Hell's Angels (1930)

Hell's Angels


No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...


Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

No one was surprised in 1929 that aviation mogul Howard R. Hughes would produce a paean to World War I flying aces like Hell's Angels. Given Hughes' comparative inexperience as a moviemaker, however, everyone was taken slightly aback that the finished film was as good as it was. The very American Ben Lyon and James Hall play (respectively) Monte and Roy Rutledge, a couple of British brothers who drop out of Oxford to join the British Royal Flying Corps. Several early scenes establish Lyon and … More

Rating: PG
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Classics
Directed By: , , , , ,
Written By: Marshall Neilan, Harry Behn, Howard Estabrook, Joseph Moncure March
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 7, 2004



as Monte Rutledge

as Roy Rutledge

as Helen

as Karl Arnstedt

as Baron Von Kranz

as Lt. Von Bruen

as Capt. Redfield

as Baroness Von Kranz

as Lady Randolph

as Staff Major

as Staff Major

as Squadron Commander

as Zeppelin Commander

as Zeppelin Commander

as Gretchen

as Elliott

as Von Schleiben

as Marryat

as Girl Selling Kisses

as Von Richthofen

as Girl Selling Kisses

as Anarchist

as Pilot

as Pilot

as Pilot
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Hell's Angels

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Critic Reviews for Hell's Angels

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (4)

The machine guns are real machine guns, the bombs are real bombs, the drum of motors is the drum of genuine motors. But the actors themselves are false, puny, inadequate, the only real automatons in a world of vital steel.

Full Review… | April 29, 2013
The New Republic
Top Critic

It's no sappy, imbecilic tale.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

The end result is barely adequate. But it does feature a spectacularly elaborate World War I dogfight, and an equally fine Zeppelin sequence. And of course there's Harlow.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

These air scenes, with the crashing of flaming planes, have never been matched on the screen.

Full Review… | January 28, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Dramatically, it's a giant flop; and the wooden filmmaking technique only burdens it more. Still, it's hard not to see what wowed audiences in 1930.

Full Review… | May 11, 2014
Antagony & Ecstasy

Like a James Cameron movie, it's epic with great action sequences, but weak when it comes to the performances.

Full Review… | September 12, 2010
Three Movie Buffs

Audience Reviews for Hell's Angels


Of interest more as a historical landmark than a great film. The aerial scenes are very impressive especially those in rudimentary color but the acting of the leads keeps the film from being remarkable. An 18 year old Jean Harlow is very green as a high society jezebel but holds the screen with the magnetism of a star plus it is the only chance to see what she looked like in color which in a strange way makes her more real even if the color is garish. The same can not be said of her co-stars. Both Hall and Lyon have moments that register however by and large they are stiff and dull, you have to wonder how much better this would have been with Gable & Spencer Tracy or James Cagney in the leads. John Darrow is good as Karl but his part is small. It's easy to see why this was a big hit on release just as talkies were dawning but now it is more of an artifact of time and place that a compelling viewing experience.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer

I can't believe how well this movie has held up over almost 100 years. One of the earliest sound pictures, and it still fairly explodes off the screen.

Everyone talks about the gripping aerial sequences, which deserve their sterling reputation. But I was also floored by Jean Harlow's almost demonic portrayal of a sex-crazed woman with no allegiance to anything but her own pleasure. I can see why there were calls for censorship shortly after this picture was released.

Also captivating were some of the dramatic sequences, such as the murder of the German soldier dangling from the zeppelin. Director Howard Hughes demonstrates mastery of story-telling in some of these sequences. The final sequence involving the lead character shooting his own brother was immensely powerful.

Anyone who cares about cinema's history has to put "Hell's Angels" on their must-see list. It is shocking that it didn't receive a Best Picture nomination in 1930. Preposterous. Hollywood must have felt incredibly jealous of Hughes, just as they were jealous of Orson Welles 10 years later. I am sure Welles considered Hughes a hero and inspiration.

Bill D 2007
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer

Seen it a while back, can't remember anything about it, so it wasn't that special.
What's really cool, is the true story behind the movie. Howard Hughes (the director) could've been considered a wealthy madman, a narcissist with what they call a Compulsive Disorder these days. Can't wait to start on that book about him: Howard Hughes - His Life and Madness.

Saskia D.

Super Reviewer

Hell's Angels Quotes

– Submitted by Chris P (4 years ago)

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