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Oldschool airplane/helicopter movies and tv shows


Senior Member
There's something about those 60's, 70's and 80's movies and tv shows centered on airplanes and helicopters that makes them better than most of the latest productions... I don't know what it is - not the cheesy special effects for sure, and I don't think it's the nostalgia as well...

So, what's your favorite airplane/helicopter movie / tv show?

For me it's:

- Blue Thunder - I was like:

when I first saw Blue Thunder as a kid

and it was my favorite movie until I discovered:

- Airwolf (no wonder when you look at my nick ;] ) - I first watched this tv show when I was 14... almost everything seemed perfect about the show... great cast, excellent music, interesting story, attention to detail... and it made my next few years, and later I've been creating some Airwolf based game addons (for MS Flight Simulator, Operation Flashpoint), 3D Animations, even music remixes... I still have a certain sympathy for this show so, maybe one day I will build T-Rex/HK 600 based RC Airwolf?...

And same sequence recreated by somebody in OFP (using my addon Airwolf model):

- Top Gun - I'm not a big fan of the short scientologist guy and I never was, but thanks to this movie being a Tomcat fighter pilot is most certainly almost every boy's wet dream, and It wasn't any different in my case... Opening sequence as well as final credits still give me the chills down my spine...

- Final Countdown - I like every movie about time travel as much as aircraft movies and once I discovered Final Countdown I tought it was even better than Top Gun - it's strange for me that the simple idea of today military fighting against armies of the past wasn't really never explored in other movies...

- Last but not the least one - Battle of Britain - great, historically correct aerial sequences and interesting plot... this movie is soooo much better than "Pearl Harbor" for example, and at least as good as "Tora! Tora! Tora!" or "Midway"....



Flying Derp
Here are two classics I like. There are others but this one's theme song always gets stuck in my head.

Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines

The Blue Max

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Stuck in Sunny FL
Staff member
#633 SquadronAAbove and BeyondAces HighAir AmericaAir ForceAir Force OneAirportAirportAirportAir PowerAlwaysApollo 13The AviatorThe AviatorBBat 21The Battle of BritainBehind Enemy LinesThe BirdmenThe Blue MaxBombers B 52The Bridges at Toko RiCCaptains of the CloudsCatch-22Chain LightningCommand DecisionDThe Dam BustersDark Blue WorldThe Dawn PatrolDevil Dogs of the AirDive BomberEExecutive DecisionFFate is the HunterFighter SquadronFinal CountdownFirefoxThe First of the FewFlight CommandThe Flight of the IntruderFlight of the PhoenixFlight of the PhoenixFlyboysFlying FortressFlying LeathernecksFlying TigersGGod is my Co PilotThe Great Waldo PepperA Guy Named JoeGypsy AngelHHanover StreetHell's AngelsHigh And The MightyThe High Road to ChinaThe HindenburgIIron EagleLLadies CourageousLost SquadronMThe Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying FortressMemphis BelleMidwayNNo Highway in the SkyOOne Six RightOnly Angels Have WingsPPearl HarborPiece of CakeProject XRThe Red BaronThe Right Stuff The RocketeerSSky captain an the world of tomorrow Space CowboysSpirit of St LouisSpitfireThe Strategic Air CommandTTail SpinTail SpinTest pilotThirty Seconds over TokyoThose Magnificent Men and Their Flying MachinesThunderboltTop GunTora! Tora! Tora!The Tuskegee AirmenTwelve O'Clock HighWThe War LoverWingsWings of the NavyIndiana Jones and the Last Crusade

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- Mel Gibson

- Harrison Ford




series: from the 50s, using WW11 films.

- Tom Hanks

- Christopher Reeves (1985)

- Leonardo Dicaprio (2004)

-1954 Story of the RAF 917 Squadron in WW2

- Kurt Russell

: a nice mix of aviation and science fiction...





with John Wayne

-1975 One opinion version of the cause of the LZ-129's demise at Lakehurst,NJ.

-1990 Story of the first B-17 to make 25 missions in the bombing campaign of Germany in WW2- A bit hokey at times,but some good B-17 footage

-1976 Lots of carrier based aircraft action

(1939)- Howard Hawks directed this story of early air transport in South America: Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Richard Barthelmas, Rita Hayworth, lots of others you'll recognize. A VERY underrated film in my opinion. Try it.

(1988)- based on Derek Robinson's book of same name. I believe they used several RC models for this one. Excellent BBC miniseries. They fly two-blade Hurricanes in the book, but Spitfires in series.

(flying monkeys)

(Recent German movie, I don't think has been released in the US yet)

- Jimmie Stewart

(AKA The First of the Few)

(not a movie but great cartoon with ~30-40's style planes)

- Tom Cruise

-1970 Pearl Harbor story

-1949 Classic aviation flick with great B-17 sequences

(1927)- directed by William Wellman, won two Oscars. One of the first and greatest.

And a mention for




Senior Member
Oh... I hope I'm wrong, but I think that's gonna be an epic fail...

Why? Two words: George Lucas.

Not only the aerial shots look like a computer game, but Lucas is going to put Jar-Jar as one of the main characters for sure... and there will be a talk about the midichlorian count in blood of African American pilots, American pilots and German pilots too... Meesa don't like! But what meesa likes is Me-262 (first movie ever to feature them?) ;)))
Still doesn't really count as oldschool movie anyway ;]

FM: That's a whole lot of favorite movies ;P But there are some very good titles on this list indeed:

- Flight of Intruder
- Bat 21
- Firefox (I forgot that one!)
- Memphis Belle
- Rocketeer

I like those movies very much.

BTW - maybe some of you can give me a hint about a movie I remember, but I don't remember it's title... It was about american jet pilot (F-16 pilots I think) who was shot down behind enemy lines and some friend (?) of him took another F-16 to bail him out of the prison. There were plenty of dogfight scenes between F-16's and Mirages (or maybe Kfirs, because I think this movie was American-Israeli coproduction)...


Some of the scenes on the Red Tail trailer did seem rather shallow. I'd have preferred to see Terrance Howard's character be more militant toward command and command to be more reluctant toward the idea of the Tuskeegee Airmen flying cover.

I can live with the CGI graphics. They should be amazing on the big screen.

Oh, and October Skies is a great movie. It was released in 1999.


Ebil Filleh Pega-Bat ^.^
I love the iron eagle movies.
Well... the forth one was just too cheesy to sit through, but the first one was really good, especially with the awesome soundtrack, the second one was good, not as much as the first, but was interesting the parallels with the first Iraqi war (like the initials of the operation Dark Star being the same as Desert Storm). The third one was more as a "fun to watch" movie than anything else, definately not to be taken seriously...

But the forth... uffff... makes me feel nauseated just thinking about it!!

Now, another series I like the flight sequences from is JAG, especially when Rabb is flying in his Stearman, what a beautiful plane!! (I know it's not oldschool, sorry, but I think it's worth it)