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Red Tails

HD   PG-13 Closed Captioning

Anthony Hemingway

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About the Movie

Academy Award® Winner Cuba Gooding Jr. and Academy Award® Nominee Terrence Howard lead a powerful ensemble cast in this high-flying epic inspired by the real-life adventures of the first African-American combat unit to serve in World War II. 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. Featuring jaw-dropping aerial action and thrilling special effects, Red Tails is a breathtaking tribute to the unsung heroes who rose above extraordinary challenges and ultimately soared into history.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 130
  • Fresh: 53
  • Rotten: 77
  • Average Rating: 5.2/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Rotten: It's only half of a good movie. As soon as those dogfighting planes land, the story trips up by skimming the surface of history. – Claudia Puig, USA Today, Jan 19, 2012

Rotten: The Tuskegee Airmen, the trailblazing African American pilots who fought off segregation and Nazis during World War II, merit a great film. "Red Tails" isn't it. – Amy Biancolli, San Francisco Chronicle, Jan 19, 2012

Fresh: An inspiring, rousing tribute to the heroic, history-changing Tuskegee Airmen and World War II movies of the '40s, "Red Tails'' would probably be acclaimed as a minor masterpiece if it was directed by Quentin Tarantino. – Lou Lumenick, New York Post, Jan 20, 2012

Fresh: One can get away with a lot of cornball speeches a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away but it doesn't work nearly as well a short time ago on planet Earth. – James Berardinelli, ReelViews, Jan 23, 2012

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

What was right?

This movie gets one star purely because it was about WW2 airwarfare and Me-262 jets were shown. For my credentials, I am a private pilot and have been around planes (even warbirds like the movie shows) for many years. I don't know where to begin, so I will do it in points. Please comment on what you think:

1) The first five minutes of the movie show you that the script was written the night before the shoot. The white American bomber and fighter pilots have some of the worst lines and acting that I've seen. German pilots are shown as one-dimensional racists who of course grossly underestimated the black pilots in every single engagement.

2) George Lucas shows again that he has no concept of making an interesting or even believable love story. The cliche romance scenes in the movie between the pilot and the Italian woman are very painful to watch. Halfway into the movie, she tells him that she loves him...which is the second scene we see them together. That wouldn't be so bad if the movie developed the relationship to that point, but it never even comes close to justifying a hug. Two people are brought together and the audience has no reason to believe that they should be in love.

3) I realize that computer graphics are a big part of the movie industry right now. However, directors need to understand the negative impacts of heavy computer usage on the movie. There is not one scene of the movie where a real, tangible airplane is shown. Even while performing maintence on the P-40s on the ground, the planes are obviously CG. Some scenes show the whole Tuskegee camp, which is unfortuantely completely CG. Real props and sets would help immerse us into the movie better. I understand that most flying sequences can be CG, but the graphics and the lighting on the planes makes everything look very fake and cartoonish at times.

4) On a slight note, the sounds of the movie were all over the place. Some planes made noises of turbochargers even though they weren't, and the variety of "pod-racer" type noises during dog fights sounded very fake and unlike anything I have ever heard before. The sounds compared with tons of CG distanced the combat from the audience.

5) Racial cliches. Yes, of course, a white man calls a black man a common racial slur in a bar and gets punched in the face for it. I believe I've had that same scene shoved down my throat in a dozen different movies.

6) TOO MANY CHARACTERS. Instead of focusing intently on one or three people that the audience really gets to know and enjoy, we are forced to endure scenes with so many characters that we end up not caring about any of them. By the end of the movie, we really don't know anything more about anybody. Some of their actions in the air contradict their earlier character traits.

So those are my points. I hope you comment if you agree or not. Again, this film had a lot of potential. Sadly, acting was so very poor and the forced romance so badly written that the last 3/4's of the movie were incredibly painful. Special effects and computer graphics are used so much that the whole movie seems like a cartoon. Impossible aerial manuevers and improbabilites (a lone P-51 sets a destroyer into a burning inferno with only a few rounds of .50 cal bullets) help distance the audience from the dangers actually experienced by the Tuskegee Airmen. Please save your money and do not rent or buy.


I'm a fan of history and well versed about the Tuskegee Airmen. This is purely an action movie that simply scratches the surface on the historical side. For example, Col. A.J. Bullard, played by Terrence Howard, is the Hollywood version of Col. Benjamin O' Davis Jr. Col. Davis was the real-life commander of the 332nd Fighter Group. Nonetheless, the historical parts that you can recognize from the movie are pretty accurate. The countless air-to-ground missions and dirty, unappreciated jobs they were ordered to undertake, going from P-40s to P-51s, etc, were all historically significant, and captured in this movie. Additionally, the movie payed hommage to the Tuskegee Airmen by separating Hollywood from history, and capturing the heart, courage, and perseverance of the 332nd. It was made to be an action movie, and a really good action movie it was. However, it could've been better. For example, the dialogue was too scriptish and kind of cheesy at times, but the dog-fighting scenes and character relationships more than made up for it. Overall, a very good entertaining movie, and I would recommend it to anyone.


Its taken Lucas something like 20 years to bring this movie to the screen. He should have spent a few more getting a better script. This is not a historical tale of the Tuskegee Airmen. This is a sad attempt at Top Gun in WWII with black pilots. There is little history in this story and what little there is is lost in the horrible dialogue and random plot turns. The acting is fine, the effects and dogfights are enjoyable and the scenery is epic, the script however is boring and contrived. It follows four stereotypical pilots across an indeterminate time period through all the racial scenarios you expect to see. This is not a deep reflective movie, it is a weak action flick with little else.

Red Tails
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Customer Ratings