This film is a must see! My academic field is Jewish Studies and specifically the Holocaust and antisemitism so I have seen many documentaries. This one, however, does not have a typical documentary feel and is engaging throughout. Please, do yourself a favor and buy it and hold a screening night in your home. These men deserve to be remembered and honored.
Great viewing experience, I found it inspiring. However, allow me one correction. There is one foto that is misidentified, and that was in connection with the man known as"Swifty," as Harold Livingston, the pilot who flew 25 combat missions in the 1948 war, referred to him. Harold says "Swifty" called him to come help them smuggle planes out of the US to Israel. I was surprised that "Swifty" was never identified in the film as Irvin Schindler, a pilot from Miami, Florida. At 25:49 he's mentioned again by harold Livingston as arguing with US Treasury officers that his planes were foreign owned by the Panamanian airline, LAPSA, actually a paper airline registered with the sole purpose of evading the US embargo on shipping arms to Palestine. Livingston describes how Swifty had a mechanic stencil the acronym, LAPSA, onto the tail of a plane while the t-men watched. "Swifty" was shown in the photographs illustrating the encounter (beginning at 25:40 where he's wearing sunglasses); he's the guy speaking with a US Treasury officer at 26:06.. But, actually, this was a photo taken in Canada. and he was speaking with a Canadian officer, you can see the second uniformed officer next to that officer is wearing an iconic Canadian Mounty hat. This encounter occurred when Swifty was detained in Canada flying a B-17 to Israel with several pilots as passengers. It was the first time he'd flown a B-17, though he had had much experience flying WW2 transport across the Atlantic. Despite being detained by the Canadians, he escaped with the aircraft, but was forced by an unrepaired mechanical problem to set down again in the Azores, where he was detained and turned over to US authority. He was sentenced to a year for that "felony". After the creation of Israel, he flew 4 years for El Al before returning to Miami and a successful career in real estate and as a Miami talk radio host for 610, WIOD. I have posted on this amazon page a photo taken from another angle of Schindler's encounter with the Canadian officers.
"Above and Beyond" describes the seemingly miraculous salvation Israel has had repeatedly in wars with Arab nations dedicated to Israel's annihilation. The bravery of these young pilots from the United States, South Africa, and elsewhere risking, and at times losing, their lives for Israel is emotionally provoking. Borrowing from another movie title "Above and Beyond" could be subtitled "Against All Odds."
Ayatollah Khameini says Iran will destroy Israel within the next 25 years and in the meanwhile Iran will be funding waves of jihadists against the Jews. He also said Israel is a "one bomb" nation meaning Iran only needs a single nuclear weapon which it seems they are soon to have. It appears that the salvation described in "Above and Beyond" is about to be tested again soon given Iran's reaffirmation of Ahmadinejad's promise to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.
This is a first-rate, high-quality, technically competent production. For supporters of Israel it is inspiring. For the objective and impartial it is amazing. And for those who seek to destroy the Jews - or those rooting for Israel's destruction- it reminds them of the challenge they have ahead.
History, and esp Military History, is not usually my "thing" -but I watched with my husband (for who it IS a thing) and was sucked in at once..immersed...astounded and educated by this excellent documentary. An amazing (and many would say miraculous) slice of post-WWII history as Israel fights to become a state--with an air force of four, that's right...FOUR aircraft to begin with. Interviews with the now-aged, surviving pilots who flew those planes across the world and during the war for Israel, interlaced skillfully and powerfully with actual film footage of the times and many photographs, along with other survivors of the time with their family members (Paul "Peewee Herman" Reubens-who knew?!) Wonderful.
I'd give it more than five stars if I could; that's how good it is.
Do yourself and your family a favor, watch this incredible documentary. Very well-made and extremely positive. This episode in history, all but forgotten is why there is a bond between America and Israel that should always be honored and never forgotten.
Sometimes the wrong thing is the right thing to do. The young men of America who served valiantly in the US Army Air Corps and Naval Aviation during WW II, only to return to bigotry and loathing in their homeland answered a higher call when their true homeland needed them most. Other like-minded men, Jewish or not, from all over the world also felt inspired to stand against a fearsome foe to help the helpless and forlorn.
Risking life, citizenship, and freedom itself by violating the law, these brave and caring men broke the law to do what was right. How is it that only now the public is made aware? I don't know, but I salute each and every one. These men deserve to be elevated to the status of the Buffalo Soldiers, doing the right thing in spite of how their country treated them.
You know that feeling when you become so engrossed and mesmerized by a film, that you don't want it to end? That is how you will feel about "Above and Beyond". Although this unbelievable, true story reveals and analyzes the finer human traits, such as courage, discipline, and true friendship, it does portray tragedies. However, the positive messages outweigh the negativity. This is one of those rare , uplifting movies that will leave you smiling.