Wings - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Wings Reviews

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jjnxn
Super Reviewer
May 4, 2009
Masterful and deeply moving.
cosmo313
Super Reviewer
March 14, 2011
Part of what makes this film so important is that it was the first film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Since I haven't seen the other films it was up against, I can't really say if it deserved it or not, but it is still a decent film.

Part of its impact is lost on modern audiences, namely because this is from 1927, it's silent, and in sepia tones, as opposed to being modern, cgi-heavy, in color, and loaded up with balls to the wall sound effects. It's got a nicely hauntng and appropriate pipe organ score, but that's it as far as sound goes.

The story is really basic, and something of a Top Gun for the 20s. it follows two WWI aviators and the girl they're leaving behind as they go off to fight the war. The plot isn't what makes this film special. That honor belongs to the awesome (even now) aerial combat scenes. They are staged well, look cool, and really make you appreciate the ahrd work and effort that goes into practical effects, as well as the touch of movie magic that is all but absent in this day and age. This is sappy and overlong, but still very entertaining and overwhelmingly charming.

Clara Bow, the "It" girl of that era gets top billing, but that's misleading sicne she's not really the focus. She does good with what she's given though. The film belongs to Richard Arlen and Charles "Buddy" Rogers, and they're decent. THere's also a nice and important cameo from Gary Cooper, so that's cool.

All in all, a good film, but maybe not the epic masterpiece some have hailed it as being. Well, maybe not a masterpiece in this day and age, but still pretty good.
jamers2011
Super Reviewer
½ February 12, 2011
For my first silent film ever, Wings more than met my standards, it blew me away. Winner of the very first Best Picture Academy Award, this film is one that every movie buff should see. It really is one of the gems of the silent-film era. I went into this this having never experienced a silent movie before and I absolutely loved it.

For a simple story, this film still packs a powerful punch of emotion. The fact that the film has no dialogue makes the viewer have to try to connect to the story and characters. This makes the audience not only experience the emotion of the characters, but it also allows them to experience it in a way that modern film can't that often. The performances also added to this....Clara Bow, Charles Rogers, Richard Allen....they deliver good performances. The small appearance by Gary Cooper was also very nice.

A thing that surprised me were the special effects. There was never a time in the film where I felt the battle scenes looked fake. They were in no way as real as in today's films, but for 1927, they were very nice.

The music is very nice, too.

Wings is a gem that everyone should see! See this film because it's the very first Oscar winner, but also because it represents one of the most influencial eras in film history. Do not let the 1927 release date keep you away, it's fantastic! I recommend this film to everyone.
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2011
I can't believe I forgot to rate this movie! I saw it a long time ago on TV, and I just loved it. I want to see it again, though, since I don't remember much of it.
Super Reviewer
½ August 21, 2011
So this was the original Best Picture winner...not a bad start. Some of the special effects in this film were very well made, and the story isn't bad either, as far as war epics go.
Super Reviewer
½ May 23, 2007
When I first started my goal of seeing Oscar winning movies I started at the beginning. If this had not been so good, I probably would not have made it too far. I did not expect a film this old to be so action packed, but with bombs exploding and aerial dogfight maneuvers from WWI this is an exciting pic. Yes, there's a melodramatic love triangle too. This is the only film I've seen with Clara Bow, but let me say, she really stands out.
Super Reviewer
May 28, 2014
Wings is something to behold only because it holds the distinction of being the very first Oscar winner for Best Picture. Unfortunately it doesn't hold up anything more than being an historic curiosity. This tale of WWI eventually is done much better in subsequent Hollywood offerings.
Super Reviewer
½ November 3, 2010
I really liked it, surprisingly. A few bits dragged on and the bubbles scene was really lame though. I liked the chemistry between the two guys; I 'felt' their friendship.
Lord Naseby
Super Reviewer
July 1, 2009
I plan to review all of the films that won Best Picture. it's best to start at the beginning so here it is. I really have never been able to not be bored during silent films. the only exception is the 1925 version of the Phantom of the Opera. this movie really did bore me. that is simply because I'm used to the movies of later eras. this is not to say that I could not appreciate this film and the achievement that it was. there were some decent special effects (for 1927). it was all in all a decent film that I could appreciate but it still bored me. Final Verdict: I dunno I can't think of anything to replace this with. I'll say yes then.
lizzardb72688
Super Reviewer
May 31, 2008
Very long, very old, lots of bubbles
December 22, 2015
1920's Paris was a real treat to see in this silent film. The story is unimportant-- this is a visual feast!
½ February 7, 2015
"Wings" is the first film to win the Oscar for Best Picture. It's also the only silent film to do so. This WWI drama, however, doesn't seem like a silent picture. Sure, there's no audible dialogue and there's title cards intercut throughout, but it seems far closer to the classic style of Hollywood filmmaking that we are used to. This distinction, quite honestly, is welcome to me.

The acting, for one, appears to be far more naturalistic. There's less mugging, if you will. Also, the blocking and editing seems reminiscent of what one would see in any war epic from the 30s, 40s, or 50s. I'm even stunned by the level of violence present -- characters often spurt blood soon after being shot. These elements all help me distinguish this film from the silent era (of which I don't feel comfortable giving an un-biased review on) and provide me an easy entry point.

This film came along toward the end of the silent era, explaining its more polished approach. But I am still fascinated by how much the art-form had evolved in just thirty years. Even for today's standards, "Wings" features some stunning imagery. Most notably, the film has some awesome aerial photography and stunts. Stunt flyers perform death-defying aerial maneuvers in WWI-era planes, and camera operators are right there in the cockpit to catch it all. There's no special effects here. Flyers nosedive, crash into buildings, and perform thrilling fly-overs -- making for quite a thrill-ride. I just don't see any of this being done today. Not that it should be. Safety isn't as big of a concern here as it is in the Hollywood of 2015.

It becomes apparent pretty early on that, despite some stirring interpersonal drama, this production is more concerned about realistic aerial set-pieces than with the originality of its story. Like "Pearl Harbor," this work of historical fiction wraps a standard love triangle plot around its war footage. I don't think it would be reaching too far to suggest that the novelty of the film's aerial work was all it took to grant "Wings" the acclaim that it received.

Still, there are some pretty good performances here. Clara Bow stands out. There's even a small role for Gary Cooper. Yes, THE Gary Cooper. Aside from a silly scene in a French nightclub featuring animated bubbles (imagined by our drunk protagonist), there's not much I can complain about. If not the best of the classic war movies, it's at least one of the best WWI films of all time.
½ January 3, 2015
This big budget epic World War I silent film is probably best known for being the first film to ever win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Though that first year their were two categories, with "Sunrise, A Tale of Two Humans" winning artistic achievement. The film is good, but the first hour drags in places. Luckily the second half is a bit more action packed and the scale of the battle scenes is great. The way that the plane action is shot is tremendous, it never feels phony. The war bits of this film hold up great, the plot line about two aviators in love with the same hometown girl is kind of boring. Worth seeing for historical significance and some great World War I plane fights.
½ February 19, 2013
the 'it' girl clara bow plus the first oscar winner 4 best picture lastly, try 2 spot a very young gary cooper in a bit part just starting out.
July 1, 2012
This film was technically adept and also contained some innovative stylistic shots. Having the full cooperation of the war department, the film has some really impressive and (at least to modern viewers) revealing looks at pilot training. In a lot of ways, the film is like one made in the 1950s. The people's lifestyle is not very different, the attitudes are not very different, the special effects are not fundamentally different. The main character especially could easily have been a star in the 50s and fit in perfectly.
½ April 13, 2012
For my first silent film ever, Wings more than met my standards, it blew me away. Winner of the very first Best Picture Academy Award, this film is one that every movie buff should see. It really is one of the gems of the silent-film era. I went into this this having never experienced a silent movie before and I absolutely loved it.

For a simple story, this film still packs a powerful punch of emotion. The fact that the film has no dialogue makes the viewer have to try to connect to the story and characters. This makes the audience not only experience the emotion of the characters, but it also allows them to experience it in a way that modern film can't that often. The performances also added to this....Clara Bow, Charles Rogers, Richard Allen....they deliver good performances. The small appearance by Gary Cooper was also very nice.

A thing that surprised me were the special effects. There was never a time in the film where I felt the battle scenes looked fake. They were in no way as real as in today's films, but for 1927, they were very nice.

The music is very nice, too.

Wings is a gem that everyone should see! See this film because it's the very first Oscar winner, but also because it represents one of the most influencial eras in film history. Do not let the 1927 release date keep you away, it's fantastic! I recommend this film to everyone.
March 4, 2012
The first ever Best Picture Winner in 1927, this is one of only two silent films (2012's "The Artist" being the other) to ever win the big prize. The plot has been redone numerous times since and it sets the standard for all Best Picture winners and war movies to come. I was fortunate enough to see the newly remastered version with a new digitally enhanced picture and an updated musical score. The movie has never looked and sounded better. The movie falters in the Paris section, which takes about 15 minutes, boarding on silliness. But the final half hour is some of the most impressive ariel shots ever put on film. Remember, it was 1927 and CGI wouldn't be created until 50 years later. Despite the romantic story, it is really about two men who cope with being in war. The ending is quite emotional and the entire production is very ambitious, even by today's standards. It may not be the greatest Best Picture Winner, but it is the first one, and at least it starts things off on the right foot.

Grade: A-
February 22, 2012
The special effects are pretty amazing considering the equipment they had but it can't make up for a plot that even back then was predictable and stale.
½ February 1, 2012
a pretty tried-and-true love-and-war story with all the sentimental schmaltz the silent film era had to offer. in almost two and a half hours, both story and character development are surprisingly thin. some of the effects and cinematography are pretty impressive given the era, but the movie as a whole is rather non-compelling as a drama. Buddy Rogers' "hero" character is actually rather detestable....though he often goes through changes of circumstance, he's the same oblivious schmuck through all of it. when all is said and done, this movie ends up being a varying combination of boring and cheesy--it just hasn't stood the test of time very well.
½ March 6, 2009
Wings (1927) -- [7.0] The first Oscar-winning best picture is a little too long, but well paced and very well acted. It holds up a lot better than I thought it would. There's plenty of pathos to sink your teeth into as two men fight over the same woman, then enlist together and become best friends, only to have their old flame reenter their lives and threaten to end their friendship. Make no mistake about it: this movie is about the relationship between the two men. Clara Bow is good, but functions more as a foil until the final act of the movie. I thought the men were amazing. For a silent movie you need great faces, and Charles Rogers and Richard Arlen would be heartthrobs in any generation. Through a tragic turn of events, these guys end up in a touching death bed scene, where they profess their friendship's importance in their lives. "Wings" is not gay, but it does touch upon the homosocial comfort I believe most people, including straight people, need. Few movies seriously explore male relationships outside the extremes of one-dimensional banter or gay love. War movies tend to be the one sub-genre where men can be both men and human.
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