Memphis Belle

October 12, 1990 0 By Fans
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It's May 1943 at a US Air Force base in England. The four officers and six enlisted men of the Memphis Belle…

Release Year: 1990

Rating: 6.8/10 (11,649 voted)

Michael Caton-Jones

Stars: Matthew Modine, Eric Stoltz, Tate Donovan

It's May 1943 at a US Air Force base in England. The four officers and six enlisted men of the Memphis Belle – a B-17 bomber so nicknamed for the girlfriend of its stern and stoic captain, Dennis Dearborn – will soon start their twenty-fifth mission, having completed their previous twenty-four successfully with nary an incident, while fewer and fewer other planes are coming back from their missions at all. If they complete their next mission successfully, they will be the first US Air Force squad to complete their tour of duty. Visiting communications officer Lt. Col. Bruce Derringer wants to publicize and highly tout their accomplishment, even before it happens, as a long term good news campaign at a time when there is little good news to report. Derringer's plan is against the wishes of the base commander, Col. Craig Harriman, who would prefer to treat the ten as any of his other hard working men…


Matthew Modine

Capt. Dennis Dearborn

Eric Stoltz

Sgt. Danny "Danny Boy" Daly

Tate Donovan

1st Lt. Luke Sinclair

D.B. Sweeney

Lt. Phil Lowenthal

Billy Zane

Lt. Val "Valentine" Kozlowski

Sean Astin

Sgt. Richard "Rascal" Moore

Harry Connick Jr.

Sgt. Clay Busby

Reed Diamond

Sgt. Virgil Hoogesteger

(as Reed Edward Diamond)

Courtney Gains

Sgt. Eugene McVey

Neil Giuntoli

Sgt. Jack Bocci

David Strathairn

Col. Craig Harriman

John Lithgow

Lt.Col. Bruce Derringer

Jane Horrocks


Mac McDonald


(as Mac Macdonald)

Jodie Wilson


Release Date: 12 October 1990

Filming Locations: Imperial War Museum, Duxford, Cambridgeshire, England, UK

Box Office Details

Budget: $23,000,000


Gross: $27,441,977

Technical Specs


Did You Know?


The Sally B, one of two B17s portraying the Belle in the film, is the last airworthy B17 in the UK. She is based at RAF Duxford, Europe's premier aviation museum, and is part of the USAAF WWII Memorial Flight making dozens of appearances across the UK and North Europe. She is maintained and run by volunteers and relies solely upon donations.


When Val drops the bombs, the interior view clearly shows four bombs dropping. The view then shifts to an exterior view of the bombing group showing eight bombs exiting the bomb bay.


Richard Rascal Moore:
[on seeing flak damage]
There's a hole as big as my dick in the left wing.

User Review

"MB" nay-sayers: ever been a bomber pilot at age 21?


No?? … then shut up.

My dad was. Didn't fly B-17s, but he was the PIC (pilot-in-command) of
a crew of seven, all younger than he, of a B-26 Martin Marauder medium
bomber (the Flying Prostitute – 'no visible means of support'; referred
to the short wingspan and hot landing speeds) in the Mediterranean
Campaign out of Corsica and Sardinia, bombing German-controlled
ball-bearing factories in northern Italy at 10,000 ft. Lost his
nose-gunner from "fright" – frozen to the gun – wouldn't bail out when
they were shot down right after 'delivering the pizza' over
Bergamo-Seriate airfield on my mom's birthday, Aug 08th, 1944…about 9
weeks before I was born. His story about getting out of that B-26
before it crashed would raise the hair on your young necks. Survived
Stalag Luft III and the 500 mile foot-march – yes, in January, through
snow – to Stalag Luft VII (Steve McQueen – "The Great Escape"). Gen'l
Patton liberated all in April, 1945 – including my dad and five of his

Dad didn't make furniture like Matthew Modine's character in "Memphis
Belle". But he did pick and truck-haul tomatoes on HIS dad's farm in
the Ohio River Valley around Racine, right out of the black
river-bottom soil just above the banks; became a basketball hero in
high school; then entered the Army Air Force at 19. Pilot training in
Texas and Florida. I have the letters from him to my mom during all

And the dialog in the film? Pretty true-to-life, he said – everybody
was young and talked and acted JUST LIKE THAT…

This review isn't meant to be about my dad. But I hope it says a little
something about the producer's efforts for "Memphis Belle." Very young
kids – normal Americans – tough (even impossible) duty – in advanced
machines (then) – in hard times – in a country far from home – doing
what they were trained for. Sound familiar even today?…

And don't be too hard on the details. Remember, this is a
'representative film' of what happened to many, many bomber crews in
many, many different bombers during WWII. Many thousands of very young
American air crews were lost in this effort to help keep America and
our Allies 'free.' Think about that whole image, listen to the music
score, cherish the action from a fresh perspective. TRY to put yourself
in their shoes.

Then watch the film again…