Red Tails Movie Review



The Moment We’ve All Been Waiting For…

This is my Review (my opinion) on the film Red Tails.

I went to see the movie Red Tails today. I really don’t know what to say about the film that already hasn’t been said in other reviews. I was disappointed. Let’s put the controversy aside for now. The graphics were good, the movie was entertaining , but I didn’t feel it did the Tuskegee airmen justice at all. The dialogue throughout the film left much to be desired. The character development was shallow at best and I felt like I never got to know the characters well enough. In the HBO film Tuskegee Airmen, I felt attachment to the characters, I felt emotional towards them, this wasn’t the case in this film. The plot itself was just all over the place. Yeah, we see some things blow up every so often, but I kept waiting and waiting for the Big Mission, for the climax of the film, and it never came.

The historical aspect:  If you go into this movie expecting to get a history lesson on the Tuskegee airmen, you’ll be greatly disappointed. The film itself doesn’t really touch on the true significance and the impact that the Tuskegee airmen had not just on the War in the European theater, but on the home front. At this time, African-Americans were fighting a “Double V War,”  victory overseas and victory at home. Many Tuskegee airmen fought not just for their rights as servicemen, but for the rights of Black people to be treated as equal citizens in the United States. You get none of this from the movie. In fact, race relations really weren’t a big thing other than a bar scene at an Officers Club, there isn’t much in terms of race relations or racial reconciliation.

Other Historical Issues: In one scene, a character is put in a German Prisoner of War Camp (Stalag) and you’d think that he walked into a country club or something. In case people didn’t know German POW camps were notorious for their brutality, especially en route to their Stalags because the Geneva Convention was only applied somewhat within the camps. It was not uncommon for prisoners to be mistreated or malnourished en route to those POW camps. Additionally, African-Americans faced an added threat because they were considered to be of the “inferior stock,” according to Nazi ideology. But, looking at this movie, you would think being in a Nazi Prisoner of War camp was no big thing. Overall, if you’re looking for something historical…this isn’t going to be the best choice. I recommend the HBO film Tuskegee airmen, watching a documentary or reading a book.

I also took issue with the fact that the film made light of the actual act of combat itself. There is nothing pleasant about killing people, or having to fear for your life constantly. Many airmen came back with PTSD because they either witnessed someone else killed in front of them or they killed someone themselves. In Ken Burn The War, one airman recounts feeling physically sick after his first aerial kill. But this movie, doesn’t even take into account the emotional trauma that came along with this job. It’s almost like a video game or something where you just shoot the people and keep playing or you die and then just restart the game.

The Controversy: Yes it’s true, there are no Black women in the film at all. In one scene, there is a drawing of a Black woman on plane, but you have to pay attention or else you won’t see it. There wasn’t a scene where a Black airmen mentioned a wife, a mother or even held up a photo of a girl he left back home. People will argue that this wasn’t about the airmen’s personal lives, it was about combat. If that’s the case, then why would a love story about an Italian woman and a Black airmen (which was really superfluous to the movie) be in the film? Why not just leave out the romance aspect altogether?  Instead the presence of the Black women in these men’s lives was omitted and a fictional romance put in and in reality, it’s more historically accurate that there would be a romance going on between a Black airmen and his Black wife as nearly all the Tuskegee airmen married Black women. Looking at this film you would think Black women weren’t even affiliated with the airmen and did nothing  when (in reality) we know that Black women played an important role in supporting them. Have you ever heard of Maycie Herrington or Lena Horne? I wasn’t expecting a large portion of the film to be dedicated to Black women, but would it have been that difficult to have a scene of a Black man holding up a picture of his Black wife in there…seriously is it that hard? As I said before, in every other WWII movie that features white men, they always have the white lady either in the film or referenced as being at home supporting her man, but for some reason with Black women it’s different.

Overall, this movie could have been better…with a 58 million dollar budget  I was expecting more.  The HBO film was great though, I recommend that if you want a bit more history, as well as more of a steady plot line. Oh, and don’t market a movie as a “Black Film,” and omit Black women and only feature non-black women.


The Tuskegee airmen (the real ones) were amazing. I am forever grateful to them for their contribution to this country, the world and the well-being of Black people. They are truly my heroes and I give them the utmost respect. It’s a shame this movie doesn’t do them justice.

See What Some of the Other Reviews Are Saying

31 thoughts on “Red Tails Movie Review”

  1. You make it seem like the replaced every black women in the film with a white women. but you neglect to mention that the white woman in the film is the only woman in the entire cast (barring extra’s and her mother) They mention Ray Guns wife, and Deek’s wife. i’m pretty sure they mention more but those two stuck out to me. The only problem i had with the white woman was that it seemed historically inaccurate that a white woman would fall for a black man, but upon further thought how historically accurate would it be for the pilot to even run into a black woman in 1944 italy? Even if he did she would’ve likely been a maid or servant of some sort which may have put a strain on the plot.


    1. and in my other thread we discussed multiple that actually there were Black women stationed overseas and the Tuskegee airmen were married to BLACK WOMEN not Italian women bottom line…even if they slept with Italian women,White men slept with Samoan/Filipino women overseas and you WILL NEVER see a film that puts an interracial relationship between a white soldier above his white american woman and they’ll always reference or demonstrate the support white wives gave to their white servicemen…so it’s very accurate to say that actually and I didn’t make it seem like they replaced every Black woman at all. I said what I saw was there were NO Black women in a film about BLACK PEOPLE…you don’t find that odd…what Black people only constitutes Black MEN these days? You don’t see a problem with Black women being completely absent from this supposed Black movie, which is really about black men/non-black women and white men? Tell me when you watch Saving Private Ryan or ANY OTHER WWII film about wm how often do you see (even in movies that take place overseas) WW COMPLETELY neglected from the plot, no pictures or reference to them at all?

      Answer me that and tell me why you think its different with this film, then tell me how you would rate the media’s treatment of Black women in film IN GENERAL and how this film is any different?



      1. And white women (actually women period) were completely neglected from Saving Private Ryan… and Black Hawk Down, and Platoon, and Full Metal Jacket and Hurt Locker… I can go on and on and on….

        The point is that Action packed war movies rarely have some sort of story about how the wife or mother is doing back home. It’s useless and irrelevant to a WAR movie. Maybe to a Love story that incoporated war into it.


  2. The movie is historically accurate in terms of black soldiers getting with and marrying European women. A lot of black soldiers didn’t even come back, because Europe was a more progressive place than America was in the 1940s when it came to how they view blacks. Therefore, you seen a lot of black men getting with European women. Again, read your history and other films (Inglorious Basterds).

    As for the poster, this is an all black film because it was directed by a black directed, written by a black screenwriter who adapted it from a novel by a black author, and 95 percent of the cast, including the main characters were black. Whether you saw a black woman in there or not, that makes it a black film.

    You seem more angry at the fact that the soldier got with the Italian girl than you do about there not being any black women in the movie.

    We (black people) finally have a blockbuster hit movie portraying us as heroes and not as obiest, cross-dressing, drug-addicted, dope-dealing, jigga-booing, alcoholic, whore mongering derelicts, and we all of sudden want to become Roger Ebert. Enjoy the movie for what it is and be glad you can see some positive Black figures on the big screen on such a grand scale. Support the movie and stop stirring up this bed-wenchism.



    1. it is not an “all black film,” it’s a film about Black men, white women and white men…don’ t say “all black” when there are no black women in it and a bunch of non-blacks…

      and i’m not inclined to enjoy a movie just because it has a “so-called” all black cast and you can play the “angry jealous black woman” card if you want, doesn’t change the fact that this movie INTENTIONALLY left out Black women and diminished their contribution to the race relations of the Tuskegee airmen. Bottom line Tuskegee airmen married Black women and it was their Black wives who stood by and supported them and helped to overcome the racial obstacles they faced…not Italian women period.

      we can talk about the rare Black men who stayed in Italy and we can also talk about the rare white men who stayed in the south pacific and married the asian women there…the difference is you will not see films that depict this interracial romance with the white men and EXCLUDE the contribution of white women you won’t see it…it’s only with Black women that you will see this.


    2. and also even if they wanted to leave the italian romance in, that shouldn’t have meant they couldn’t also include a scene referencing Black women at home or elsewhere…but they CHOSE to not only exclude but replace Black women, that’s unacceptable to me.


    3. Are you serious? As a black woman, why should I shout to the heavens that black women are excluded from this movie? Why? And, even if it is supposedly accurate that some black men were involved with European women, as you say, and did not return to the USA, all of the Tuskeegee pilots came from black families in some shape or form and mostly had relationships with black wives, girlfriends or lovers!! So, if one scenario has credibility, why can’t the other be equally as credible and reflected in this movie filled with black men who battled egregious segregation both at home and abroad and most likely received support from black women!!!!

      My question to you is: why are you defending our exclusion from this movie and lamenting that we should just be proud to support something that totally discredits our role in our men’s lives and in the Tuskeegee Airman Program. You don’t, at the very least, see something wrong with this picture?


      1. thanks for the comment Joplin. people are going to have their opinions, but don’t let people silence you if you feel like you don’t like the way you are represented as a Black woman in the movie, you have a right to feel the way you feel. Don’t let anyone tell you how you should feel.


  3. As a retired Army Colonel who has studied the African American contributions to military history, I am embarrassed by Terrence Howard and the other guys’s comments in reference to black men becoming more enlightened as a result of dating white women. I was also disappointed after seeing Red Tails because of its cartoonish nature and lack of serious commentary and reflection given the historical significance and contributions of black service members.

    There was absolultely no reason to have the white woman in this movie. A black man having sex with a white woman did not make him a better pilot and the most ridiculous line in the entire movie was when the Lightning character stated in an awestruck fashion that he just saw “the most beautiful woman in the world.” It made me sick!!!!!!


    1. thank you panther. I agree the whole movie was ridiculous. They really could have left the interracial romance in (if they wanted it so badly) even though it really didn’t go with the rest of the movie. But even if they kept it in there is no excuse for Black women to be COMPLETELY absent as if they didn’t exist. They could have kept the Italian romance in and still paid their respect to Black women in the film in other ways, like through including a scene with a picture of a Black wife and mother and having an airmen talk about how much he loved them. Not that difficult to do.

      Red Tails Movie rewrite: http://www.dawnali.com/lovinmysistas/index.php?topic=7537.msg47112#msg47112


  4. We heard this same crap with the Million Man March. A group of black men came together and said “let’s be better men, better husbands and better fathers” and a small, but loud, band of angry, pissed-off, never-satisfied, petty and negative black women savaged it for not including black women (and forgot about that when it came time for the million woman march). Several years later, a movie is made depicting black men not as drug dealers, sex starved buffoons, pimps, gangbangers or lowlives but as war heroes and what do we get from the likes of proudchocolategirl? More whining, bitching and petty nitpicking about black women not being included. I suggest that in the future when anyone considers making a movie, not to keep black womens’ satisfaction in consideration because that is a complete waste of time. I enjoyed this movie and those black women, many of whom just sat back and waited for something to complain about before it was even released, can always watch DVDs of Waiting To Exhale, For Colored Girls, Something New, The Color Purple, The Bodyguard or whatever might make you happy.


    1. If you want to call my critique of a movie whining and “bitching,” that’s fine. But it’s not going to change my opinion. I didn’t like the movie, I still don’t like it for all the reasons i stated above. It’s not rocket science to see why it would be problematic to many people. It’s not okay to distort history to me and don’t presume to tell me what I can and can’t watch. You don’t know that any of the stereotypical Black women movies will “make me happy,” you like the movie fine. I didn’t like it, I thought it was an insult and i never will like it. accept it.


  5. I fully agree with Tidley. If it isn’t one thing with Black women, it’s another. I remember several years ago when a thread was posted on a website about a black man who had graduated from a prestigious school and was doing well in his profession and all the black women wanted to know is if he was married to a white woman. Some of you even said you wouldn’t have voted for Obama if he hadn’t married a black woman. You would have accepted more war and more of the mess we went through with Bush because of that. Just petty.


    1. irrelevant we’re not talking about Obama and we’re not talking about some random thread about a black man and his “prestigious degree,” we’re talking about red tails. don’t detract


  6. Oh and Peanut, you know full well that if the things you suggested were put in place, then you’d whine about black women only being featured in pictures instead of live action or about there not being enough pictures of dark-skinned black women. Before you go “You don’t know me.” or “Don’t tell me what I would do.” I’ve seen more than enough of the likes of you to know what I’m talking about.


      1. So you’re telling me that if only a few pictures of the pilots’ wives were shown, as opposed to live action, you’d have no beef about the movie? You’d have nothing to say about Lightning and the Italian woman? I could be wrong and I could very well be misjudging you but I’m basing my thoughts on what I’ve already seen way too many times. More often than not, you SPOBW (Sisterhood of Pissed Off Black Women) read from the same old recycled script.


      2. I do not appreciate you generalizing me by calling me a SPOBW, that’s very ignorant. I’m an individual, I already told you how I felt about the movie in the review and my other Red Tails post, if you didn’t agree or don’t “get it,” nothing I can do about that. But do not put me in a box if you don’t want to be put in one. I have said a thousand times what I thought. But for some reason people interpret this to mean some big crusade to have Black women take over the film. Red tails is old news any way, didn’t do well in theaters, after the first week it bombed. I would suggest people not rely on Hollywood to tell an accurate portrayal of history that’s the moral of the story.


      3. You sai it’s old news yet you keep responding. A hot dog will holler you know. I’ve said what I have to say so I’ll move on but it behooves you to remember that no one respects or has patience for those who would rather both abouth things than to make them better. Don’t like being associated with the SPOBW? Stop being one.


      4. no need to worry about the typos, but as long as you comment, I will respond as I see fit. I’m not a SPOBW, that’s what I keep saying. Don’t put me in a box and I won’t put you in one. I could say a lot things about you just based off your comments, but I won’t because I don’t know you.


      5. You say it’s old news yet you keep responding. A hit dog will holler you know. I’ve said what I have to say so I’ll move on but it behooves you to remember that no one respects or has patience for those who would rather bitch about things than to make them better. Don’t like being associated with the SPOBW? Stop being one.


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