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Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Bryan Cranston, Nate Parker, David Oyelowo ... see more see more... , Tristan Wilds , Method Man , Lee Tergesen , Ne-Yo , Elijah Kelley , Andre Royo , Kevin L. Phillips , Leslie Odom, Jr. , Marcus T. Paulk , Michael B. Jordan , Lars Van Riesen

1944. To help win the war, the Pentagon brass has no choice but to consider the untested African-American pilots of the experimental Tuskegee training program. Just as the young Tuskegee men are about... read more read more... to be shut down and shipped back home, they are given the ultimate chance to show their courage. These intrepid young airmen take to the skies to fight for their country - and the fate of the free world. -- (C) Official Site

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127 critics

DVD Release Date: May 22, 2012

Stats: 3,417 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (3,417)


  • November 6, 2012
    Although I do feel that the Tuskegee pilots deserved better, I don't think that the hate for this movie is really justified. It does suffer from a bad script and amateur direction, it did seem to avoid certain cliches only to stumble into others but I thought the effects were qui... read morete good and the performances were strong. It's fair to say I was entertained throughout. It's a wonder the film ever got made at all really, it's a shame it wasn't given the time and care it deserved but it's out there now and that's not a bad thing. Let's give it 7-8 years and I'm sure someone will be inspired to do it properly but honestly, this isn't as bad as all that.
  • November 5, 2012
    Excellent movie I can only hope it was all factual, and not points added to justifie race. Movie worth 5 stars
  • July 17, 2012
    It appears as if screenwriters John Ridley and Aaron McGruder-as well as most of the visual credits-carry little respect toward those who risk their lives in war on a daily basis. Having seen emotionally harrowing films that convey the subject matter, films that scream "war is he... read morell" without any characters needing to say it, I know I would never, ever, ever want to fight in a war. If this was the only war film I had ever seen, I would be quite excited to enlist. The film makes war look like a flamboyant, addicting video game: fun to engage in, exhilarating, fast-paced, and making one eager to visit again.

    Ironically, RED TAILS possesses not one of those qualities. It's downright boring and slow, and I'd be surprised if I ever decided to give it another shot. The film lacks a plot. It has a premise, but no particular plot. Set in Italy during World War II, this is a ramshackle chronicle centered on four colored-excuse me, I meant Negro, because apparently that's what they prefer-pilots who are finally given a chance to prove themselves worthy of the Air Force, despite heavy discrimination abundant below them. It's quite disappointing how such an interesting premise collapsed into a repetitive production. Let's start out with...action! Negotiation. Action! Negotiation. Action! You get the picture.

    read more at themoviefreakblog.com
  • fb100000145236770
    June 6, 2012
    fb100000145236770
    "Red Tails" is a movie of all flash and little substance. The story is honestly another run of the mill blacks overcoming adversity type story. Which is fine, but it usually works better in sports movies(dunno why but it does). Honestly, it could worked great here and probably... read more been very inspirational. However, the filmmakers decided to concentrate more on the visual effects of the dogfights as opposed to the execution of the story surrounding the action. On that note, the dogfights are amazing, and should have been in 3D. The movie was shot with special HD type cameras(or so I've read) and it gives it a very distinctive look. The acting is sub par. Terrance Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr. both do good(not great) work in their smaller roles. The remaining cast,of mostly unknowns, is just standard and probably could have been cast better. Interested in the Tuskegee Airman's story, then you should probably check out the 90's HBO movie starring Laurence Fishburne. But it you want to watch amazing dogfight action, and don't need a great story, then this is for you.
  • May 28, 2012
    Ehhh.

    Extreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeemely cheesy; Cringe-worthy dialogue, horrible acting (Cuba Gooding Jr. is never believable), and directing and editing that brings nostalgic reminders of Disney channel movies makes this minorities-exceeding-expectations flick a bore. The only ... read moreredeeming quality that "Red Tails" represents is the good-hearted story, but the execution is too tainted for it to be considered a film worth watching.
  • May 26, 2012
    Courage has no color

    Not great or bad. The movie is full of cliché stereotype characters, bad dialogue and bad acting. The melodrama is heavy and painful at times. It does have decent air battle scenes though and visual FX. Lucas definitely left his stamp on the material. Entert... read moreaining at times but the Tuskegee Airmen deserve a much better film adaptation! My interest was kept throughout the film despite my sore disappointment that the main stars Cuba Gooding Jr., and Terrence Howard were relegated to auxiliary roles. Watch at own risk.

    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.
  • May 24, 2012
    I had been looking forward to seeing Red Tails for quite some time. I am a diehard World War II buff, and love a good war flick. Red Tails is a decent film, that's very flawed, but quite enjoyable if you can past the dialogue, so-so CGI and clichés. The film is worth seeing and I... read more do recommend it as an introduction to this legendary Squadron of African-American Tuskegee Airmen. The film is designed to ignore facts and is meant to be a mindless war film, which it does very well. The way George Lucas talked about the project, it seemed almost as Red Tails was the most important film since he directed Star Wars in 1977 you'd think that he would have put a bit more effort into it, right? Red Tails is a decent film at best. I enjoyed it, but I felt that something was missing from to really make it a worthwhile film. For what it's worth, Red Tails deliver on action, but the story suffers and with the CGI, it really leaves you wanting more out of this film. There was so much potential in making this film, instead the filmmakers went the other direction and told a fictionalized account of the Tuskegee Airmen. I liked the film, thought it was a mindless decent time. However the film could have been improved upon majorly as well. Like tell the real story, not the fictional story. The cast were never anything good or great, but the performance that stood out was Terrence Howard. He made this movie better. If you want a small taste of the Red Tails, check this film out. Thankfully, Red Tails isn't the worst war film ever made, that dishonor belongs to the Paul Gross film Passchendaele, which to this day is an abomination. Red Tails is a decent flick, never anything great, and you realize that it had the potential in being something a lot better as well. Red Tails is an entertaining mindless war flick that opts to provide the viewer with a fictionalized account of the Tuskegee Airmen instead of providing the facts.
  • May 12, 2012
    There was a time when I associated LucasArts with the most pristine and spellbinding of cinematic magic. Three less-than-stellar prequels later, however, the name just doesn't glow anymore with the same awe-inspiring intensity. Unfortunately, "Red Tails" is no exception to that f... read moreact. For as much as the trailers encouraged me to see it, the reality of the full experience isn't quite as stimulating.

    To be fair though, it's a solid enough WWII piece. The story per se, about a crew of African-American pilots, who are pitted against the Axis powers and racial bigotry alike, is one that still holds meaning in our ever-going social struggles. We may have come a long way since the 1940's, but prejudice remains nonetheless a very relevant issue.

    Where things go a bit amiss is in the execution and writing. Not that it's downright bad, but it lacks a sense of authenticity and fails to propel itself beyond genericness. Decent acting overall, but often corny, wooden and short of memorable. This is especially true for the lame love story between one of the American pilots and a small town Italian girl. It was like watching Anakin and Padmé all over again.

    There is one area, however, where it accumulates some shiny badges and that is, as you may have guessed, in the special effects department. Industrial Light and Magic have done a heck of a job, creating visually rousing air battles that are among the best and most bewildering I've ever had the pleasure to watch. Not unlike the Star Wars prequels, it's all very eye-popping, but also come with the same misfires, as in being largely devoid of substance.

    As I was mainly in for the action, I can't say I was disappointed though. I suppose it all depends on what you're looking for. If amazing visuals is sufficient, it'll definitely still your cravings. But if you want something with a little more heart behind it, I suggest you watch a movie like "Glory" instead, which builds on a similar true story, but includes better-handled emotional gravitas.

    For when all is said and done, "Red Tails" is undeniably a superficial affair. Entertaining and worth a rent, but just be sure you know in advance what you're getting yourself into. Because apart from the cutting-edge aerial battles, there's probably nothing in here that you haven't seen or encountered before.
  • May 4, 2012
    Based on the Tuskegee Airmen of WWII albeit somewhat loosely, but still a pretty good close depiction of what life was like for African American airmen in service over Italy.

    You can tell this is a Lucas production you really can, the dialog is terrible and the cgi effects are v... read moreery reminiscent of 'Star Wars' effects, heck I even noticed the same audio used for explosions and engines I think, I'm not saying the film is bad but merely a clear Lucasfilm production (we know Lucas used WWI/II dogfighting as inspiration for his space battles...and it shows here). It has the look of an old 50's boys own adventure style comicbook or an old TV adventure serial, like the inspirations behind 'Indy', but on the other hand it also bares similarity to a videogame adaptation of old arcade Capcom classic '1942'.

    The visuals are of course crisp, clean, sharp, rich and colourful....in short it looks a treat, a comicbook come to life. The problems are the whole thing feels like a TV movie or one of those old TV adventure serials with all episodes stuck together to make a film. The acting is pretty wooden really, the cast are mainly unknowns to me apart from Gooding but it is all pretty hokey to be honest.

    Best thing about the film is obviously the action sequences focusing on lots of dogfighting (again kinda seems similar to 'Star Wars', even using the same quick fire dialog here and there! 'I can't see him!' 'I'm on your tail' etc...). The rest of the film is really a bit dull but the dogfighting is brilliant fun to watch.

    The characters are terribly cliched and boring which in turn means you know what's gonna happen a mile off. Again...visually I can't fault it, looks terrific but the plot is your totally unoriginal underdog routine with characters we've all seen before. Good intentions for a lively historical epic but it falls short, a shame, but its still a fun action film. The finale with the playing of the American 'The Star-Spangled Banner' is also a tiny bit too much for me.
  • January 23, 2012
    I expected so much more. In a recent interview with George Lucas, he claimed that the reason his production company (Lucasfilm) had to fully fund his new film project "Red Tails", was because the concept of putting out a film about the first African America military aviators in t... read morehe United States Armed Forces (The Tuskegee Airmen), who fought during World War 2 in a time of heavy bigotry and tumultuous segregation, with an all black cast was turned down by every Hollywood studio. In saying all of that, did the great Lucas himself direct this film? Nope. And why do you think that could have been if he himself was so passionately behind the "Red Tails" concept? Could it be that he knew that directing a film with a John Ridley and Aaron McGruder (Boonbocks) script would be career suicide? And maybe said "big named Hollywood production companies" wouldn't touch this film not because of any outright bigotry, but for the same reason Lucas wouldn't put his talent where his mouth is and direct this movie. Oh well, I guess we will never know. Directed by Anthony Hemingway, "Red Tails" shows flashes of a GREAT movie, but struggles to find its place in the upper echelon of African American films amidst corny one-liners, shotty CGI effects and a vast array of one-dimensional characters. In fact, there was only one positive that I took away from this movie, which was that the information given about The Tuskegee Airmen was quite accurate, which is important because this is a subject matter far too often skipped over in the history books of today. It is just a shame that "Red Tails" wasn't a better movie. But here is the million dollar question: If George Lucas wanted to make a film about the great Tuskegee pilots that would be taken seriously, then why did he hire a director who has directed nothing of note and a writer whose claim to fame is being the guy who wrote "Undercover Brother"? Are we to believe that these are the only two accomplished Black men that Lucas knows?! Well unfortunately "Red Tails" reflects this sentiment.

    Side Note: As for co-writer Aaron McGruder, the very outspoken creator of the brilliant at times Cartoon Network show" Boondocks", who has spent his young career lampooning the BET's and Tyler Perry's of the world for creating Black entertainment with zero substance, should be ashamed to have his name down on this film. McGruder is maybe one of the most talented Black writers in Hollywood today, but the fact that he co-wrote this simpleton script is unbelievable to say the least. So much so, that I am rethinking my support for a man whom I thought to be the next Spike Lee.

    Generic clichés are the name of the game with "Red Tails", you have a scene with a white Sergeant calling a black Sergeant the "N" word, another where a heartfelt speech is given right on cue just before the final battle and yet another speech of a man who is dying in his best friend's arms (well not physically his arms because they were in aircrafts, but that is a minor detail). As for the performances here, they were all vanilla at best (and really not worth mentioning). What I will mention is how Cuba Gooding Jr. (Jerry Maguire, Men of Honor), who plays Major Emanuelle Stance (the leader of The Airmen), gives one of the most laughable performances of his career. Although, the bad performances may not have all been the actors fault, because the McGruder/Ridley made for T.V. script was laced with very underdeveloped caricatures of very important historical and VERY REAL individuals. The characters are so one-dimensional that there was not much difference between undeveloped characters here and the ones in current Blaxploitation films such as "Barbershop" or "Lottery Ticket". The characters here consist of your smart Black (who can unfortunately also be seen as the uncool Black), your religious Black, your scared Black (who is also the super skinny, Chris Tucker-ish, comically obnoxious Black), your ol' Southern Black (played horribly by R&B singer Ne-Yo) your dumb Black (who is also the athletic and ladies man Black), your old Black wise-man and your Black leader (who is the most human of the lot, but still has to recite the stupidest dialogue). The issue at hand is that all of these stereotypical characters are hidden behind a subject matter that is so serious and all around "good", that even though the characters themselves were written with little substance, "Red Tails" will still be misconceived as an uplifting important African American drama simply from the synopsis alone. I for one am a proud Black man who is very proud of his heritage and was rather exited to see this film, so even though for a lot of African American's (especially ones who served in the Military) this film will be untouchable, after watching "Red Tails" I have concluded that the actual subjects (the real men who this film was about) where done nothing more than a flimsy disservice. It's as if Lucas was so worried about the PR this film would generate, that they didn't want to hurt anybody's feeling by making these characters too real. And their WAR story was treated as if it were nothing more than an after school special.

    Final Thought: While "Red Tails" is nowhere near as bad as a Tyler Perry film and while the story is one that cries out to be heard, as a WAR movie Lucasfilm has made the entire story of the Tuskegee Airmen cartoonish. Let's put it this way, the battle sequences, which were maybe the best parts of the movie, are as far away from the caliber of filmmaking of a "Saving Private Ryan" or even "The Thin Red Line" as one can possibly get. Yes, there are enough "rah rah" pregame speeches and a few funny moments to get mass audiences through this film, BUT in the end "Red Tails" suffers from an inexperience not only behind the camera but with the script writing as well. If you want to see a well done African American WW2 film check out the very underrated Spike Lee Joint "A Miracle at St. Anna" or even Robert Markowitz's T.V. movie entitled "The Tuskegee Airmen". And note to Black directors, if you are going to make a movie about a serious subject, drop the "Barbershop"/"Madea"/"Nutty Professor"-esque one liners. They are as unnecessary as they are insulting to the African American viewing audience.

    Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland

    Please visit my page on Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/x-52464-San-Jose-Indie-Movie-Examiner and leave any comments you have about this or any review. The more hits I get the better. Thank you.

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Critic Reviews


Tom Huddleston
June 6, 2012
Tom Huddleston, Time Out

There's no sense of threat or danger: this is a film with its head stuck firmly in the clouds. Full Review

Leah Rozen
March 2, 2012
Leah Rozen, The Wrap

Sadly, Red Tails tells its inspiring story in the most old-fashioned, Saturday-afternoon-at-the-movies kind of way. The movie occasionally flies but it never soars. Full Review

Ben Sachs
January 23, 2012
Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader

This is so generic as storytelling that it fails even as a basic history lesson: it's hard to believe that the stock conflicts on-screen have any connection to real events. Full Review

James Berardinelli
January 21, 2012
James Berardinelli, ReelViews

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. Full Review

Eric D. Snider
January 21, 2012
Eric D. Snider, Film.com

Red Tails is better than nothing - but "nothing" isn't the other option. That HBO film is still out there, and Red Tails doesn't add to it or improve upon it. Full Review

Stephen Whitty
January 20, 2012
Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger

Instead of pride or anger or resolve, all it left me feeling was a little bit of regret that I hadn't been home, watching "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" instead. Full Review

Kevin C. Johnson
January 20, 2012
Kevin C. Johnson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The battle scenes soar, thanks to top-notch and thrilling special effects. Quieter scenes give characters added dimension, such as those that address one officer's drinking problem. Full Review

James Adams
January 20, 2012
James Adams, Globe and Mail

Red Tails is a lousy film. Not wincingly bad, mind you, just mediocre. Full Review

Tom Long
January 20, 2012
Tom Long, Detroit News

The Tuskegee Airmen were serious heroes, on a number of levels. They deserve a serious movie. "Red Tails" is not that movie. Full Review

Mark Jenkins
January 20, 2012
Mark Jenkins, Washington Post

The African American fliers' great achievement merits a great movie. "Red Tails" isn't it. Full Review

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Facts


    • Col. A.J. Bullard: To be absolutely politically correct African Americans won the Battle of Britain and saved the World.
    • Pretty Boy: Oh my god....they are African.
    • Col. A.J. Bullard: The only respect I have is for the uniform.
    • Joe "Lightning" Little: I think I did get myself killed.
    • Col. A.J. Bullard: You get us the mission, we'll light up the board.
    • Joe 'Lightning' Little: From the last plane, to the last bullet, to the last minute, to the last man, we fight!

Red Tails : Watch Free on TV


Red Tails Trivia


  • He is best known for his role on HBO tv series "Oz" and he played small roles in movies like "Monster" or "The Forgotten". He will also be appearing in the next George Lucas' production "Red Tails". Who is he?  Answer »
  • Red Tails (2012) stars...  Answer »
  • A crew of African American pilots in the Tuskegee training program, having faced segregation while kept mostly on the ground during World War II  Answer »

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