World War II was one of America’s most “cinematic” wars, what with all the easily identifiable bad guys, loads of different characters and settings, and those two atomic bombs. Oh, and the dogfights. But while lots of movies just throw up whatever looks cool on the screen, a relative few take the time and effort to get the details right. Here, for your flying and blasting pleasure, are some of the most accurate depictions of WWII fighter planes in movies.
Most in the aviation-enthusiast community (not to mention the guys that were actually up in the air during WWII) consider this actioner starring Gregory Peck to be the best and most accurate depiction of WWII fighter planes. And it’s no wonder: The movie was produced with the full cooperation of the United States Air Force. And in addition to the highly accurate combat scenes, the movie also features a grittier attitude towards war, making it even more realistic.
Nicholas Ray directed this John Wayne WWII movie, and although it’s not totally free of inaccuracies, some experts cite it as one of the few Hollywood movies to get WWII aviation right. Part of the reason for this is Ray’s decision to incorporate actual combat footage into the fabric of the movie: What better way to get the details right than to actually show footage of the real thing? Some might call it cheating, but it works.
This WWII-era British war film was directed by Walter Grauman, who had a hobby that made him particularly suited to create an accurate depiction of WWII fighter planes: He collected WWII fighter planes. He also had experience in the war as a bomber pilot. And the movie doesn’t disappoint eagle-eyed aviation experts with its variety of planes, many of them authentic aircraft for the war. In case that’s not enough for you, the movie’s technical adviser is said to have pointed out that the fleet of planes used in the movie would rank as the 14th largest air force in the world!