Critics Consensus

A poorly scripted history-rewriting exercise with mediocre acting and unconvincing CGI battle scenes.



Total Count: 127


Audience Score

User Ratings: 88,475
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Movie Info

As World War I rages in Europe and Allied forces in France, Italy, and England find their resolve quickly diminishing due to the overwhelming force of the German juggernaut, a handful of brave American soldiers volunteer to join their French counterparts in learning to fly and fighting for freedom from above as the true story of the legendary Lafayette Escadrille comes to the screen in a breathtaking war adventure from Academy Award-winning director Tony Bill and famed producer Dean Devlin. They have come from all over the United States, ready and willing to put their lives on the line despite their country's initial pledge to not get involved with the all-consuming war that rages throughout Europe. Few could have foreseen the challenges faced by the world's first fighter pilots, however, and upon arriving at their aerodrome in France, the aspiring aviators are assigned to a new squadron under the command of war-ravaged Captain Thenault (Jean Reno) and battle-weary American pilot Reed Cassidy -- the sole survivor of his devastated former air brigade. With little encouragement from their fellow aviators and nothing to drive but their unifying goal of taking to the skies and offering up their lives in the name of freedom, the determined airmen of the Lafayette Escadrille set out to make history by embarking on the adventure of a lifetime. James Franco, Martin Henderson, and David Ellison star in a script penned by Phil Sears, Blake T. Evans, and David S. Ward.


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Critic Reviews for Flyboys

All Critics (127) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (42) | Rotten (85)

  • Aafter a while -- there must be six major fights against unending numbers of German planes -- it feels like special effects run amok.

    Sep 30, 2006 | Rating: 2/4
  • Why make such a corny and incredibly predictable film?

    Sep 25, 2006
  • The painstaking authenticity and appealing cast of Flyboys can't overcome the cloyingly formulaic nature of its story.

    Sep 22, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • This is old-school moviemaking, for better or worse, which means rat-a-tat dogfights in the sky combined with overripe romantic and social clichés on the ground.

    Sep 22, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Besides some fine dogfight sequences, it often feels threadbare, just an exercise in recycling.

    Sep 22, 2006 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Flyboys has computer imaging and a fleet of vintage aircraft on its side, but it remains considerably less convincing than Wings (1927), and less exciting.

    Sep 22, 2006 | Rating: 2/4

Audience Reviews for Flyboys

  • May 26, 2013
    A stereotypical but well-made war film, Flyboys tells a thrilling tale of daring high-flying adventure. Inspired by real events, the story follows a group of recruits who join the Lafayette Escadrile, a core of voluntary American fighter pilots who serviced in the French Air Service during World War I. The special effects are fairly good, though the CGI is noticeable at times. However, the directing does a great job at capturing the energy and excitement of aerial combat. But the story's weak and is full of cliches, and the acting's not much better. Yet despite its short comes, Flyboys is an entertaining action film about a fascinating chapter of World War I history.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 28, 2011
    Jean Reno and James Franco are really great, but this movie suffers in the bad CGI, overly awkward scenes, and some crappy storytelling.
    Willis T Super Reviewer
  • May 07, 2011
    Flyboys suffers from a poor script, filled with cheesy clliches and underwritten characters. Though overall its' too CGI filled, it has enough energetic charm and good battle scenes to make it mildly entertaining.
    Jeffrey M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 26, 2010
    I was very disappointed with this film, and it held so much promise because of the subject matter. The Lafayette Escadrille was a colorful batch of pilots of dubious background and experience that nevertheless were pretty effective as a combat unit. The real-life people involved certainly were interesting enough to warrant a film like this. I think it was a case of a poor script and lack of budget, and selling a war film is never easy.They opted for fictional-based-on-fact set of characters that reduces them to cliches. I suppose they didn't want to be taken to task by creating a character profile of Raoul Lufbery that didn't jive with historical fanatics. The cast wasn't the problem: They were pretty good, even if they were cardboard cutouts of actual historical members of the famous Lafayette Escadrille. James Franco does a decent job as the central Yankee flyer who joins up to flee his past. His love interest is improbable, but at least it had some awkward realism to it. But even the combat situations were stock Hollywood: Rather than attempting to show a historic fight of the Escadrille, they created generic Germans. I guess that once again it was to make the film interesting to non-war buffs, they skimped on accuracy and detail in favor of flash. The CGI combats were too fast, way too fast. These kind of planes were pretty darn slow. The tactics and maneuver was what could make the combat exciting, but they fought like World War 2 aircraft instead. The mix of planes was very limited, so instead of encountering five models of aircraft it was literally the same Nieuports and Fokkers every dogfight. With CGI, you should be able to throw in an occasional odd plane. This is an untapped era of film: The Knights of the Sky, and the much older 'Blue Max' still stands as one of the better depictions of air combat in World War One.
    Mark K Super Reviewer

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