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The Red Baron

3.8 out of 5 stars 188 customer reviews

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(Jun 01, 2010)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Europe, 1916. A living legend (aged 24) performing amazing dogfights and aerial stunts, flies in on painted wings to become famous the world over. For millions of his countrymen, he becomes an idol, a symbol of hope and pride.

Baron Manfred von Richthofen (MATTHIAS SCHWEIGHOFER) is the crack pilot of the German aerial combat forces a legend in his own time, a hero at home and a man both feared and respected by the enemy, including Allied Forces Canadian pilot, Captain Roy Brown (JOSEPH FIENNES). He and his fellow officers, Lieutenants Voss (TIL SCHWEIGER), Sternberg (MAXIM MEHMET) and Lehmann (HANNO KOFFLER) see their duels in the sky as tactical, almost sportsmanlike, clever challenges that, at least at first, obscure their view of the horrors of the battlefields below. And the provocative red paint job of his Fokker aircraft earns him the nickname The Red Baron.

Unwittingly, he allows the German high command to manipulate his chivalrous code of honor and misuse him for propaganda purposes until the young pilot falls in love with Kate (LENA HEADEY), a beautiful and resolute nurse who opens his eyes to the tragic fact that there is more to war than dogfights won and adversaries downed. Baron von Richthofen finally becomes aware of his role in the propaganda machine of a senseless and barbarous war.

With a torn heart, despite the heavy losses in his squadron and his disgust for the war and his responsibility to his fighter wing, von Richthofen cannot help but fly. But even for this living legend, each new combat mission could be his last...


World War I fighter ace the Red Baron (Valkyrie's Matthias Schweighöfer) comes to life in this pretty, if perfunctory docudrama. The opening credits establish Baron Manfred von Richthofen's childhood interest in flight. Flash forward to 1916, and the German lieutenant belongs to a combat squad that includes his friend Voss (Til Schweiger, Inglourious Basterds). After von Richthofen shoots down Canadian pilot Roy Brown (Joseph Fiennes), he meets French field nurse Käte (Lena Headey, The Sarah Connor Chronicles), who helps to save Captain Brown. Between missions, Manfred tries to win Käte over, but she's a tough sell (and the boyish Schweighöfer looks too young for Headey). Believing that it's better to scare the enemy than to sneak up on them, von Richthofen paints his craft crimson, leading to a legendary nickname (and making a significant impression on Peanuts creator Charles Schultz). At this point, the coincidences--and the casualties--start to accumulate. When the Baron runs into Brown the next year, the latter encourages him to pursue Käte. Von Richthofen gets his chance after suffering a head injury (surely other nurses served in northern France), and a love affair ensues as he continues to lose colleagues. Through Käte, the Baron comes to realize that his superiors see him more as a propaganda tool than as a human being, but he's in too deep to turn back. "You," he tells Käte toward the end, "are my greatest victory." Like that line, Nikolai Müllerschön's English-language debut registers more as romantic fantasy than as a believable portrayal of a real person. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Matthias Schweighofer, Til Schweiger, Lena Headey, Joseph Fiennes
  • Directors: Nikolai Mullerschon
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
  • DVD Release Date: June 1, 2010
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0039USJBA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,248 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Allow me to say, I've anxiously awaited the release of this DVD in U.S. format as I'm an extreme military history enthusiast, especially in the fields of WWI and WWII aviation and armor. I've watched clips of this movie and the trailers for it on youtube for well over a year and expected it to have the fluffy love story others have complained about, but, that is just one of the movie's many problems. Once again, movie makers have proven they have NO IDEA who the audience is for HISTORICALLY THEMED MOVIES! I'm starting to get really amazed at how consistently movie makers miss the mark - and waste magnificent opportunities to make a great movie in the process.

First off, everything was here for them to make the end-all fantastic movie about the life of Manfred Von Richtofen. They built 23 Albatros and Fokker airplanes for this film for pity's sake! Then, all of the flying, apparently, is done using green screen and CG technology - there is no "real" flying in the movie. Watch the extra features, they show how this was done - I was stunned.

On the plus side, this movie is far better than "Flyboys" which was just horrible. On the downside, I have no idea who this movie's about, because it darn sure isn't about Manfred Von Richthofen. The only things they got right here are that he was German and he had a red airplane - other than that, they made everything else up from scratch. His friendship with Werner Voss is touched upon, but only because they use Voss (shamefully) to push along the pointless and fictional love story between Richthofen and a nurse who seems to be everywhere. The actual careers of the pilots themselves is entirely glossed over.
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If you've read the other reviews, you'll know that the movie has needlessly tacked on a fictional romantic interest, and the dialog is flat. BUT the dog fight scenes are entirely worth the movie. Making what now seems like quaint little stunt planes into a menacing, daring and lethal attack machines is an achievement all its own. Note to producers and directors: watch the 1970's mini-series "Fall of Eagles", "Edward the King", and many others to see how create dialog - often from things that were actually said.

If you're a military history or history buff, you should nonetheless enjoy this, even if it has you cringeing at the lost potential of this film.
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I have had a fascination with World War I since I was a young boy. My grandfather fought in the "war to end all wars." My father bought me a copy of Floyd Gibbons' "The Red Knight of Germany" when I was 8 years old and I have read it several time since. I have read as many books on World War I aviation as I could afford and possess several film doumentaries about the war. I have seen and own "Wings," "Hell's Angels," "The Dawn Patrol," "The Blue Max," "Richthofen and Brown," and "Flyboys," among others. When I found out there was a film called "The Red Baron," I immediately pre-ordered it. I was excited to see how a German film would portray him. I am not a film-goer who is overawed by CGI. I look for a good story and, if possible, minimal effects to enhance real time action. I was quite disapointed in "The Red Baron."

First of all, it was done in Englsh. I thought, at least, that they would work a bilingual film on us. Second, I was downheartned by the story choices made by the filmmaker. I understand dramatic license, so I was willing to overlook the contrived multiple personal meetings between Richthofen and Capt. Roy Brown. I was even willing to suspend my disbelief and accept that he had an affair with his nurse. It was good to see Werner Voss in his sweater tinkering round in the repair shop. I know that Richthofen wore a turtleneck sweater on the flightline. I just wish his characterization had a little more formality to it. It even had Richthofen greet the Chief of the German Air Service, General Von Hoeppner, casually attired (tsk,tsk). What I can't forgive is the gratuitous passing over of the final showdown in the air. Whichever way the filmmaker chose to end it, either being shot down by Brown or by anti-aircraft fire from the ground, I just wanted to see what they would do.
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I've seen both versions of this film, I was looking forward to seeing the North American Release of this movie, which I recieved in the mail this afternoon. After finishing watching the film I was highly disapointed in the fact that Someone edited the film from it's original version to an illogical way at times. No idea if it was even approved by the films director, but I find the changes highly disapointing and they now shadow a film which I fell in love with whense everyone else I know through the film was already lacking. It is just not the same film when they have one pilot flying three different airplanes in the same scene because the editing for this version of the film was so bad, even cut one of my favorite scenes as they used most of it for one of their edited air battle scenes. As the film stands now, if someone didn't see the original I feel sorry for them. I can't even rate this film in the way I wanted, if I could I'd refund it because of the changes. They butchard the Richthofen vs Brown fight, took battle clips from several scenes so they could add a scene where Hawker gets shot down which they never had in the original film. As well as cutting entirely Luther's oil leak engine trouble as they took part of the scene for their Hawker battle edit. This is really unacceptable, this is not a Japanese cartoon show being edited for American TV in the 80s! I could call the film still good, but seeing a Sophwith Camel show up in 1916 because of editing is something I'd think a 1960s film would of made just for the sake of lack of special effects and option aircraft to use.
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