Action / Drama / Romance / War

Plot summary

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Top cast

Charles 'Buddy' Rogers Photo
Charles 'Buddy' Rogers as Jack Powell
Gary Cooper Photo
Gary Cooper as Cadet White
Richard Arlen Photo
Richard Arlen as David Armstrong
Clara Bow Photo
Clara Bow as Mary Preston
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.3 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 24 min
P/S 2 / 2
2.66 GB
English 5.1
23.976 fps
2 hr 24 min
P/S 2 / 5

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by MartinHafer9 / 10

a little dated here and there, but overall a great film

In many ways, I enjoyed this film more than the more expensive HELL'S ANGELS (which Howard Hughes RE-SHOT after its initial completion in order to make it a sound picture)--even though it was a silent film. That's because for a silent movie, it's nearly as good as you're going to find, whereas the primitive sound of Hell's Angels and less engaging plot left me feeling a bit flat--though its flying sequence were clearly better and more spectacular than those in WINGS.

Clara Bow is excellent as the sweet lead of the film whose two friends go off to war. This is a far better showcase of her talents than the equally famous movie "IT" (which did NOT age as well).

Richard Arlen and Buddy Rogers also did fine jobs in the movie, though special recognition must also be given to the cinematography--the movie is just beautiful in spots and the aerial sequences are amazing for 1927! The only down side? Occasionally, there are melodramatic lapses in the pacing--such as the drinking scene where they talk about BUBBLES incessantly. This seems to be due mostly to the style of the day, and for what it was, it was a brilliant picture. I can easily see why it got the first Best Picture award.

Reviewed by bkoganbing8 / 10

Oscar's Auspicious Debut

To Paramount Studios went the honor of getting the first Oscar for Best Picture about two fliers in World War I and their rivalry over Clara Bow. If you have to have a rivalry, she's a good person to get in heat over as many did in real life.

The two guys in heat over her are Buddy Rogers and Richard Arlen who are from different sides of the tracks in their home town. Rogers is the poor kid who has a love of flying and of speed. He likes Bow, but she can only see Arlen, a rich kid who likes Jobyna Ralston who's from his own set. When World War I breaks out both men rush to the colors.

Their different backgrounds don't help at first, but they gradually develop a respect and camaraderie for each other during their training. Rooming with them is Gary Cooper who was killed in a training accident. Cooper's small role gave a big boost to his career. It's modeled on the air training accident deaths of Vernon Castle and former Mayor of New York John Purroy Mitchel. Although Cooper was associated with many Oscar nominated films including two Oscars of his own for Best Actor, Wings is the only film he was in that won for Best Picture.

Although Bow plays a small town good girl, the kind usually played by Mary Pickford or Janet Gaynor, she brings a lot of sexuality to her part. No doubt as to what these two guys are fighting for.

Although El Brendel's twisted Swedish speech pattern is not in use for this silent film, he's still a pretty funny fellow as the recruit of German ancestry at a time when those folks were held in suspicion.

The training sergeant in the film is former heavyweight contender Gunboat Smith who fought Jack Dempsey twice on Dempsey's way to the heavyweight title, once going the distance with him.

Wings was director William Wellman's first great film and first film he did about aviation, a subject near and dear to the former flier with the Lafayette Escadrille. As far as cinematography goes, Wings holds its own with the more acclaimed Hell's Angels from Howard Hughes in that department.

Oscar made an auspicious debut with Wings.

Reviewed by TheLittleSongbird8 / 10

War in the sky

One of the main most notable things about 'Wings' is that it was the first ever film to win the Best Picture Oscar, and the only one to win one for the Best Production category (as it was known for at the time). Also have a high appreciation for silents and if anybody loves any of William A. Wellman's other films they will want to see a very early effort of his if they haven't already. Anybody who likes Clara Bow will be interested in seeing how she fares in a more dramatic role.

While it is not one of my favourite Best Picture winners (i.e. 'Amadeus', 'Casablanca'),'Wings' is a milestone in film, visual and technical achievements and in awards. There are also far worse winners (i.e. 'Cimarron', 'Crash'). 'Wings' falls short of being a great film and it will never be a favourite, there are a few big flaws. Having said that, it is very hard to be too hard on it because it is so well made and directed and still is an incredibly powerful film. On the war scenes alone, it is one of the better faring WW1 films.

It is a shame that the back-story is nowhere near as strong. It is far too sentimental and bland, it tends to be too sluggish and there is not enough chemistry between the actors.

Also felt that Jobyna Ralston was a flat presence and El Brendel and his comic relief were neither funny or necessary, coming over as corny even today.

However, as said there are so many great things here. Despite having serious reservations, the numerous good things are so good and the film left a huge impression on me emotionally that to me it seemed unfair for me to rate it a 7 or below. Especially considering that some of my 6-7 ratings may raise eyebrows and it is a better film than all of those concerned in that regard. 'Wings' still leaves one in awe on a visual and technical level, one of the best-looking and most technically revolutionary films of the late-20s. The photography is especially extraordinary in the airplane sequences and the effects put those made today to shame and unlike any seen before at the time. Wellman provides some of his best direction here, he was always a more than solid director but there are some particularly inventive moments here namely in the air.

The music is quite haunting and fits and while the writing in the humour and romance is patchy it is very thought-provoking and moving in the war scenes. There were, and still are, few WW1 films to be this gut-wrenching and powerful in the scenes depicting the war (i.e. 'All Quiet on the Western Front' is another prime example). What has stayed with me for a long time has been in the airplane sequences, they look pretty spectacular and are both tense and poignant, the ending also had me in buckets of tears. The performances are mostly fine with a couple of exceptions, with stirring portrayals from Buddy Rogers and Richard Arlen and a possible career best from Bow.

On the whole, flawed but fascinating, incredibly well made and powerful. Really well worth watching. 7.5/10

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