering).

The drama is something else again. Dive Bomber is a bridge between the carefree service comedy-dramas of the '30s and the combat-themed movies that would kick in following December 7, 1941. Warner Bros. knew war was coming (their 1940 Flynn swashbuckler The Sea Hawk had allegorically engaged Hitler!); the heroes here are the flight surgeons and test pilots racing to lick high-altitude sickness so that U.S. flyers would be able to get the drop on their Axis foes once "the main event" started. The best scenes are the lab tests, including an oxygen-deprivation experiment that makes striking use of Technicolor. But the script by aviation-ace-turned-screenwriter Frank "Spig" Wead alternates between two tiresome strategies: nonstop dissing of medicos Flynn and Bellamy by macho flyboys MacMurray and pal Regis Toomey, and low-comedy interludes deploring how exasperating women can be (Alexis Smith is a sacrificial victim in her stellar debut). In this last connection, John Ford's Wead biopic The Wings of Eagles would make an illuminating companion piece for Dive Bomber. --Richard T. Jameson

Product Description

Visually exciting WWII drama about two naval officers who are trying to understand and prevent altitude sickness. The two men must get past their personal differences in order to conduct the experiments necessary to save lives.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real stars are Red, White and Blue May 7, 2006
This is one of the greatest war films, sorry no blood and guts on the screen no great explosions. So how can it be five star? The stars are the planes, though the storyline is not bad. the footage of the prewar (USA) planes is top shelf. Turner or AMC run this every now and then stay home from work to see it. Released less then four months before the attack on Pearl Harbor it studies avi/med. Why no US DVD hey I'll buy two, OK three OK,OK five (widecreen) and a little sound work on the engines but didn't touch the color. This flim is to it's time what Tom Hanks did for the Apollo space program in 'From the Earth to the Moon', but not as large is Mr.Hanks' work.

This is a national treasure.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little balance? August 26, 2006
If this were a documentary it would deserve a 5. Not only are the (barely) pre-War airplanes the stars of the show, but the gorgeous color photography of the San Diego area in '40-'41 is well worth the price of the DVD. But... it's supposed to be a movie, with characters, plot and all that good stuff, and this one doesn't rise much above the soap opera level on that score. Even at the documentary level there were some rather heavy duty security restrictions in place - one is free to doubt that, contrary to what the characters say, dive attacks were being made from 50,000 feet! Still, watching all those Vindicator dive bombers and pilots, knowing the sad fate which lay in store for these very people at Midway a little over a year later, makes it a very special memorial.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WWII IN TECHNICOLOR February 4, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
DIVE BOMBER is one of the many films of the early forties which glorified the service branches: here we have Technicolor, big-budget treatment - and the full cooperation of the Naval Air Corps. This movie constantly waivers. There was an interesting, rather detailed examination of the new techniques in estimating a flyer's fitness, in solving the problems of "blacking out" when a pilot pulls out of a power dive, and in overcoming the hazards of stratospheric flying. Truly breathtaking formation flying, enhanced furthur by smogless Technicolor, was used in abundance. This dramatic and topical material was contrasted with flat story development in combination with artless "romantic interest". A good deal of the film was photographed at the Naval Air Station in San Diego and in the air amid billowing California clouds. Additonal material was filmed at Pensacola Naval Air Station and aboard the aircraft carrier ENTERPRISE.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Glorious Technicolor Past June 24, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
The story is typical pre second World War let's show off the Navy. The greatness is in the photogrophy. If you want to see what San Diego and Naval Air Station North Island looked like prior to the war, this is your picture.The aerial photography is beautiful, especially a shot of the Hotel Del Coronado circa 1940. When I see this film my thoughts seem to dweal on the Navy people who appear as extras in this film. How many went on to serve and give up their lives in the coming years? We where flying biplanes and Japan and Germany were flying ME 109's and Zero's.
Errol Flynn looks young, fit, and very much the Naval Officer. The script was written by Frank Wead (Wead's life was the subject of John Ford's Wings of Eagles)and depicts a very macho image of Naval Aviators. These were the Top Guns before there were Top Guns. So see the film for a great looking Flynn, the pre-War Navy at it's best and a slice of a California and America in a much more simple time. The war was right around the corner and The United States would never be the same.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dive Bomber-the rest of the story November 17, 2002
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
This film is based on the work of a Navy flight surgeon, a Cdr. Poppen, who developed the first pneumatic anti-G garment for dive bomber pilots. Insofar as that's concerned the movie is accurate. However the other developments; a pressure suit for high altitude flight and a successful pressurized twin engined Lockheed type 10 aircraft were both done at Wright Field in Dayton, OH. Poppen's "anti-G belt" was not very good but was basically on the right track but overtaken by the development of better liquid and later compressed air filled suits ca. 1940.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Typical Naval Aviation at its Nostalgic Best November 22, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
This part of aviation history directed by Mitchel Curtiz, is a must for the mid-thirties aviation buff. The airplanes and the formation flying over North Island Naval Air Station are a tribute to Naval Aviation, and will bring back many lost memories. Unfortunately, the serious nature of the story, high altitude flying problems, is overshadowed by the comedic design of the equipment being flight tested to solve the problem. Be that as it may, it is still a great movie. Fred McMurray, Errol Flynn, Alexis Smith (the love interest) and Ralph Bellamy give their usual great entertaining performances. To me it was a 133 minute movie that took an hour to watch.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dive Bomber 1941 August 20, 2007
When DIVE BOMBER hit theatres in 1941 , Americans already sensed the U.S would be plunged into World War II action . No one knew how and and when war will come . But Everyone knew they had to be ready . Never before has an aviation film been so vivid in its images . DIVE BOMBER is a stirring and authentic Tehnicolor talent about getting ready . Errol Flynn (1909-1959) portrays a flight medical researcher and Fred MacMurray (1908-1991) plays a squadron commander , flyboys who put differences aside and risk all to confront the problems of blackout-inducting G-forces and high-altitude sickness . Michael Curtiz (1886-1962) directs from a script co-writted by a aviation pioneer Frank Wead (1895-1947) (the bipic subject of John Wayne's (1907-1979) The Wings of Eagles (1957). And undibilled but destined for a wartime greatness was a aircraft carrier seen in several scenes USS Enterprise (Launched: 3 October 1936 and Decommissioned: 17 February 1947), the nation's most decorated World War II ship . Special Features : Documentary * Dive Bomber: Keep em' in The Air and Theatrical Trailer . High Quality Transfer . Recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great glimpse at pre-WW2 Naval Aviation
This is one of my favorite films from my childhood, where I watched it in black and white because of the TV's we had back then. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Tom Lund
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Several Good 1930's Aviation Movies
This movie does a great job of showing the difficulties of conquering different aspects of flight. Fred MacMurray and Errol Flynn spatting through the movie doesn't really help... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mark W. Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars great classic movie
Great film with good film footage. You will like this. Back in the old days, I realized that people smoked and drank a lot in the movies. The story is great.
Published 7 months ago by frank arnold jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars A childhood favorite
I remember seeing this movie as a young boy. The aerial shots were fantastic and in color no less. Having obtained a pilot's license I can really identify with the rigors of... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Dan
5.0 out of 5 stars Old Planes
As a Builder of Scale Model Air5planes this is a 'Must Have' for reference material on the Pre-WWII U.S. Naval Aircraft Paint Schemes & etc.
Published 9 months ago by Howard Simmons jr
5.0 out of 5 stars Great War Movie
Errol Flynn looks great in any uniform! Great actor and the cast the best.
Well worth having and viewing many times
Published 9 months ago by Donita
5.0 out of 5 stars The U.S. Navy air arm, prior to wwii
Great color shots of our Navy air arm, just prior to WWII, if you are an aviation buff , you should like this one.
Published 9 months ago by R. Call
4.0 out of 5 stars a little dated but still fun
This movie really has three stars in it - Errol Flynn, Fred MacMurray and the aircraft. Ralph Bellamy plays a senior flight surgeon and does a fine job of being the serious side to... Read more
Published 10 months ago by ilbob
5.0 out of 5 stars Dive Bomber
Outstanding performances by Errol Flynn and Fred MacMurray. Fasicnating story on the research efforts to improve the aviation capability of our Air Force.
Published 10 months ago by Henry G. Frampton III
1.0 out of 5 stars The Movie was damaged before I got it.
The movie dvd was supposed to be new, but when I opened the DVD and put it into my DVD player it was scratched. and the company blamed me that I stretched it, I did not. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Anthony Panzica
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