Aces High - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Aces High Reviews

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July 4, 2015
very dark and shows the true horrors of war
½ June 1, 2015
Reasonable, if predictable, WWI flick, with decent flight sequences for the time.
May 17, 2015
Aces High is an excellent film. It is about the high casualty rate among the rookie pilots of the Royal Flying Corps during WWI. Malcolm McDowell and Christopher Plummer give amazing performances. The screenplay is well written. Jack Gold did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the drama and action. Aces High is a must see.
November 23, 2013
This is the WW1 flying film I've always wanted to see. It's what Flyboys wanted to be. This film is about a week in the life of a British squadron on the western front. They fight, they fly, they party, they suffer. They are not cartoon heroes, but real characters. Each one seems to be based on a different pilot and method of coping. They have the fresh recruit, the shellshocked survivor, the tortured commander, the courteous older veteranā?¦ Malcolm McDowell's war hero commander is probably the most complicated character. He has wild mood fluctuations, needs booze to get in the cockpit, and occasionally expresses a childish enthusiasm that seems utterly at odds with his normal persona. The only thing is that given McDowell's other roles, I kept expecting his inner psycho to come out. It's a wonderful performance, it's just a matter of expectations.

At any rate, I've been looking for a good WW1 flying film and until now found them all surprisingly lacking. The Blue Max was grim and rather unlikeable, Flyboys cliche-ridden and cheesy, Biggles a farce, Red Baron overly-enthralled with its hero, and most of the others are much older and thus more limited in what they can present. This is rather the best of the lot.
July 19, 2013
Pretty good World War I period piece with some fine performances (particularly from Christopher Plummer) and excellent aerial action sequences. Unfortunately, the direction is uneven and includes some jarring mixing of lighthearted music and dialogue with somber situations, making some of the acting feel forced and giving the whole film an unpolished feel. Still, it gives us a good picture of the typically short lives of RFC pilots, and it does make us care about them, so it's a good film despite its rough edges. Three stars.
September 24, 2012
Journey's End in the Air
June 3, 2012
A rare example of Malcolm McDowell breaking through his typecasting of crazy deviant villain and getting to play a normal person. His performance as squadron leader Major John Gresham sports allot heart and humanity in addition to his own unique eccentricities that showcases the mostly unused range as an actor he possess. After a career of playing heavies and crazies you're almost waiting for McDowell to crack up in some way, but those honors go to Simon Ward, as an aviator whose will and slowly his mind unravel over the course of a few weeks. The film's countdown of days acts as an effective tie to a rather ominous line of dialogue from Ward and gives the movie's final scene of fresh recruits reporting for duty extra emotional heft. Christopher Plummer, who flew a bi-plane more then 20 years later in the WW II drama Closing the Ring, here lends able support as "uncle" to the young aviators and shares good chemistry with McDowell. He's an actor who can just as easily intimidate (see The Scarlett & the Black) as appear to be extremely compassionate and reassuring as he is in this film; acting as a sort of den mother to both young and old in the squadron. The movie capture well the carefree attitude of the flyers often in stark contrast to the poor grunts who fight in the trenches. Nonetheless danger and death haunt every moment they are in the skies as the movie shows some remarkably horrible deaths including plane on plane collision and one pilot catching fire in his plane and jumping out, burning all the way down to the ground. In comparison to more recent films on WW I aviation like Flyboys and The Red Baron, the drama covers similar ground and it clearly outdone in the aerobatic sequences in terms of intensity with CG effects, but the performances are more engaging here I feel. There is also an argument to be made that the reality of real planes flying through the air makes a better impact visually then seeing well-rendered but obvious CG planes dueling it out. Including The Blue Max, there are few in this sub-genre of war film and if you are a fan then this movie is a must watch.
December 12, 2011
Bit of a dull war movie here. Mcdowell and Plummer are certainly interesting to see on screen together, but can;t really save this tedious movie here.
½ July 6, 2011
The marvelously realized aerial sequences do not nearly compensate for its overly familiar narrative.
January 9, 2010
Good World War 1 Flying film. Less showy than its flashier 1960s cousin "The Blue Max". This time we are on the British side of the lines and it's all a bit Biggles Goes To War, but the view of life in the Royal Flying Corps is rather less optimisitic than Captain WE John's wrote it.
January 8, 2010
A true account of WW1 flying
½ December 9, 2009
Um...yeah! It was kinda boring, felt long even though it was only about 96 mins and a strange ending!
September 22, 2009
Journey's End in the Air
July 4, 2009
Very good world war I movie about two men who were friends back home now flying together in the war. Malcolm McDowell stars at the iron willed squadron commander, and Peter Firth as a rookie flier who tries to become a great pilot and win the respect of McDowell. The movie also stars Christopher Plummer, with appearances by Sir John Gielgud, Trevor Howard and Ray Milland.

Great aerial batter sequences, except for a couple of scenes that were taken from "The Blue Max" which is my only complaint about the movie that they didn't create their own scenes instead.
½ April 20, 2009
Great to see a First World War aviation film. A baby Peter Firth (better known to my generation as Harry Pierce from Spooks) is great amongst an equally brilliant cast. Too bad the story isn't as good as it could have been.
March 15, 2009
wow what a movie 2 watch...i have just seen this movie 4 the 1st time n think that this is a good movie 2 watch,...its got a good cast of actors/actressess throguhout this movie...i think that malcoml mcdowell, christopher plummer, simon ward, trevor howard, ray milland, peter firth, david wood, john gielgud play good parts throughout this movie...i think that the director of this Drama, Action & Adventure movie had done a good job of directing this movie because you never know what 2 expect throguhout this movie its a good war movie 2 watch its got a good cast throguhout this movie...i think that the fight scenes n the gun shoot outs were pretty kewl thorughout this movie
February 22, 2009
A good WWI aviation drama - the flying sequences are slightly less impressive than some others, such as The Blue Max, but the drama on the ground is what makes this film soar above the others dealing with the subject of WWI airmen. The cast is very good, including Malcolm McDowel, Simon Wardl and Christopher Plummer, and cameos by greats such as Trevor Howard and John Gielgud.
November 5, 2008
A change from the Battle of Britain type films sees WW1 Royal Flying Corp pilots fighting the hun. I must say I had no idea they weren't given parachutes, no wonder they were known as the 20 minuters! Slightly corny but some great flying sequences and some poignant moments.
September 4, 2008
Aces High has a a couple of good dogfight sequences and also shows the dangers faced by First World War pilots mainly they have no parachutes. Also shownquite well in the
½ September 3, 2008
An interesting portrayal of life on the front line for airmen towards the end of the First World War. Some excellent dogfight scenes.
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