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The Tuskegee Airmen

4.6 out of 5 stars 1,011 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

This inspiring World War II story spotlights 450 men who fought on two fronts at once. Black American aviators, known as the Tuskegee Airmen, battled Axis powers in Europe and North Africa and then took on racism at home. Trained by the segregated military system as an experiment to see if blacks could fly in combat, these pilots made more than 15,000 sorties and 1,500 missions. Their success led to the integration of the U.S. armed forces.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: .
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: August 16, 2005
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,011 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BITU2A
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,297 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John A. Kuczma on November 17, 1999
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
The story of the magnificent 332nd Fighter Group is woven into a dramatic tapestry of the horror of war and the disjointed approach of many Americans to a difficult time and a situation many would have preferred to ignore. The performance of the pilots who graduated the Tuskegee Training Program (they NEVER lost an escorted bomber to enemy action!) unfolds against the backdrop of misunderstanding, racism and political machinations that nearly destroyed the entire enterprise. This film does a magnificent job of telling the tale without being melodramatic, preachy or snide, but does full justice to the accomplishments of the pilots and their eventual victory against both German pilots and their own nation's refusal to recognize their talents. For the student of World War II, this is a well-known and much-respected story. For the student of African-American History, it is a tale of pride which shines as brightly as the stars on the American Flag these men so courageously defended. Fishburn and Cuba Gooding are superior as men caught between their own humanity and the de-humanizing effects of war. If ever a film deserve a 5-Star rating, this one does.
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By A Customer on February 8, 2003
Format: DVD
I'm a white 64 year old Air Force veteran. Watching these heroes of WWII in dedicated, valorous performance, who never lost a bomber to the Nazis, brought tears and pride from me for them. For those still on the ground and for those still "On Patrol", thank you!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is an excellent story of real people. It is not PC BS where all whites are bad and all blacks are good. Instead, it is about a great and valiant group of men, the first black combat pilots during World War II. They are depicted as the heroes they were, not as supermen. They faced all of the challenges thrown at them to become pilots and they faced more challenges from their race. Some were primadonnas and some were modest. Some failed and some succeeded. Some were serious and some were jocular. Their humanity made them heroes even when others didn't want to admit their worth. They were regular guys called upon to do a difficult job and they did so with aplomb and dignity. They also did so magnificently.

The story takes a group of the airmen from their pilot training in Alabama through the North African campaign where they were relegated to important but unglamorous work against ground targets. We see them mature into professionals and develop their skills, all while being denied an opportunity to prove those skills. Finally, they are moved to Europe where they face more discrimination. Even though they do a great job, no one wants to admit that they have done so. Even redneck bomber crews who have their bacon saved are reluctant to give thanks when they learn they have been saved by black men. Still, the men of the 332nd persevere.

Finally, comes the push to Berlin. The bomber crews know its going to be tough. For me, the climax comes when one of the rednecks tells his CO, "If its all the same to you, I'd like the 332nd to take me to Berlin". This is the same guy who would not even acknowledge they could fly earlier. While flying bomber escort, the 332nd never lost a single bomber to enemy fire. They were magnificent.

That is the story and it is no secret.
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Format: DVD
The Tuskegee Airmen (Laurence Fishburne) 106 minutes. (for a more historical account check out the PBS with the same title)

Movie starts out with the scene of a black kid on a farm watching a plane fly by. The narrator reads "We all have dreams, regardless of skin color." The Little kid screaming "Wait for me"

The director uses various scenes to show the ugly face of racism: The scene where the black cadets have to get off the train-car, then camera focuses on "whites only" sign for drinking fountain, and then the camera focuses on german prisoners getting off a bus, escorted by american white military soldiers. Quite a lot of symbolism for racism in one little scene. The black cadets are forced to give up their seats for german prisenoners of war (they had to go to the "Jim Crow car"). The introductary talk of the white commanding officer of the base to the newly arrived negro corp, was simply despicably racist, not just the expected putdown from commanding officer, but pure and un-adulterated hate.

The second shock, and this is to my own assumptions ... I was shocked when the negro cadets informally introduce each other and how cerebral some of them were (aeronautical engineer, pre-med, english literature, political science, art history, sociology, economics majors). These were some bright minds there on base to prove America that they could make it.

Another excellent example of contradictory racism, is when a negro pilot does an emergency landing, and the white sherrif watching over a group of negro convicts, a chaingang, says "It's one of our boys" and later learns the opposite.

I love it when the good wins while fighting the evil - the white major who gets in trouble with his commander for implementing his racist ideas.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The stories of the 99th and the 332nd, the Tuskegee Airmen, are ones that should be heard by all Americans. As the subtitle states, they did fight two wars. They fought against the Nazis and they fought the civil rights war here at home.

This is a well done documentary that presents the story of the Tuskegee Airmen. Topics examined include the prewar state of affairs of black servicemen, their training in Tuskegee, Alabama, their air campaigns in North Africa and Europe and their less than triumphant return home after the war. At each step of the way, they had to fight individual and institutional racism and they did so in the best possible manner. They fought bigotry with sheer excellence. They remain the only fighter group never to have lost one of the bombers they were charged with protecting to enemy fire.

Participating in this documentary are some of the original airmen and their poignant recolections and anecdotes bring a very human face to go with their legendary exploits. These people include both pilots and the aircrews who kept them in the air. Ossie Davis provides narration and does a commendable job.

This documentary should be of interest to people interested in military history. It should also appeal to those concerned with the civil rights struggle. More than either of these, it should appeal to anyone who wants to see a true profile in courage.
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