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Red Tails

Popcorn Rating

Very Good


Movie Info


Rated PG-13 for some sequences of war violence.


Drama, War


Jan. 20, 2012


Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, David Oyelowo, Nate Parker, Method Man, Josh Dallas, Gerald McRaney, Rupert Penry-Jones, Ne-Yo, Bryan Cranston


Anthony Hemingway


20th Century Fox

More on this movie at


Nate Parker: Faith and Courage in 'Red Tails'

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Red Tails

By Craig von Buseck Ministries Director - During the American Civil War, an all-Black regiment (the Massachusetts 54th) was kept from the fight and given lower pay than the white troops. But as the war continued to go badly and scores of northern troops were being killed, this first all-Black regiment was sent into action to storm Fort Wagner in South Carolina. Their heroic gallantry in this bloody battle opened the door for thousands of other Black troops to enter the fight -- and Abraham Lincoln said they helped to turn the tide of the war.

History repeated itself in the Second World War when Black pilots were given old, broken down planes and kept far from any true action. But like the famous Massachusetts 54th, when they were given a chance to fight the enemy, these gallant soldiers, known as the Tuskegee Airmen, not only rose to the challenge, but distinguished themselves with valor throughout the war.

Red Tails brilliantly tells their story.

As the young Tuskegee pilots are on the brink of being shut down, Col. A.J. Bullard (Terrence Howard) fights the battle in Washington, D.C., to let them prove themselves in aerial combat. The war in Europe has taken a dire toll on Allied pilots and Pentagon brass has no recourse but to reconsider these under-utilized pilots for combat duty. The Tuskegee Airmen are given the assignment of escorting bombers in broad daylight -- a mission so dangerous that the RAF (Royal Air Force - Britain) has refused it and the white fighter groups have sustained substantial losses.

These courageous young airmen take to the skies to defeat the Nazis -- and the discrimination that has kept them down for so long. Their rousing motto as they go into battle is, “From the last bullet, to the last plane, to the last man – we fight, we fight, we fight!”

The dogfights in this movie are simply breathtaking. George Lucas and his team not only deliver a wonderful story, but also a dazzling display of seamless special effects. It just looks real. Period.

Veteran actors Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Terrence Howard give their usual strong performance. But the film is also carried by moving performances from rising stars Nate Parker as Marty “Easy” Julian and David Oyelowo as Joe “Lightning” Little.

Directed by Anthony Hemingway, from a script by John Ridley and story by executive producer George Lucas, Red Tails is the first Lucasfilm Ltd. production since Radioland Murders (1994) not to be associated with the Indiana Jones or Star Wars franchises.

According to Nate Parker, Lucas spent a great deal of time and energy on the set, helping to shape this movie that he first started developing in the late 1980s. At one point when Hemingway was called away to work on another project for HBO, Lucas took over as director to shoot retakes. His careful oversight is apparent in this spectacular epic of courage from World War II.

It is also refreshing to see that writer John Ridley allowed the faith of several of the airmen and officers to be seen on film – because that is how these men truly lived their lives.

Red Tails adds an important cinematic chapter to the record, giving honor to these American pilots who gave their lives in the fight for the freedom of mankind. It is a must-see movie for anyone who is interested in U.S. history – and the history of freedom.

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Craig von  BuseckCraig von Buseck is Ministries Director for More from Craig on


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