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Hell's Angels (1930)

Jean Harlow , Ben Lyon  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jean Harlow, Ben Lyon, James Hall, John Darrow, Lucien Prival
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: 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: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: December 7, 2004
  • Run Time: 131 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002MHE1O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,680 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Hell's Angels" on IMDb

Editorial Reviews

Billionaire Howard Hughes produced and directed Hell's Angels, the most expensive film ever made in its time. Hughes spared no expense in capturing an exciting dogfight between R.A.F. and German fighter planes, using 137 pilots in all. Hell's Angels is perhaps more notable for introducing Jean Harlow to the screen in her first major film role. Set during World War I, Hell's Angels is the story of three Oxford buddies: two brothers (Ben Lyon and James Hall) and one German (John Darrow). When all three are conscripted to fight on opposing sides of the war, each is torn between obedience to his country and that of his conscience. Jean Harlow is the woman who comes between the three men in this lavish period adventure.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
121 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hell's Angels in Bi-Planes June 11, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
Hell?s Angels is an amazing film. It is certainly the best WWI aviation film, although Wings runs it close, and it has flying sequences that are simply staggering, because they are so obviously real. There is a wonderful sequence depicting the attack on an enormous Zeppelin which shows how the giant airship actually operated and gives a sense of its size, slowness and vulnerability. Also worthy of note is a mass dogfight involving a captured German bomber, Baron Von Richthofen?s Flying Circus and what seems like most of the Royal Flying Corps. At times the sky is filled with bi-planes performing thrilling manoeuvres, but the film does not fail to show the individuals in this fight and to point out the horrific human cost of the fighting. Hell?s Angels is in fact surprisingly violent, showing men consumed in flames and screaming to their deaths. Actually it is remarkably frank in a number of ways. Jean Harlow gives a star-making performance which oozes sex. She never looked better especially when uttering her famous line ?Would you be shocked if I put on something more comfortable?? Here is a woman who knows what she wants and doesn?t allow conventions to get in her way. What?s more the film doesn?t attempt to tone-down this characterization. She frankly admits she wants nothing to do with marriage and family values and it is this frankness which must have seemed so shocking to contemporary audiences. Hell?s Angels is also not afraid to show flyers full of fear and questioning the point of the war. It?s most sympathetic character is a coward who just wants to live. The story is thus rather unusual, especially for a war film, for it does not contain the heroics and the heroes so familiar from the genre, but rather shows the grim determination of scared men to get the job done. Read more ›
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86 of 92 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still remarkably entertaining December 15, 2004
By TeeBee
Three reasons to watch this film:

- still-teenaged Jean Harlow, radiant in her only Technicolor footage, and giving a much better performance under the direction of (I assume) James Whale than she would in "Public Enemy" a year later;

- a riveting nighttime Zeppelin attack with an astounding payoff;

- aerial battle scenes unmatched for realism that truly convey the terror of fights-to-the-death in the skies (apparently three pilots died doing the remarkable stunts).

Ben Lyon is the only lead performer whose acting seems fairly modern and somewhat natural while the other male leads are still stuck in that strange, stilted early-talkie mode (the film was begun as a silent and morphed into a talkie over a two-year shoot spanning 1928-1930). The biggest flaw is the ridiculous stereotypical portrayal of the German commanders as sadistic Huns straight out of a WWI propaganda film; this is the most dated element in what remains, given the period in which it was produced, an amazingly entertaining film, beautifully restored in its current DVD incarnation by UCLA film restoration experts.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Landmark Aviation Film August 6, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I happened to catch this film for the first time on the big screen on August 6th, at the classic Alex Theatre in Glendale, CA. What an experience! Yes, the dialogue was corny and somewhat dated, although, I feel that many reviewers tend to somewhat over-exaggerate this just a bit in their assessment of the film. The eight-minute two-color sequence is worth viewing in itself (especially seeing that this is the only existing color footage of the beautiful Jean Harlow) as an early example of the evolution of technicolor. The battle sequences had the audience on the edge of their seats, and the sultry Harlow had the audience in an uproar. All in All, this film is worth owning because of it's historical significance alone, and the non-aerial scenes are quite enjoyable and breath-taking. We must remember that films, like everything else, are products of the era in which they're made, and we must keep in mind that the political correctness which saturates today's films may seem "corny" as well, some fifty-sixty years from now.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great ones!! December 10, 2004
I just purchased this video and watched it last night. By any standards it is a stunning work, and, considering when it was made, was a groundbreaking achievement for its time. As reported in other posts, the acting is only pedestrian. However, it was interesting to see Jean Harlow in her prime. One can see why she was viewed as the Marilyn Monroe of her era. This film is worth watching for a variety of reasons. First of all the ariel sequences are amazing, particularly the Zeppelin segment and the final dogfight (over California?). I doubt if any film has surpassed the conveyance of sheer terror in these sequences. Of interest was the pilot who was taking repeated swigs from a bottle hidden in his cockpit to maintain his courage during the dogfight. The sight of so many planes in the air at once rival (and surpass in many respects) similar scenes in the Blue Max. In fact, the films Blue Max and Zeppelin owe much to this film re: their ariel sequences. The other standout feature is the clever use of color. Some early morning sequences are in red tint, night in blue, and, an amazing ballroom scene in multicolor. Whether you are a fan of war films, vintage films or flying, this is a MUST SEE film. A review of it is easy. Watch it and share a bit of the thrill Howard Hughes had when he made his ultimate flying film!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy with confidence.
Great movie if you love to fly...
Published 23 hours ago by Razor
5.0 out of 5 stars The Standard Bearer
If you've seen Flyboys you'll be amazed at how many scenes they copied from this film. Yes, Howard Hughes was insane, but within that insanity he had a vision for excellence that... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jon Mcauliffe
4.0 out of 5 stars Howard Hughes Spectacular
Bought the movie as I have been hearing of Howard Hughes movie for years. Considering the age of the flick I thought it very good-especially the flight sequences. Read more
Published 2 months ago by K. Lucas
3.0 out of 5 stars lots of planes and Jean Harlow
This movie was unique only in the producer, He gave jobs to many stunt fliers, and Barnstormers. Story is Cain and Able and Trite. Read more
Published 3 months ago by white tiger
5.0 out of 5 stars Hell's Angels Review.
my husband and I watched the movie Aviator. So after watching this he then wanted the movie Hell"s Angels. He enjoyed it very much. Said it was a very good movie. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Debbie Kent
5.0 out of 5 stars Aerial combat AND Jean Harlow, and both were exciting to watch
When NOVA had a show on the German zeppelin raids on London, they mentioned this movie. It brought back memories for when I was 5 or 6 years of age, my mother took me to see it... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Rudi Franke
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice wings, but feet (and actors) of clay
The thing you have to understand about "Hell's Angels" is that the bulk of the running time - easily two thirds - is taken up by story of two English brothers and the Englishwoman... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Monac
5.0 out of 5 stars They were all fools.
You are a fool to die in a war. Because some business man needs to sell bombs and air planes.
Published 4 months ago by John Sague
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a classic and timeless film, Great for an aviation movie fan.
I was amazed at the scene were the Zepplin is coming out of the clouds, It felt like a Star Wars moment, except it took place during WW1.
Published 5 months ago by Gregory Fish
2.0 out of 5 stars Eh
This movie is not what I expected, none of the typical old school hollywood glamour i was looking for. More suitable for air force aficionados or serious movie buffs.
Published 5 months ago by K. Nance
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