Flyboys is a famous war film that aired in 2006 about a World War 1 set starring jean Reno, James Franco, Tyler Labine, and other actors. The film is about the combat and training experiences of young Americans who wanted to become fighter pilots and volunteered in Lafayette Escadrille which was formed by French in 1916. The themes of the film are racial prejudice, friendship, love and revenge. The film terminates with an epilogue that is concerned and related to the fate of each American pilot who joined Lafayette Escadrille.
In this paper, we will cover a critical analysis of the movie from a historical point of view in order to determine whether the movie is inspired by true events or not. There are many wiggle-room in the sentence that the movie is inspired by true events. The movie has most of the scenes of basic fights right. Thenault was a real commander as we read the history and was a real squadron commander as shown in the movie which was played by Jean Reno. From history, it is also confirmed that escadrille had whiskey, the lion as a mascot as also shown in the movies. In reality, there were two lions and the name of the other lion was Soda and after a playful Whiskey, a lion knocked the squadron commander down into the mud. The lions were later moved to the zoo after this incident. The script includes the scenes of real pilots who are having detailed discussions about the merits and demerits of various planes but it does not include any display of how quickly and rapidly technology changed in World War 1.
There are many notable inaccuracies in the movie from a historical point of view. In one scene while rescuing Beagle, some of the soldiers of German army were shown wearing Pickelhaube which was abandoned by then and replaced by stahlhelm in 1916 to reduce the number of injuries of head suffered by German soldiers. Another noticeable error in the movie was that the Germans were operating the Fokker while American pilots were flying Nieuport which were no longer operational. To be very precise about historical facts, the film is not about real Lafayette Escadrille (Miller). It can, however, be considered as a generic World War 1 aviation film that was aimed at featuring the fight of Americans with France in World War. In the movie, they show the dogfight of planes along with the training of the pilots. The movie is not an accurate and exact demonstration of real events of the World War but it nevertheless shows and represents a historical event and has some basis. The inaccuracies and bugs that can be seen in the films can be considered as errors in the direction and production of the film and cannot be used to negate the whole idea of relevance to the history. The movie reflects many beliefs and values that are essential for a fighter pilot or any other pilot. Anyone who chooses to fight must have a reason and the movie explains some of these reasons. It includes many stories related to the pilot code of honor and etiquette which include not shooting a jet or plane which is crashed already or going down, not shooting a pilot who possesses a jammed gun or to the civilians. Viewers will actually learn a lot about warfare, training and sequence of the air war. The training sequence is very good and exhibits professionalism and of fighter pilots by indicating important historical facts and stories. The movie is not entirely accurate from a historical point of view nevertheless it has a clear link with a historical event from World War 1.
Miller, Roger Gene. Like a Thunderbolt: The Lafayette Escadrille and the Advent of American Pursuit in World War I. Air Force History and Museums Program, 2007.
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