7.2/10
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The Dawn Patrol (1930)

Passed | | Action, Drama, War | 20 August 1930 (USA)
World War I ace Dick Courtney derides the leadership of his superior officer, but Courtney is soon promoted to squadron commander and learns harsh lessons about sending subordinates to their deaths.

Director:

Howard Hawks

Writers:

John Monk Saunders (story "The Flight Commander"), Dan Totheroh (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Richard Barthelmess ... Dick Courtney
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ... Douglas Scott
Neil Hamilton ... Major Brand
Frank McHugh ... Flaherty
Clyde Cook ... Bott
James Finlayson ... Field Sergeant
Gardner James ... Ralph Hollister
William Janney ... Gordon Scott
Edmund Breon ... Lieut. Phipps
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Storyline

During the First World War, British combat pilot Dick Courtney mocks his commanding officer Major Brand for being too cautious, unaware that Brand is tormented by the requirement of his command that he send young men to their likely deaths in substandard aircraft and with insufficient training. When Brand is transferred, Courtney becomes the commanding officer and quickly realizes the burden Brand labored under. When Courtney's best friend, Douglas Scott, asks him to spare his newly arrived and inexperienced brother Gordon Scott from combat duty, Courtney cannot justify doing so. A rift grows between the friends as Courtney realizes the tragic demands of his job. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Greatest Air Epic Ever! See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | French

Release Date:

20 August 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Flight Commander See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$611,722 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Vitaphone) (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Director Howard Hawks, who was a pilot in the US Army during World War I, flew in the battle scenes as a German pilot. See more »

Goofs

William Janney's character name is credited as "Gordon" on screen, but he is called "Donny" throughout. See more »

Quotes

Major Brand: Officious overdressed brass hat! Orders, orders. Thinks the 59th can't do it, eh? Well, the 59th can do anything he can think up! It's a slaughterhouse, that's what it is, and I'm the executioner!
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Men Who Made the Movies: Howard Hawks (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

Poor Butterfly
(uncredited)
Written by Raymond Hubbell and John Golden
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Air War
17 July 2006 | by deanofrppsSee all my reviews

Many on this board have compared this movie to TOP GUN which is a good movie but lacks Dawn Patrol's depth.

The early version of DAWN PATROL tells a complex tale of leadership and command best illustrated by the scene in which the commanding officer is promoted out of the unit and command falls into the hands of his highly critical, hot dog, second in command. I don't remember exactly was the CO said when he opened the orders relieving him. I believe the line goes, "Now see what you can do now that you can't do everything you want." The tension between the commander and his second is what find to be the most interesting part of the movie. Top Gun simply lacks that type of insight. Top Gun is more of an adventure story of a hot dog pilot.

Movies comparable to Dawn Patrol in the military war genre which attain the understanding of the conflict at the top.are Major Dundee, Twelve O'Clock High and surprisingly the John Wayne film Flying Leathernecks.

This film was remade in 1938 with Errol Flynn in the lead role. I'm told that it was so gripping that French spies on the Luxembourg border went to see it and missed the onset of the German invasion.


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