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Aces High [DVD] [1976]

48 customer reviews

Price: £7.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Only 8 left in stock (more on the way).
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Frequently Bought Together

Aces High [DVD] [1976] + The Blue Max [DVD] [1966] + The Red Baron [DVD] [2008]
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Product details

  • Actors: Malcolm McDowell, Christopher Plummer, Simon Ward, Peter Firth, David Wood
  • Directors: Jack Gold
  • Writers: Cecil Lewis, Howard Barker, R.C. Sherriff
  • Producers: Basil Keys, Benjamin Fisz, Irwin Margulies, Jacques Roitfeld
  • Format: PAL, Anamorphic, Mono, Colour
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 15 Jan. 2007
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000KRNHTO
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,878 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

New airforce recruit Peter Firth takes an instant dislike to his embittered squadron leader, Malcolm McDowell. But as the young pilot experiences the tensions and stresses of warfare, his dislike turns to admiration. The film features excellently photographed aerial dogfight sequences. Also starring Christopher Plummer and John Gielgud. An airborn remake of the 1930 trench-bound 'Journey's End'.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Adrian Booker on 11 Feb. 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The opening scenes show our "Ace" GRESHAM telling his old house that "We are caning them. You will want to cane them too when your turn comes. I only hope it isn't all over before you get the opportunity"
The film revolves around, and tries to recapture, the life of a scout squadron " somewhere in France" 6 months after "Bloody April 1917" during the First World War. I first watched this film as a child in the early 80's and even at that tender age, found it rather moving given the fact that the aim is not to glamourise war but to demonise it. For RFC purists, there are a few anomilies, mainly that 76 Squadron RFC was never used as a fighter squadron. That aside, The story was well constructed, the cast impressive and nearly 20 years later, I still feel this is a film that can be watched over and again A firm favourite in mine and Pete Tarski's eyes. Thanks for reading my review.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By L. C. Raubenheimer on 25 Mar. 2006
Format: DVD
Aces High is one of very few films about World War One air combat. I also believe that it is the best. It is intense, yet its laid back scenes are very good as well. I've owned this on VHS for years, and have finally replaced my well worn tape with this DVD release. Whilst devoid of special features (not even a trailer), this is worth the price simply to watch this very good film. I did notice at least one little part of the film which is cut from the DVD. It is in the French restaurant scene, and a risque joke by Wade appears to have been cut out.
Otherwise, the DVD is nice. The picture is slightly blemished, put not distractingly so. On the whole, this is a very good buy, and comes highly reccomended. If you liked The Blue Max, you'll like this (in fact, some footage from the Blue Max is used in this picture).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mike Watkinson TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 Jun. 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It's not difficult to do. The opening flying scenes show Malcolm McDowell, apparently flying an SE5, shooting down a Fokker Eindekker in October 1916. The Eindekker was well past its sell-by date by then, the first prototypes of the SE5 didn't fly till Nov 1916. Cut to the next scene - I find it very unlikely that a single-seat fighter could not out-manoeuvre a two-seat scout. And since we're still only in October 1916, alas! Still no SE5s... So, yes, it's easy to pick holes, if that's what you want to do. However, consider this: in 1976, your only option in film-making was to fly planes that were, or could be made to look like, the real thing. 60 years ante-bellum, they would not have been easy things to bring together. Then again, it was before the age of the internet. How many people would even notice the incongruities? Nearly 40 years on, with the wonders of computer graphics, it would probably be easier to make an accurate representation of WWI air combat.

Therefore, forget any nit-picking; enjoy the film for what it is. It's a very jaundiced view of WWI that does rather pander to the perception of the "Butchers & bunglers" decades of history that prevailed through the 50's, 60's, & 70's. Still, that does not make it a bad film. It is gorgeously shot. It has a strong cast, wholly believable characters, and a solid story. It does let itself down with a poor final scene, but if you make allowances for the occasional weakness, it is, as they might have said at the time, "a jolly good show". I'm a bit divided between giving it 4* or 5; if we had marks out of 10, I think I'd want to give it 8.5. Because there are so few productions that centre around WWI air combat, I'll lean towards 5. Blue Max is OK, but a bit contrived. Earlier films, such as Hells Angels, have not aged as well. The BBC's Wings serial is, ultimately, a bit too much soap opera in nature. In a very small genre, this is the best you'll get and, by its own merits, it is, just about, worth 5*.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 Aug. 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Aces High is a film which, like so many great films, was adapted from a book. The film shows how futile the western front fighting was, and how men were giving of thier lives and all to often dying, for no real gain. The film features a young boy, just turned seventeen named Peter Croft, who "pulls strings" to get into the squadron which his old school house captain commands, only to find that war has made the man so hard and brittle a first, but kind in the old way he was before the war. The starting scene is excellent, with Major John Gresham (Malcom McDowell) coming back to his old school to get more recruites to feed the ever hungry western front. But the sceen interlinks with Gresham out in France, and this helps to show how contradictive propoganda is of real war. There are some interesting scene changes, like when the school master enters the school hall, and the command to stand is given, Gresham is seen to stand, and then the scene changes to him standing up in his SE5 (fighter plane) to change the ammo' drum for his Lewis Gun. Some of the prop aircraft used for filming are not the actual planes being portrayed, so the enthusiast is let down there, but the film is great barring this, and can be watched over and over again.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By KC on 31 May 2004
Format: DVD
Aces High is a gripping tale of the war over the trenches in 1917. Following Malcolm McDowell, Christopher Plummer and Peter Firth into the air prepare for some of the best biplane action filmed in Britain. Though not accurate in every way (don't look too closely at the SE5s) it is still a great war film that captures the pluck and daring of the British knights of the air.
2nd Lieutenant Croft is assigned to Maj. Gresham's 76 Squadron RFC and has to deal with the death of comrades and squadron life in the Great War. With 15 hours training (4 of them on SE5s!) he must quickly adapt to the realities of aerial warfare and the changes brought on by war in his idol and former school house captain Maj. Gresham. If you've seen Blackadder 4 then think 20 minuters and you're on the mark.
The DVD release is slightly disappointing, hence the rating, as it has no special features whatsoever. Only a chapter menu, actually. The sound is mono, the picture quality average. Basically, buy it for the film: that's what I did and I haven't regretted it.
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