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Flyboys (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)

1,432 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Inspired by the true story of the legendary Lafayette Escadrille, this action-packed epic tells the tale of America's first fighter pilots. These courageous young men distinguish themselves in a manner that none before them had dared, becoming true heroes who experience triumph, tragedy, love, and loss amid the chaos of World War I. Hang on for the ride of your life!

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World War I aviation action gets an impressive digital upgrade in Flyboys, a welcome addition to the "dogfight" sub-genre that includes such previous war-in-the-air films like Hell's Angels, Wings, and The Blue Max. While those earlier films had the advantage of real and genuinely dangerous flight scenes (resulting, in some cases, in fatal accidents during production), Flyboys takes full (and safe) advantage of the digital revolution, with intensely photo-realistic recreations of WWI aircraft, authentic period structures, and CGI environments requiring a total of 850 digital effects shots, resulting in an abundance of amazing images, many of them virtually indistinguishable from reality. Unfortunately, the film's technical achievement is more impressive than its screenplay, which conventionally and predictably tells the fact-based story, set in France in 1916, of the daring young pilots of the Lafayette Escadrille, a pioneering French air-combat unit that welcomed American enlistees prior to the United States' entry into the war.

There's a familiar cliché to match every thrilling scene of aerial combat, but director Tony Bill manages to keep it all interesting, from the romance between a young American maverick (James Franco) and a pretty French girl (newcomer Jennifer Decker) to the exciting action in the air, which includes a stock variety of heroes (many of them composites of real-life WWI pilots) and an intimidating villain known only as "The Black Falcon," whose Fokker Dr-1 triplane (one of many in the film) recalls the exploits of German "ace of aces" Manfred von Richtofen, the dreaded "Red Baron" of legend. With impeccable production values that will impress even the most nit-picking aviation buffs, Flyboys (like Superman Returns and Apocalypto, also released in 2006) was also one of the first feature films to be shot with Panavision's state-of-the-art Genesis digital cameras, resulting in beautiful images that meet or exceed the visual nuance of film. Flyboys also benefits from painstaking attention to physical detail, making it easier to forgive its shortcomings as a generic and formulaic slice of romanticized history. So while some viewers may have wished for a more realistic and grown-up depiction of the Lafayette Escadrille, it's safe to say that Flyboys will be thrilling its target audience for many years to come. --Jeff Shannon

On the DVDs
If you're an aviation buff, the two-disc collectors edition of Flyboys is a must-have DVD. Disc 1 includes a full-length audio commentary by Tony Bill (whose directorial career began with the 1980 sleeper hit My Bodyguard) and producer Dean Devlin (Independence Day), who spend most of the film singing the praises of all things digital, from the use of Panavision's all-digital Genesis cameras to the film's impressive tally of 850 digital effects shots. They also discuss many of the technical challenges of making such an ambitious (and independently financed) film on a relatively modest budget of $65 million, and reveal many of the secrets behind some of the film's most impressive special effects. Disc 2 is where things get really interesting, beginning with the featurette "The Real Heroes of the Lafayette Escadrille," a profile of the pioneering French aerial combat unit depicted in Flyboys, with details about Henry Bullard, the first African American fighter pilot in history (the inspiration for "Eugene Skinner," the Flyboys character played by Abdul Salis) and the factual pilots who were made into composite characters for the film. "Diary of a Miniature Stunt Pilot" is a humorous, home-movie tour of Flyboys special-effects techniques; "Whiskey & Soda" is a profile of the lions who became the beloved mascots of the Lafayette Escadrille; and "Taking Flight" details the combinations of digital airplanes, models, and CGI environments that were used in the making of aerial battle sequences. "The Real Planes of Flyboys" is a treat for aviation buffs, since it shows many of the full-scale and 7/8th-scale vintage airplanes (some of them one-of-a-kind) that were either used in the film or completely digitized to safeguard their priceless historical value. The deleted scenes are above average (i.e. they're not just throwaways, but good scenes that were reluctantly cut for time), and another brief featurette shows cast members James Franco and David Ellison (respectively) enjoying promotional flights with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. Disc 2 also includes a Flyboys Squadron DVD-ROM game for those equipped with compatible computers. --Jeff Shannon


Extras from Flyboys



Director Tony Bill on Filming Dogfight Sequences

...On throwing away the script for pilot training

...On the real-life stunt pilot who stars in the film

Beyond Flyboys



More "War in the Sky" Films

SPA124 Lafayette Escadrille: American Volunteer Airmen in World War 1



More "Military and War" Films

Stills from Flyboys





Special Features

  • Audio Commentary by Director Tony Bill and Producer Dean Devlin
  • "Real Heros: The True Story of the Lafayette Escadrille" Featurette
  • "Life of a Minature Stunt Pilot" Featurette
  • "Whiskey and Soda- The Lion Mascots" Featurette
  • "Taking Flight- The Making of a Flying Sequence"
  • "The Real Planes of Flyboys" Featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Flyboys Squadron DVD-ROM Game

Product Details

  • Actors: James Franco, Jean Reno, Jennifer Decker, Scott Hazell, Mac McDonald
  • Directors: Tony Bill
  • Writers: Blake T. Evans, David S. Ward, Phil Sears
  • Producers: David Brown, Dean Devlin, Duncan Reid, James Clayton
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: January 30, 2007
  • Run Time: 140 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,432 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000LAZE8W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,402 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Flyboys (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

461 of 517 people found the following review helpful By Monty Rainey VINE VOICE on September 23, 2006
I have been looking forward to seeing this movie but became reluctant after reading the rather mediocre reviews it received from the so-called "experts". I decided to ahead and, as usual, the "experts" got it all wrong. FLYBOYS not only met my expectations, but also exceeded them.

I'm a big history buff and am usually very disappointed with Hollywood's rendition of historical events. For me, it really detracts from a movie when I see things like Sea Sparrow missile launchers on the deck of a destroyer in Pearl Harbor, or when William Wallace supposedly has a torrid affair with a Princess who was, in reality, only three years old at the time of his death, and I expected to find similar fault with this movie. I found no such errors here. The true life story was most accurate, including such details as the lion which served as the mascot for the Escadrille LaFayette, the dented bullets which the flying aces had to sort through before each flight, and the fact that over one million allied soldiers lost their lives at Verdun.

Hollywood movie critics have a difficult time with true stories. True life, especially when accurately presented, doesn't always have the same flair as fictionalized accounts, and critics have given rather harsh reviews of the plot, totally missing so many details surrounding such things as camaraderie, respect and traumatic real life emotions. And no, in real life, people don't always live happily ever after and the hero doesn't always ride off into the sunset with his sweetheart.

Beyond the historical accuracy portrayed here, the film has sensational filming, particularly in the air battle scenes. The aerial views depict the miles of devastation of French countryside surrounding the trenches.
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134 of 148 people found the following review helpful By Monkdude on September 23, 2006
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The critics don't like it for the most part, but I really had a good time. Flyboys won't win any awards, but it sure entertained my packed theater. People laughed at most of the little jokes scattered throughout this long film. Clocking in at over two hours it is a bit too long and some of the dialogue is lacking, but the romance is handled well (unlike Pearl Harbor, thank God!), as are the many amazing CGI dogfight scenes. If your bored one afternoon, you should check out Flyboys, otherwise just wait for the DVD.
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60 of 67 people found the following review helpful By T O'Brien on December 26, 2006
Format: DVD
Flyboys didn't last long in theaters upon its release, but don't let that scare you away, it's an above average WWI period drama. During World War I, a group of American pilots joined the fighting in Europe before the United States entered the war in 1918. Flying for the French, they were named the Lafayette Escadrille. The movie follows five or six freshly arrived pilots, most notably James Franco as Texan Blaine Rawlings, as they train and learn how to fly and ultimately join the war as they take on German fighters, most notably the Black Falcon, a German pilot who doesn't follow the "rules of war." All in all, this was a pretty good movie. It's by no means a great movie, but it kept me entertained for the full 140 minute running time. The added love story isn't as bad as I thought it'd be, but the movie didn't need that storyline. It would have been better if the storyline focused primarily on the pilots and the dogfights, which are the high points of the movie. Go see this movie for the dogfights, especially the zeppelin attack on Paris and the final showdown between Rawlings and the Black Falcon!

One of the complaints of the movie was that it is too cliched, and this is partly true, but for me it felt like the actors did the best they could with what they have. James Franco gets top billing as Texan Blaine Rawlings, a young rancher who joins the war after his ranch went under. Along with flying with the Escadrille, he falls in love with a French girl, Lucien (French beauty Jennifer Decker), who can't speak English. My favorite character is Reed Cassidy (Martin Henderson), the veteran pilot who slowly opens up to the new pilots.
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151 of 175 people found the following review helpful By Keith Thompson on January 13, 2007
Format: DVD
Flyboys is a decent adventure film, but with apologies to reviewer Monty Rainey, it can hardly be praised for its historical accuracy. The computer-generated planes zip around more like jet fighters than WW1 planes, making snap-rolls & vertical climbs rather than Immelman turns & the slower, more gradual maneuvers the real planes were capable of. The Nieuports the Escadrille fly were obsolete & replaced by Spads by late 1916/early 1917 (when the movie takes place--they mention the USA entering the war which was April, 1917), and the Fokker Triplane didn't enter service until the winter of 1917 & never in great numbers (very few were red by the way). These quibbles aside, what really destroys the believabilty of the movie is when one of the Flyboys gets shot down & crashes in no-man's land (at a point where the German & French lines seem to be about 50 yards apart when a half mile is about the closest they ever actually got). Though he's in the cockpit when it crashes, the pilot somehow gets his hand trapped between the ground & the upper wing (which miraculously didn't collapse when the plane flipped upside down). And he can't get it out! His friend has to land (apparently also in no-man's land), run THRU no-man's land perpendicular to all the Germans shooting at him, & help his friend get his hand out. (I won't spoil it by saying how.) WW1 fighters weighed roughly 1000 lbs, with the engine & guns comprising over half the total weight. The top wing his hand was trapped under would have weighed about 100 lbs total. If your hand was trapped under one side, you'd simply lift it off with your free hand. Also the trailing edge of the Nieuport was made up of a pine-wood stringer which was one inch square. He could have cut your way thru it with a penknife.Read more ›
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