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The Tuskegee Airmen (1995)

PG-13 | | Drama, History, War | TV Movie 26 August 1995
The true story of how a group of African American pilots overcame racist opposition to become one of the finest US fighter groups in World War II

Director:

Robert Markowitz

Writers:

Paris Qualles (teleplay), Trey Ellis (teleplay) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Laurence Fishburne ... Hannibal Lee
Allen Payne ... Walter Peoples
Malcolm-Jamal Warner ... Leroy Cappy
Courtney B. Vance ... Lt. Glenn (as Courtney Vance)
Andre Braugher ... Benjamin O. Davis
Christopher McDonald ... Major Joy (as Chris McDonald)
Daniel Hugh Kelly ... Col. Rogers
John Lithgow ... Senator Conyers
Cuba Gooding Jr. ... Billy Roberts
Mekhi Phifer ... Lewis Johns
Christopher Bevins Christopher Bevins ... Young Hannibal
Eddie Braun ... Tail Gunner
Max Daniels ... Left Waist Gunner
Jack Dwyer Jack Dwyer ... Operations Officer
James Field James Field ... Conductor
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Storyline

During the Second World War, a special project is begun by the US Army Air Corps to integrate African American pilots into the Fighter Pilot Program. Known as the "Tuskegee Airman" for the name of the airbase at which they were trained, these men were forced to constantly endure harassement, prejudice, and much behind the scenes politics until at last they were able to prove themselves in combat. Written by Anthony Hughes <husnock31@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The right spirit. The right attitude. The wrong color. See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong war violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 August 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Tuskegee Airmen See more »

Filming Locations:

Fort Smith, Arkansas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Black and White | Black and White (archive footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Laurence Fishburne played the title role in Othello (1995) this same year. A few years later, Mekhi Phifer would play the equivalent role in O (2001). See more »

Goofs

When Cadet Hannibal Lee is release by Major Joy for his first solo flight, he is given the typical order for all first solo flights: "Three circuits around the [traffic] pattern with full stop landings." The scene then cuts to Cadet Lee far above the traffic pattern altitude (obvious to any pilot) which is a violation of the order he has been given. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Young Hannibal: [chasing after biplane] Hey! Hey! Hey! Wait for me!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 18th Annual CableACE Awards (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

One O'Clock Jump
Written by Count Basie
Used by permission of EMI Feist Catalog Inc. (ASCAP)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A story that should have been told long before...
14 March 2005 | by GavnoSee all my reviews

THE TUSKEEGEE AIRMEN is a film that I tend to get very emotional about. I can never see the ending without tears of appreciation, joy and intense pride.

It all comes home for me as a self admittedly rednecked White bomber pilot says in the final briefing: "I have a crew whose lives are my responsibility. If it's all the same to you Sir, I want the 332nd to take me to Berlin and back".

That cinematic statement is a long overdue Thank You from America to the pilots of the 332nd Fighter Group, both the living and the dead, for a job well done.

I personally owe the Tuskeegee Airmen a sincere vote of thanks, as does EVERY Black person who has ever had the honor of having flown a military aircraft for the United States. The Tuskeegee Airmen blazed the trail that made it possible for others to follow.

I've met a couple of the original Tuskeegee pilots, and I've heard their stories. The discrimination and bigotry shown in the film was NOTHING compared to the realities that they faced day after day. Even after the war, as decorated fighter pilots, the bigotry they faced on their return to the US was unbelievable.

One old fighter pilot told me of how he had just come ashore from the troopship in full uniform, and was almost immediately arrested by the military police in New York City on a charge of impersonating an officer and wearing unauthorized decorations; the MP just KNEW that there was no such thing as a Black fighter pilot.

Another told me of his postwar attempts to gain employment as an airline pilot as the lines geared up for the bright future that they saw coming. Ex military pilots with half his experience who were White were being snapped up without question... but after much beating around the bush, he was finally told that even as impressive as his credentials were, there was no place for him in the industry. He recalled that the airline representative that told him was so ashamed that he couldn't look him in the eye as he said it.

Lawrence Fishburn's portrayal of Lt. Hannibal Lee is probably typical of the men who were part of this, the SECOND "Tuskeegee Experiment". They were college graduates, the best of the best, who had survived a system deliberately designed to eliminate them from flight training.

Andre Braugher's testimony (as Col. Ben O. Davis Jr.) before the Congressional committee says it all when he asks what he, as a Black soldier, should think of a nation that despises him even as he lays down his life to defend it... a nation that asks him to fight for principles that don't apply to HIM personally.

The film has technical flaws... every film does... but beyond them it tells a story that, by design or negligence, has been ignored by American history for almost a half century.


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