The Dawn Patrol Reviews
June 20, 2012
Clear eyed depiction of the cost and dangers for bombers during wartime. Errol Flynn is very good, a reminder that he was excellent not only in period pictures and westerns but quite capable in modern dress dramas. Strong supporting cast helps with Basil Rathbone standing out as a man who understands but is troubled by the weight of his duty even while others do not and is compassionate enough when the that weight has shifted to offer solace. David Niven's star moved much higher with his performace here, it would still be a few years before he moved into the top ranks but he was done with unimportant roles from this point on. Goulding's direction is steady and assured.
May 12, 2008
From the era when being an aviator was cool. Anti-War film in the sense that the strain of combat and the haunting pain of loosing friends in battle is not hidden from the audience, but still seen as heroic and worth the risk. Young Niven and Flynn stand out here. Seen it years ago, need to see it again to make a better/fair evaluation
August 1, 2007
I always love a good World War One drama. Especially this one with Errol Flynn. It was a little slow for me sometimes but overall it was pretty good. The dogfight scenes were wonderful.
May 5, 2010
Great WW1 flying drama.
A remake of Howard Hawks' "The Dawn Patrol" (1930) (sometimes known as "Flight Commander"). Not sure why it needed to be remade - it was great as it was.
This version doesn't add anything. Plot is almost to-the-letter identical to the original. Flying sequences and cinematography here are about as good, even though this movie was made 8 years later.
Not that there's anything wrong with this movie. Still a very gritty and accurate look at life, and death, in a Royal Flying Corps (RFC) fighter squadron. Details fairly well the burden of command, of sending pilots to almost certain death.
One area where this version trumps the original is in the performances. The original's performances weren't bad, but weren't great either. Here the performances are superb, especially from Errol Flynn, David Niven and Basil Rathbone.
As said, not sure why this was (re)made, but a great movie nevertheless.
January 4, 2014
Love the Herman Goering lookalike in the final dogfight
October 26, 2011
"Man is a savage animal who, periodically, to relieve his nervous tension tries to destroy himself."-Capt. Courtney (Errol Flynn)
June 28, 2011
[80/B] This is an excellent war drama that focuses on the camraderie, emotional politics, and perseverance of a hard-drinking, stiff-upper-lipped squadron of the Royal Flying Corps during World War I, where routine patrols and daily low-flying sorties against German troop deployments mean the loss of many young, inexperienced fighter pilots, and the the grim accounting of those who survive them.
It's all rather dialogue-rich stuff, built on the banter of indomitable friends (and rueful commanders) between missions, snatching merriment where they can before going back up again against bad odds, with measures of cheerful determination and the customary "war is hell" platitudes somewhat staidly presented. It nevertheless sails along very well upon the sturdy wheels of a solid script and pro acting by Rathbone, Niven, and especially Flynn, in fine form and perfectly cast to embody the chipper heroics of these aces.
Includes a lot of nifty dogfight footage, and some evocative location cinematography. Well worth your time.
December 11, 2010
Flynn and Niven very natural, and Rathbone even cracks a smile as the not quite baddy. Some good flying scenes, mostly from the 1930 original, even if the aircraft are all wrong for 1915. But it was the time of the Fokker Scourge, so the events are trueish enough.