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Flyboys is a 2006 film about American pilots in the mid period of World War I. Blaine Rawlings, a rancher whose farm has recently been foreclosed, heads to France to help fight in World War I. There he meets Reed Cassidy, a disillusioned ace who teaches Blaine and his squad to fly and shoot Germans.

During a disastrous bomber-escort mission, a German called the Black Falcon strafes one of Rawlings's squadmates on the ground. Rawlings is frustrated by the fact that only he seems to care about the breach of honor, and vows his own revenge.

Later, during a far more successful assault on a German zeppelin, Reed Cassidy is killed by the Black Falcon, although he takes the zeppelin down with him.

After a second, this time successful, bombing mission against the same target, Blaine chases down the Falcon. After a lengthy dogfight, Blaine kills the Falcon with a pistol he was given by Cassidy in the beginning of the movie.

This Film contains examples of:

  • Ace Pilot : A villainous version in the form of the fictional German ace, "The Black Falcon".
  • Anyone Can Die: Three main squad members are killed throughout the movie, not to mention the several minor characters and the one pilot strafed on the ground in the beginning.
  • Badass Longcoat: Most of the main characters, but Cassidy in particular for wearing the only gray-black one as opposed to tan.
  • Chekhov's Gun : Literally... (.0.)
  • Curb Stomp Battle: The first dogfight that the Escadrille gets into. The German pilots are more skilled and have better planes.
  • Did Not Do the Research: Allied WWI pilots didn't actually fly bomber escort missions. They did fly a few missions escorting reconnaisance planes, but those were rare exceptions. Likewise, German pilots never escorted Zeppelins, which were only used for maritime reconnaisance and night bombing missions and never over the battlefield.
  • Do a Barrel Roll: The Narmtastic ending.
    • Although this is somewhat Truth in Television. Early dogfights actually did involve guys shooting handguns, rifles, and even dropping bricks on enemy aircraft. And there was actually one incident in which a pilot whose guns had jammed just flew up beside the enemy's plane and headshotted himy with his service revolver in the same manner in which Rawlings finally offs the Black Falcon in the movie. I believe it was American pilot Frank Luke who did this, on whom Rawlings is loosely based.
  • Eagle Squadron : The US hasn't entered the war yet, so the protagonists volunteer into the French air force by themselves.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: One of the pilots in the Black Falcon's squadron shakes his head when the Black Falcon strafes one of the escadrille's Red Shirt pilots while he's on the ground and can't fight back.
    • Truth in Television for the pilots. Early WWI pilots were a fair bit more noble than their contemporaries on the ground. Most pilots of both sides would refrain from shooting pilots on the ground or finishing off an aircraft that had stalled or jammed its guns (the latter being a depressingly common occurrence in the war). The infamous Red Baron was even buried with full military honors by the same guys who had shot him down. There's a deleted scene on the DVD for the movie that has a German pilot showing this bit of honor by dropping a Red Shirt's canvas on the French base.
  • Hey, It's That Guy! : A few of these
    • The sheriff at the start is Mac MacDonald of Red Dwarf
    • Eugene appeared in 2006 Doctor Who episode "Fear Her" as a council road mender.
    • Mr Jensen (the military father) is well-known to British audiences as Stephen Reid from Coronation Street.
    • Mrs Jensen, on the other hand, is better known as Ms Booth from Grange Hill.
  • Holy Hitman: Lyle Porter stencils a reference to 2 Timothy 4:7 on his plane (I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith) and also sings the hymn "Onward Christian Soldiers" during a dogfight.
  • Just Plane Wrong: Lots and lots of red Fokker Dr.I triplanes. In the real world the triplane was rare, and only one was red.
    • Also, the French Nieuport brand of biplanes had rotary engines, while the one's in the film are shown to have static ones. This is somewhat forgivable, considering their all just replicas. What's far worse is that several planes seen in the movie either didn't exist at this point of the war, or were already retired from service.
      • In the commentary, producer Dean Devlin comments that they knew the Red Fokker Triplanes were inaccurate, but they wanted to keep the dogfights easy to follow for the audience by making the aircraft as different as possible.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down : The Black Falcon's entire modus operandi.
  • Old School Dogfighting: Kind of a given, considering World War One was the "Old School" in question.
  • Physics Goof : Even though WWI planes were far lighter and much more nimble than any later-existing military aircraft, their depiction in the movie still strains the Willing Suspension of Disbelief. Some of the manoeuvres they pull off would tear the canvass on their wings to shreds or would be simply impossible with the aircraft engines of the era. All justified by the Rule of Cool, it seems...
    • Also justified by the fact that some of the maneuvers that the DR.1's were capable of pulling off would have had the audiences in complete disbelief. One of the more notable ones is a sideslip (an actual maneuver used by real-world pilots to drop altitude quickly and recover just as quickly). Some German pilots performed this trick to strafe enemy aircraft as they passed. Note that in a sideslip, an aircraft is basically flying sideways. DR.1's could also turn on a dime, almost literally, as one pilot is said to have reversed his aircraft in midair almost instantly, and was able to keep flying.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Briggs Lowry is a racist snob. After he's forgiven by Eugene, the resident minority, he's promptly killed in a dogfight.
    • Word of God is that Lowry was intended to just be a snob, and the conflict between him and Eugene was intended to be based more on class than race. Given American history, the misunderstanding was bound to happen, even though class was definitely there (Lowry: from an exceedingly rich family; Eugene: a boxer). Interestingly, most of the real pilots of the Escadrille actually were more like Lowry than Eugene, coming from fairly well-off families. Eugene is also one of the only characters who was almost completely based on one person who really did fly with the Escadrille. Class/race conflicts as seen in the film likely did actually happen to some extent.
  • Rule of Cool : At least two thirds of the movie.
  • The Obi-Wan: Cassidy
  • The Theme Park Version : Done on purpose, since the creators admitted of liking the Rule of Cool approach to movies like this.
  • Token Minority: Eugene, the black-boxer-turned-pilot. (Based on Eugene Bullard, the first black military pilot.)
  • Upperclass Twit : Lowry is an American version. He gets friendlier and less self-centered as the movie progresses.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Lowry's only in the war to impress his father.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: With changed names, an added romantic sub-plot, and generally glorified pilots.