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Red Tails

833 customer reviews

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(May 22, 2012)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Academy Awardr Winner Cuba Gooding Jr.* and Academy Awardr Nominee Terrence Howard** lead a powerful ensemble cast in this high-flying epic inspired by the real-life adventures of the first African-American combat unit to serve in World War II. Italy, 1944. As the war takes its toll on Allied forces in Europe, a squadron of black pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen are finally given the chance to prove themselves in the sky...even as they battle discrimination on the ground. Featuring jaw-dropping aerial action and thrilling special effects, Red Tails is a breathtaking tribute to the unsung heroes who rose above extraordinary challenges and ultimately soared into history.

Aerial spectacle gives this World War II drama a lift. Based on the true adventures of the Tuskegee Airmen, who battled Nazis in the air and racism on the ground, Red Tails is built around four pilots, each with a character-type-appropriate nickname: the daredevil is named Lightning (David Oyelowo), the likable boozer is Easy (Nate Parker), the kid trying to prove himself is Junior (Tristan Wilds), and the joker is called, uhm, Joker (Elijah Kelley). While these four chafe at their lousy assignments at the front, Colonel Bullard (Terrence Howard, applying his steely rasp to fervent, inspirational speeches) fights back in Washington to give these men a chance to prove themselves… and when they get that chance, prove themselves they do. This is a crucial bit of history--racial integration in the military was a key step leading to the civil rights movement decades later. Regrettably, this powerful material has been reduced to ham-fisted clichés, groaning under the weight of clumsy exposition. Such flimsy hokum is particularly surprising coming from co-screenwriter Aaron McGruder, creator of the sharply satirical The Boondocks; one suspects that the heavy hand of producer George Lucas was a factor. Nonetheless, when Red Tails takes to the air, the movie--like the pilots--shows its mettle. Though the digital effects are inexplicably uneven, the dizzying dogfight choreography will make your nerves tingle. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Cuba Gooding Jr., Bryan Cranston
  • Directors: Anthony Hemingway
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: May 22, 2012
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (833 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005LAIGN2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,823 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Red Tails" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray
I'm going to address the Blu ray version of this film as I had not seen it in the theaters when it was released. The best thing about the disc isn't the theatrical film itself but "Double Victory: The Tuskegee Airmen at War," the 1 hour documentary "extra." While the theatrical film addresses some of the history of the courageous Tuskegee airmen, the documentary focuses of the "second war" back in the United States. Using excellent interviews with many of the survivors of the Red Tails and their African-American bomber crew confederates, many of the injustices they lived through are fleshed out. They are supplemented by some remarkable film footage from the time. These great Americans effectively launched the Civil Rights movement even before Jackie Robinson integrated baseball or Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat.

The next best thing about this film is the aerial combat photography, some of which is done with real planes and real pilots and some is done with some amazing CGI and George Lucas's technicians. I was especially taken with the introduction of some early German jet fighters as they engaged the Red Tails' P-51 Mustangs. The other big positive is the magnificent transfer to Blu ray. From the opening scenes the film sparkles in this Lucas authorized release. The colors are bright and vivid. The textures are finely tuned, especially in close ups. The audio likewise is demo ready. As you might expect, the audio is an important feature with planes shooting at each other all over the Italian and German skies. In addition to the aforementioned documentary, other extras include comments by Lucas and director Anthony Hemingway, composer Terrance Blanchard and the cast. There is also a 5 minute feature at how the CGI came into play.
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93 of 121 people found the following review helpful By S. Hall on January 11, 2012
Format: DVD
I was so excited to see the movie, that I posted ahead of time. Now that I've seen it, I thought it was a great telling of a true story. I give it a solid 4 stars, because the actors were excellent, the cinematography was good, the combat effects were actually better than okay. The music could have been better, but despite that it is an instant classic in my book.

The movie is fantastic because it shows the story of men who had to fight with honor and dignity against extreme odds in order to fight with bullets and power against our country's enemies. Their story has been represented before on film, and hopefully will again; it's a story worthy of being told over and over. Thumbs up to the actors, producers and all involved for doing a very good job. Was it the best of the best job possible? Maybe not, but it was entertaining and enlightening. I respect George Lucas for caring enough to put his money into this story, to bring it to the big screen like a major film, despite the reluctance of many other parties in the film industry. Could some other director/producer combination have made a technically more outstanding movie? Maybe, but they evidently don't care enough about the true story to do it. Kudos to all involved!

The events portrayed a version of history that was very engaging, and in a way that was also realistic. The heroes weren't shown to be perfect, with the flight leader having a drinking problem, for example, which seemed to cause problems, and one of the other pilots being a real hotshot. Overall, I gained a lot of insight into the difficulties that the "colored" pilots encountered but at no point did I feel like I was being "taught" a history lesson.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Edward on July 12, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
Good entertainment and great graphics, actors were also good but the script was so embellished it ruined it. I love the story and have read several books about these fliers and hate to see something deminisher their accomplishments.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S. Persons on April 2, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I am a former Air Force fighter pilot. This movie is solely lacking in realism to the point of silliness. It ranks down there with "Iron Eagle" in the realm of pure cartoonish fantasy. Fighter pilots do not fly around using the radio as a telephone for pointless conversation akin to teenage girls. 1940s pilots did not speak like someone who lives in 2013. I have a friend who is the nephew of one of the real Red Tails and very active in the Red Tails organization. As such he was invited to attend the premier with George Lucas. My friend is also a former Air Force fighter pilot. He told Lucas to his face that he had a chance to make a great movie about a great subject but instead made a piece of crap. If you want to see a good movie about the Red Tails, watch HBOs "The Tuskegee Airmen".
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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Rahvin on July 9, 2012
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Atrocious. I can only imagine that the real Tuskegee airmen are rolling in their graves. Honestly the terrible characters and tepid story line could be forgiven, but the dialogue, oh the cringeworthy dialogue... Somewhere between robot and overtly racist minstrel cartoon. The white people's lines are read by Microsoft Sam and the black people are horrific parodies of a Chris Rock character. Oh, and the dogfight scenes in this are so cheesy they make 'Pearl Horbor' and 'Flyboys' look like historical documentaries. George Lucas truly is a hack.
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