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Red Tails (2012)

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A crew of African American pilots in the Tuskegee training program, having faced segregation while kept mostly on the ground during World War II, are called into duty under the guidance of Col. A.J. Bullard.


Anthony Hemingway


John Ridley (story), John Ridley (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Terrence Howard ... Colonel A.J. Bullard
Cuba Gooding Jr. ... Major Emanuelle Stance
Nate Parker ... Marty 'Easy' Julian
David Oyelowo ... Joe 'Lightning' Little
Tristan Mack Wilds ... Ray 'Junior' Gannon (as Tristan Wilds)
Ne-Yo ... Andrew 'Smokey' Salem
Elijah Kelley ... Samuel 'Joker' George
Marcus T. Paulk ... David 'Deke' Watkins
Leslie Odom Jr. ... Declan 'Winky' Hall
Michael B. Jordan ... Maurice Wilson
Kevin Phillips ... Leon 'Neon' Edwards
Andre Royo ... Antwan 'Coffee' Coleman
Method Man ... Sticks (as Cliff Smith)
Bryan Cranston ... Colonel William Mortamus
Lee Tergesen ... Colonel Jack Tomlinson


Italy, 1944. As the war takes its toll on Allied forces in Europe, a squadron of black pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen are finally given the chance to prove themselves in the sky - even as they battle discrimination on the ground. It's a tribute to the unsung heroes who rose above extraordinary challenges and ultimately soared into history. Written by 20th Century Fox

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Courage has no color See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sequences of war violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





English | Italian | German

Release Date:

20 January 2012 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Escuadrón Rojo See more »

Filming Locations:

Croatia See more »


Box Office


$58,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,782,154, 22 January 2012, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The bombers the Red Tails are escorting throughout the movie are most likely taking off from Foggia airbase in southern Italy that was captured by the the British Eighth Army in October 1943. See more »


P-51s of the time were bright silver in appearance due to their unpainted aluminum finish. The P-51s in the film are obviously painted silver. (This is quite understandable, as the aircraft used for filming all came with different finishes and had to be repainted.) See more »


Andrew 'Smokey' Salem: When you get upset, when you get mad, you turn red, right? When you get envoius, or sick, you turn green. When you become cowardly, you turn yellow; and ya'll got the nerve to call us colored?
See more »


Referenced in Tosh.0: Bad Breakdancer (2012) See more »


Soldier Boy
Written by Keith Nichols
Courtesy of APM Music
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

"Tails" Doesn't Straight Up and Fly Right
24 January 2012 | by kgny309See all my reviews

For 24 years, George Lucas has been developing a film about the Tuskegee Airmen, the all African American squad of army pilots during World War II. Now, the dream has come true and the final result of "Red Tails" is a too long, tedious, all noise and no heart time killer. It makes one yearn for the memories of Lucas's "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones".

In 1944 Italy, a group of four army pilots has been summoned to protect bombers over Germany. Along the way, they have encounters with friendship, romance, danger and overcoming death.

The film's director, Anthony Hemingway should have stuck to directing TV shows before filming this lackluster effort. John Ridley and Aaron McGruber's script feels third rate and mostly shifts into territories of melodrama and clichés. They should have taken out the bad subplot involving a romance between an Italian girl and one of the pilots and remained focused to expand on the story of the Airmen. The art direction looks like it's been borrowed from too many movies and the action sequences fails to generate any thrills. The visual effects from Industrial Light and Magic add no excitement to the action.

The young actors playing the pilots {David Oyelowo, Nate Parker, Tristan Wilds and Elijah Kelly} and the acting veterans {Cuba Gooding Jr. and Terrence Howard} feel like they're taking their roles forcefully instead of seriously. Both Gooding Jr. and Howard proved one thing in their respective roles: They were both in the film just for the money.

All in all, this fails both in entertainment and as a history lesson. For the past four decades, Lucas wowed audiences by showing them how movies can take people to brand new worlds with "Star Wars" and "Indy". Now, this time, he has failed. Both Lucas and the Tuskegee Airmen deserved better.

In the end, the best thing to come out of this is the thing before the film itself. The "thing" that I'm talking about is the trailer for the upcoming and hopefully very funny "Three Stooges" movie.

Rating: 1 star

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