Best Air Force Movies
1. Dr. Strangelove (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb) (1964)
Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove is a masterpiece. Full Metal Jacket, directed by Stanley Kubrick, is one of the most recognizable Marine films ever made. As the Cold War came to a close, this film masterfully conveys the sense of fear and uncertainty that the American people felt.
A B-52 bomber cockpit, a Pentagon “war room,” and government leaders’ brains were all depicted in Kubrick’s film, which was made without the approval of the Department of Defense or the Air Force.
The plot centres around Air Force General Jack D. Ripper’s order to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike on Russia and the haphazard attempts to undo it. Dr. Stangelove, as well as the president and two other characters, are all played by Peter Sellers.
The entire film is a parody of nuclear deterrence theory. Revolting Air Force commander sets off chain of events that will lead to Mutually Assured Destruction in Kubrick’s film. The movie’s comedy is so effective because the characters don’t realize how absurd their behaviors are. With lines like “Gentlemen, you cannot fight in here!,” the film pokes light at both American and Russian answers. And Slim Pickens’ whoopin’ ride to the finish line. “This is our war room!”
2. The Day After (1983)
On the other hand, The Day After depicts the utter devastation and desperation following a nuclear strike. I was born in the 1980s, and fallout drills were a part of my childhood. The rural area where I grew up had a fallout shelter at my school.
In 1983, ABC aired The Day After, a made-for-TV movie depicting the day after nuclear war. My family and I were captivated to the TV. One of the scariest movies of all time, in my opinion, was “The Exorcist.”
An escalation to nuclear war is shown in this film, which is based in Lawrence, Kansas. The Minuteman II missile silos in nearby Missouri and the airmen who are responsible for its deployment are featured in this non-Air Force film, despite the fact that it is not. This film is a powerful reminder of the Cold War’s euphoria because to its stark visuals and powerful performances by Jason Robards, JoBeth Williams, and Steve Guttenberg. Still the most-watched television film of all time, the film makes my blood freeze.
3. Strategic Air Command (1955)
As far as movies go, this is the one with the most ties to the military. Produced in 1955, “Dutch” Holland’s return to active service and the expansion and readiness of the AF’s nuclear arm, Strategic Air Command, are both depicted in the film (SAC).
Former B-29 pilot and current Cardinals third baseman Dutch Holland plays Jimmy Stewart in the film. As a tribute to real-life SAC leader General Curtis LeMay, the fictional General Ennis Hawks is summoned to Holland to learn the B-36 Bomber and eventually assume command of the newer B-47 jet-powered bombers.
The film’s goal was to publicize the sacrifices and missions of SAC soldiers, and it succeeds. The B-36 Peacemaker and the B-47 Stratojet’s flying shots will delight military aviation aficionados. The fact that Jimmy Stewart was a genuine WWII B-24 Liberator pilot lends credibility to the film.
For a brief insight into life on a bomber base, the film accurately depicts flight-line procedures. The B-47 “elephant stride” brings back memories of living at RAF Lakenheath and the incessant screams of F-15Es overhead. In the event that you are a patriot, you will enjoy this film. I was in the Air Force for 20 years, and after viewing this movie, I was thinking about re-enlisting.
4. Air Force (1943)
Mary-Ann, a B-17 bomber, took out from California on December 6, 1941, bound for Pearl Harbor. Their flight into history was completely unexpected.
On September 11, 2001, these soldiers flew right into the center of what was to become one of the most audacious attacks in American history, unarmed and unprepared. It is based on historical events, although the bulk of the film is made up as it follows the Mary-Ann and her crew through the Pacific War.
The B-17 planes, the ground scrambles to keep ahead of the Japanese, and the grief of the families left behind are all included in the film, which evokes patriotism. B-17 bomber planes are featured prominently in this film, which is sure to please aviation aficionados. These “rebuild” sequences using salvaged B-17 pieces brought back memories of GWOT in the early days, when C-5 Galaxies were assembled from non-mission-capable parts. That is, minus the machine gun fire and the inevitable Japanese overrun.
Because it was filmed in 1943, the film’s patriotic and pro-war tone is clear. Making use of prejudice towards Japanese-Americans and depicting Japanese soldiers as monstrous creatures, it was designed to keep the American public engaged in the war effort. Despite its age, the film provides an accurate depiction of the prevailing feelings of the time.