Main      Site Guide    
At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The Dawn Patrol (1938)



Reviews and Comments

First-rate aerial photography, including some amazing birds-eye view of bomb drops, don't quite compensate for this overly calculated anti-war message about bomber pilots during the first World War. Ironic, that a film so heavyhanded about trying to convince us that war is meaningless would be made only a few short years before the world had a very meaningful and justified reason to fight another one. History itself is this film's rebuttal.

But as a snapshot of the times, it serves well. The cast, headed by Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone, and David Niven, make the best of it. The best moments are unexpected subtleties: a jolly camaraderie, for example, with a captured German pilot. Here is a picture of a war fought in the skies; when the wheels touch down, the men on both sides punch out for the day.

Other Versions