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Wings (1927)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance, War | 5 January 1929 (USA)
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1:10 | Trailer
Two young men, one rich, one middle class, who are in love with the same woman, become fighter pilots in World War I.

Directors:

William A. Wellman, Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast (uncredited)

Writers:

John Monk Saunders (story), Hope Loring (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Clara Bow ... Mary Preston
Charles 'Buddy' Rogers ... Jack Powell (as Charles Rogers)
Richard Arlen ... David Armstrong
Jobyna Ralston ... Sylvia Lewis
El Brendel ... Herman Schwimpf
Richard Tucker ... Air Commander
Gary Cooper ... Cadet White
Gunboat Smith ... The Sergeant
Henry B. Walthall ... David's Father
Roscoe Karns ... Lt. Cameron
Julia Swayne Gordon ... David's Mother
Arlette Marchal ... Celeste
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Rod Rogers Rod Rogers ... Aviator
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Storyline

Two young men from the same town but different social classes end up as fighter pilots in WW1. Jack Preston is a keen auto mechanic, building and modifying cars. David Armstrong comes from a wealthy family. They are both in love with the same woman, Sylvia. Her heart belongs to David but she doesn't let Jack know and plays along with his infatuation. Meanwhile, Jack's neighbour, Mary, is deeply in love with him but he just views her as a friend. WW1 interrupts the romantic entanglements as Jack and David enlist in the US Army Air Service (Air Service of the AEF at the time). They are initially bitter enemies, due to them both vying for Sylvia's affections. Over time, however, they become very good friends. They are both posted to the same fighter squadron in France, where being a fighter pilot means every day could easily be your last. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The war in the air from both sides of the lines See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War | Action

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for war violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 January 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alas See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$746
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System) (musical score and sound effects)| Silent | Dolby Digital (2012 restoration edition)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The U.S. military cooperated heavily in the making of this film, providing thousands of soldiers, millions of dollars worth of equipment, and virtually all of the pursuit planes the army had at the time. See more »

Goofs

When David says goodbye to his stiff and formal parents and is then greeted affectionately by his dog, as he pets the dog's head, a "treat" can be seen hidden in his hand to make the dogs affectionate. See more »

Quotes

British Soldier: Hello Yank, welcome to a very merry little war! And now how about a wee drop for the King and Uncle Sam?
John "Jack" Powell: O.K.!
See more »

Alternate Versions

For opening "roadshow" engagements, some of the battle scenes were shown in color, and half the film was screened in Magnascope (a forerunner to modern widescreen processes). Roadshow presentations also included an overture, intermission, and entr'acte music, all of which were dropped for the general release. See more »

Connections

Featured in Precious Images (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

The Cobbler and the Fairy
(credited on 2012 restored score only)
Written by Luigi Ricci and Federico Ricci
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Good Entertainment, Despite Some Flaws
29 March 2002 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

This entertaining and occasionally impressive movie is still well worth seeing in spite of its flaws. The combat scenes alone make the rest of it worth watching, and Clara Bow gives a very good performance. She has plenty of energy as always, and here she makes her character especially sympathetic. But it has its weaknesses, too. The story is contrived and full of obvious holes, and except for Bow most of the acting is rather routine (Buddy Rogers is as likable as ever, but no more).

The highlights of "Wings" come in the battle scenes, and they are awfully impressive. Done without computers or other such advantages, they are exciting and are usually completely realistic. The aerial dogfight scenes are especially dazzling. This part of the movie is not shallow stuff, either, since it has a good balance between the thrilling and the horrifying. If the main story-line had been better, this could have worked very well as a classic film about the realities of war and its effects on the young persons who must carry the heaviest load in a war.

But unfortunately, it has the story that it has, which could easily have been better. It is far too heavy-handed, and is also riddled with unlikely coincidences, implausible developments, strange decisions by the characters, and many other such holes. If you can somehow look past all these problems, then it produces some moving and emotional moments, but such moments are too often undone by the contrived ways that they are set up. It's just the kind of mess that has often impressed the individuals who vote for well-known awards, but a movie with such strengths deserved to have a much better plot.

Nevertheless, it is still well worth watching for its strengths, and not just because it is the answer to some trivia questions. Just in case there are any modern movie fans who have accidentally wandered into the silents section of the database, please don't think that this is the best of what silent cinema has to offer, just because it won an arbitrary award. There are many silent film masterpieces that are vastly better than this. But it's good entertainment, and has some portions that were made with great skill.


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