Flying Tigers (1942) Script

Attention, flight "A"! Flight "A"!

Japanese aircraft sighted over Kunsing area.

Aggie blue from aggie blue one. Go ahead.

Blue two okay, skipper. Blue three, check.

Blue four receiving you r5-s5, sir.

Blue five, okay. Blue six, okay.

Eighteen attack bombers, three points to your right. About 15,000.

What do you know, only three to one. That won't even wake me up.

Gordon to Dale, over. Go ahead, sir.

Listen, Dale, this is your first time up.

Don't try to win this war all by yourself.

Stick close. Tail them in formation. Yes, sir.

What time is it?

11:27. Those boozers are overdue.

All safe and accounted for? Of course.

Of course.

Look, captain Jim! Looky! Wham, wham!


Better get a new oxygen tank. She only registers 500.


You got something on your mind? Me?

Nothing but japs. Why?

You're not pulling out of your dives fast enough.

I'll watch it.

It only takes one. I know, Jim.

Hate to look around one day and find out you're the little man who wasn't there.

You and reardon better go up this afternoon and simulate a diving attack.

Mustn't get rusty.

Okay, Jim.

A little rough in spots, Dale, but I think when you iron a few things out-



Bill, take care of Dale.

Mike? Yes, sir?

Did that box of instruments come up from rangoon?

Yes, sir. Fix the panel in Dale's ship.

This belonged to Dale too.

Come in.

Quite a collection.

He should have stayed in college where he came from, but he begged for a chance.

Begged for it like some kid asking to go to the circus, and I gave it to him.

What happened?

He didn't watch his tail. And outnumbered, as usual.

He did bring his ship back.

Yeah... he did.

But tomorrow or the next day, there will be somebody else in it...

With three of them on his tail.

Or six or ten- Jim.

How's Miller? Just a flesh wound in the shoulder.

I'll give him back to you in a week.

How are you?

You can have me back anytime.

Why don't you go home?

You need a nurse.

Suppose you cut yourself shaving?

When did you sleep last?

Monday. It was a very good day for it.

Well, try Thursdays. They're good days too. Excuse me.


Get me the weather on m5, and check on those oil drums.

Find out what's holding them up. As if I didn't already know.

Think hap could run this show for a couple of days? Yes. Why?

I've got to run down to rangoon. The colonel promised me some replacements.

I'm gonna need them now that Dale when will you be back?

Oh, I don't know.

Might keep right on going till I get to San Francisco.

Nice town, San Francisco.


There's a place on Fisherman's wharf- they serve oysters you have to cut with a knife.

Ever try Simpsons in London?

Roast beef you can cut with a fork.

No floor show though.

No floor show.

Take me with you.

No, Brooke, we can't do anything like that.

I know. I couldn't leave anyway.

There's a new batch of evacuee children coming this afternoon.

Wanted to see me, Jim?

Yeah, I want you to take care of the store while I'm away.

Got to go to rangoon. Sure.

Larry, have the station wagon brought around and put my things in it.

Got to catch a plane for rangoon.

Did that gasoline shipment arrive yet?

I wish somebody would figure out a ship that would fly on rice.

Want to check the scoreboard?

Mccurdy will fly number two while you're in charge.

Make sure that second-string pitcher does some work on his guns.

Zero. Two."

I thought you and Jim- didn't I tell you to credit my ship only to Dale?

Look, Jim, I got nobody back in the states.

I thought Dale's folks would find that $1,000 bonus handy around the farm.

Or is it a gas station?

You got your halo on crooked, pal.

Car's ready. Right.

Start working on Selby and mcintosh as a team.

I think they're about ready. Okay, Jim.

Don't worry about a thing. I'll take care of things while you're away.

Okay. And no gin rummy with Brooke.

She's my pigeon. Bye, pigeon. Bye-bye.

What do you see in that guy?

San Francisco.


Never mind.

Any more on flight 8 from Hong Kong?

The airport informs me the plane has been delayed. The storm, you know.

Oh, there were two gentlemen here expecting me.

I believe they just came in.

You'll find them in the cocktail lounge with Mrs. bales.

Mrs. bales?

If anything more comes in on that plane, let me know. Yes, sir.

Squadron leader Gordon, I'm lieutenant barton. How are you?

Hello, blackie. Hello, Jim. My wife, Jim.

How do you do?

What are you doing here, blackie?

I heard you needed pilots, and I needed the job.

I didn't know at the time that you were head man.

I'll run upstairs and pack.

Excuse me. Train leaves for lai chau at 6:00 in the morning.

Be on it. Yes, sir.

She knows, Jim.

I hate to turn you down, but I've got to.

Look, Jim, I don't want to put this on a personal basis, but you know me, you know my work.

I'm a good flier, Jim. I know you are.

You could work for me anytime. We get along, but-

I haven't been on that stuff for a long time, Jim. Honest. That's just soda pop.

It isn't that. I'm trying to hold on to a fine bunch of men.

It isn't always easy to keep peace in the family.

Some of them would remember that lefty matson case.

But, Jim, I was cleared of that. I know.

The army gave you a clean bill of health, but you'd be flying with a lot of men that knew lefty.

I'm really doing blackie a favor, Mrs. bales.

I don't want any favors. I just want a chance to get back on my feet.

This is the last outpost for me, Jim.

Oh, it just wouldn't work out. I'm sorry.

Good-bye, Mrs. bales, blackie.

Any news yet? No, sir. Not yet.

Mr. Gordon, I made some excuse so I could talk to you.

No matter what happens, please don't ever tell blackie that I did.

Of course.

Mr. Gordon, I hate to butt in like this, but you've got to give him another chance to fly.

Mrs. bales, I can't jeopardize the morale of an entire squadron...

Just to give your husband a job.

But it isn't just a job. Though we need the money, it's something more.

I married him right after that happened.

He told me the whole story.

I thought I could make it up to him, but I can't.

There's some things that even a wife can't do for the man she loves.

He's got to find it himself...

Doing the things he loves best, even if means paying with his life.

It isn't easy for me to say no. You don't know what you're asking me to do.

Oh, I do.

Do you know what losing your self-respect means?

That's what's happened to him.

I know. I live with him.

I've caught him looking out of a window, watching a plane.

Watching it till he couldn't see it any more.

Afraid to turn around and look me in the face.

Mrs. bales Mr. Gordon, you know men. You command a squadron.

You've seen them die. Some of them go out smiling.

Have you ever seen the look on a man's face...

When you tell him he can't fly anymore?


It's a living death, Mr. Gordon. I know.

Please don't say any more.

I'd rather he went with you and took what came...

Than to live with him the rest of his life...

Watching him die a little every day.

Have him on that train tomorrow morning.


You can't go with him, you know.

Yes, I know.

And please don't ever tell blackie I spoke to you.

I just received news for that plane from Hong Kong, sir.

It was attacked by a Japanese fighter squadron.

Is it down? No, sir. It's coming in on one wing and a prayer.

Get me a cab. Yes, sir.

Rangoon calling again, Woody.

Jason, flight 8. Go ahead, rangoon. What do you want now?

Am I gonna bring the plane in? No, you dope!

I'm gonna park it up here on the clouds and wait till the storm blows over!

We did everything to cover your landing, Jason.

Fire and crash trucks are standing by.

Bring her down easy. "Easy"?

Rangoon calling Jason, flight 8. What's your position?

My instruments tell me I'm flying upside-down...

5,000 feet below lake Michigan.

But I must be wrong because I can see the lights of the field.

Head for cover. I'm coming in!

I can see them, Mr. raffkin.

Bring that Mike outside.

Lower the landing gear, Alabama.

If he walks away from this one, he's a miracle man.

Pull up, Woody! You're coming in on one wheel!

Thanks. Woody, this is Jim Gordon.

What are you doing up so late, pappy? Never mind that.

The runway at the north end of the field is mud and water.

Your only chance is to get that wheel up and skid in on your belly, but watch the wind.

Stop worrying, pappy. Just get that mob out of the way...

Or somebody will get a hot engine in their lap.

Pull up that landing gear.

You're gonna spill, Woody! You're coming in crosswind!

Mm-mmm. Good ol' real estate!

Jim! What do you say, pappy? Woody!

Nice landing.

Did you like it? Why, you lucky- what do you mean, "lucky"? Coming in crosswind.

Why not? I wanted the wind to blow the fire away from the cabin.

Meet my better half while he's still awake. This is Alabama Smith.

This is captain Jim Gordon of the flying tigers. How are you?

That's enough. Jason, that was magnificent!

Save it. I'm gonna find a promotion for you.

Listen, you can take my job, the rangoon airways, the Burmese...

And the rest of this cockeyed country and give it back to Marco polo!

Chop, chop. But Mr. Jason-

I didn't sign on to be a target for a bunch of four-eyed japs!

You're not resigning. No, I'm quitting, definitely and for good.

And me too.

And forward Mr. Jason's mail to kunsing airfield.

Thank you very much, Mr. raffkin.

Here come the replacements.

Take these men over to the barracks.

What's this thing? Headquarters.

It looks like the taj mahal with a hangover.

What's that? The milk bar?

No, the barracks. Pick out a cot with four legs if you can find one.

Dump your stuff and report back to me at the hangar.

What hangar?

That's a hangar? I like the green roof, but isn't it drafty?

I didn't promise you la guardia airport.

Look, pappy, if I'd have known this, I wouldn't have come out here for $612 a month.

How did you get mixed up in this anyway?

You never used to like chop suey. You'll find out.

Get yourself all set, and I'll see you later.

Okay, pappy.

What are those things you wear on your backs, laundry tickets?

No, in case you're forced down in Chinese territory, they'll know you're an American volunteer.

What if you're forced down in enemy territory?

Then you've got nothing to worry about.

You all set, Woody? The red carpet's a little threadbare, the brass band's a little out of tune, but outside of that, I'm all set.

Would you like the blue or the pink bridal suite, sir?

The blue comes with a sunken tub.

What did you expect, the la guardia airport?


Drop this off for me, will you?

I've got to make a reconnaissance.

I'm getting that old feeling.

Jim, is that you?

I won't be a minute.

I'm just finishing a bath. Be right out.

How was rangoon? Did you have fun?

How many replacements did you bring back?

You would come back just when I was stealing a bath.

Then, of course, the boiler went burst and the water ran out- oh, hello.

Jim Gordon with you? Won't I do?

Say, tell me something. You always use Jim's tub?

Yes, we all do. Cozy.

It happens to be the only bathtub in kunsing.

I see. It must be a very chummy spot on Saturday night.

Do you sing and dance too or is your act limited to patter?

Oh, fine, fine.

You're one of the new replacements, aren't you?

Oh, no, not one of the replacements.

Jim told me he was having a little trouble out here, so I thought I'd give him a hand.

And I think I'm going to like it.

I'm so glad.

If there's anything we can do to make you comfortable, don't hesitate to call on us.

Oh, I will, I will. How about dinner?


I never get quite that hungry.

Oh, and if you should use the tub, you'll be sure and empty it, won't you?

We've no plumbing. So sorry.

What happened to that one? I overshot the field yesterday.

Came in a little too high, I guess.

I'll watch it. Jim!

Brooke! Been behaving yourself? Mm-hmm.

No, she hasn't. She's been taking me at gin rummy since you left.

Oh, Woody.

Miss elliott, Mr. Jason. We've met.

What do you think of glamour boy?

He's a difficult man to get to know. So shy.

Anybody in my spot would have done the same thing.

Hap Davis, Woody Jason.

Glad to have you with us, Jason. Thank you, hap.

I'm gonna put him in your hands, hap.

I don't need a nurse. I've already got one.

If you'll excuse me, I have to go on duty. Wish me luck?

You don't really need it, do you?

Did I do something wrong? Do you ever do anything right?

Pappy, why don't you stop picking on me?

Come on. I'll introduce you to the rest of the fellas.

I don't like to point, chum, but she happens to be the skipper's girl.

Great. She's got a sense of humor, hasn't she? We all have.

In fact, we wake up two or three times a night, laugh and go back to sleep.

I would have hated to have been in that burning plane with anybody else but Woody.

You don't have to sell Jason to us. We know he's got a good record.

But out here, everybody starts even.

Oh, yeah.

Does that go for me too?

Sure. Sure, it does.

Thanks, fellas. Thanks.

Selby. Yeah?

I got your 30 pasted together. Okay.

We're not sticklers for discipline here, Woody, but we expect results.


Gentlemen, this is Woody Jason. Hi, fellas.

Hi, Woody. His bark is worse than his bite.

Shake hands and count your fingers.

I'm mccurdy from Brooklyn. How are you, Brooklyn?

You ever know a little girl by the name of Sally gray?

No, you wouldn't. You're not her type.

My name's Norton. I'm from don't tell me. I know.

A state of beautiful women. You ever know the mcdott sisters from fort worth?

I'm from Dallas. Oh.

Reardon, Maine. I don't think you'd know anybody I'd know.

Now, there's where you're wrong. I knew a redheaded girl by the name-

Selby, Michigan. Selby mi- hello, Michigan. What a football team.

I used to date a little what do you call those? Majorette.

Yeah, a majorette.

What a football team.

My name's mcintosh. How are you, Mac?

I come from nowhere. You got a girl there?

Uh- Bentley's that gal's name.

A tall brunette with a p-40 figure and plenty of armor.

Boy, I can't wait till I get back. "Back"?

Yeah, you don't think I'm gonna make this my life's work, do you?

Give him time, boys. He'll catch there's a war on.

I know there's a war, but you fellows have no part of it.

We're all out here dough.

Sure, that we are, but it's good to know every check you cash in...

Means a jap's cashed in too.

Wait a minute, fellas. We're all making the same salary:

600 bucks a month and 500 a jap, right?

Back home most of us would kill rattlesnakes whether there was a bounty on them or not.

I know, but you're protecting your own home. This is not our home.

It's not our fight. It's a business. And I hope business is good.

What's the matter with him? His brother crashed behind enemy lines.

We found him after the japs got through with him.

I didn't mean anything personal we know you didn't, Woody.

Let's take a walk. Yeah, but- get down!

Tails up! Let's go.

Come on, Alabama! Where are we going?

The bank's open!

Is anybody hurt? Not yet.

Which one do I take? Are you crazy? Wait till you get combat training.

"Training"? Me? I'm losing dough!

And I'm running this outfit! Get back!

1,500 smackers up there, and that guy cuts me off!

There's a shelter at the first aid. What are we waiting for?

I don't know, but I came out here to fly.

Hey, Woody! That ain't the way!

Stop, stop!

No! No! Come back here!

Smart fellow taking plane no bullets! No ammunition?

What? No got- contact him by radio. Him no take earphone.

Let's contact Jim! Yeah!

Aggie dispersal calling aggie blue one, Gordon.

Aggie dispersal calling aggie blue one, Gordon. Go ahead.

Aggie blue one, Gordon, back to aggie dispersal. Go ahead.

Hello, Gordon. Wingman Jason took off in p-40 ship.

He's unarmed and without radio communication.

Request you locate and signal him to return to base immediately. Go ahead.


Get your checkbook out, general.

Woody! Woody! Woody!

Woody, are you all right?

Oh, I'm all right.

Well, I walked away from that one.

Hey, whose side are you on?

Report to my office immediately.

Okay, pappy.

A few more landings like that, and he'll be a Japanese ace.

Where do you think you are, with some broken-down flying circus?

It would have been a cinch. I was riding the murder spot right above those japolas.

If I had ammunition, I'd have blown them clear out of China.

And you washed out a good ship.

You talk like that crate is more important than me.

I can't afford to lose either planes or pilots.

Pappy, it's like I told you down at the barracks:

All I get out of this is the dough, so you can't blame me for trying.

In a skeet match, the guy who knocks down the most pigeons wins the cup.

I can't have grandstanders trying to hog the show.

Results here are based on cooperation and understanding.

Discipline in the air is strict because that's the only way...

An outfit like this can operate.

Wait, hap. All right, I'll admit I was wrong.

I made a mistake.


In this kind of warfare, a fella likes to feel he's flying with somebody he can trust.

What do I care? It's every man for himself, isn't it? Not these days.

Wait till you look back and see a jap sitting on your tail...

In a ship that you can't outmaneuver.

Then you'll know what I'm talking about. Okay, pappy.

From now on, I'll study my lessons and practice the piano every day.

There won't be any more trouble.

I'll be a modest, respectful soldier if it kills me, I swear.

Okay, Woody.

You got a cigarette?

Keep them. Thanks.

You got a match?

Afraid you're gonna have a little trouble with that ball of fire, skipper.

Oh, Woody's all right.

Gets a little off beam once in a while, but he's gonna develop into the best flier in this squadron.

That's what counts.

You see how he went after those three japs? That took nerve!

Yeah, he's got nerve, all right.

Got a cigarette?

These are the planes you'll be tangling with.

Know them so you can identify them.

Plenty of these planes carry detachable auxiliary gas tanks, which give them great range.

These tanks are dropped when they reach the objective, so they don't lessen the plane's fighting efficiency.

The kawanishi 96 can carry about a half a ton of bombs as well as scout.

But the most modern fighter, and the toughest one to crack, is the nakajima.

It isn't fast, but it's light and maneuverable.

If you find yourself in trouble and have to bail out, there's one important thing to remember:

Do a closed-chute fall.

Drop as far as possible outside the combat area before pulling the cord.

That's to prevent our little brown friends from following you down...

And machine-gunning you while you're hanging helplessly in the air.

It's a quaint little habit of theirs.

And watch for the man who's hit the silk.

Protect him whenever possible.

You know what I'm not gonna do, pappy?

I'm not gonna ask you what to do if that chute doesn't open...

Because you'll say- take it back to the factory.

Oh, yeah.

No hits, no runs, no errors.

There must be something I'm doing wrong.

Yesterday I unloaded a whole case of shells...

Before I seen I was firing at my own shadow on a cloud.

You keep shooting at those clouds, the angels are gonna get sore at you.

Thirteen for our team and nobody benched. Nice work, boys.

Thirteen? You ain't superstitious, are you?

If you are, the next time I go up, I'll make it 14.

Yeah, I'll bet.

I could take that scoreboard down to the bank and cash it in right now.

Two thousand smackers, and today's only Thursday.

Any of you hangar pilots top that?

I knew a fellow who tied it once, only he didn't live to spend it.

It's too bad he waited. If I hit my stride, you guys can take a vacation.

At my expense, of course. How does it feel to be a one-man team?

I don't get it. You're not the first ball carrier...

That didn't appreciate his interference.

Give me that in straight English.

Twice I've been on the tail of a nakajima...

When you've cut in for the kill and the credit.

Hold it, blackie. Wait a minute.

Let him talk.

There's only one guy Woody Jason.

Listen, sorehead, every time I ever cut in on you I probably saved your life.

If I were you, I'd be the last guy to talk about cutting in.

I saw the tunnel that my pal lefty matson dug in the Cleveland air races.

Probably figured his turn wrong. Everybody saw what happened.

Oh, sure. It was all cleared up in the investigation.

But they forgot to smell your breath.

Quit it! Save it! Attention, "a" flight, elements "a," "b" and "c."

Enemy aircraft in force over mekong bridge. Tails up!

Get moving, you two guys! I'm not through with you yet.

Okay, tom. You know where I live.

Hear about Jason? He got another nippo today.

Yeah. It's too bad they don't pay off on dead pilots.

Hey, wait a minute, fellas. You can't pin this on me.

If blackie hadn't opened his parachute so soon, it wouldn't have happened.

Maybe if you'd have followed blackie down, it wouldn't have happened either.

You were nearest to him. What happened? A mitsi got in my way.

I guess it's easier to see 500 bucks than a pal of yours in trouble.

Hey, you got five planes now. That makes you an ace.

"Ace"? How do you spell it?

Mike, that ship gassed?

Yeah, him full to top. Okay.

Oh, Jim, do you mind if I use that ship?

Where are you going? Up for some fresh air.

It's a little heavy in the barracks.

Go ahead. Thanks.


I got to know the truth about one thing:

Could you have prevented blackie bales' death?

No, Jim. I saw him fall, but I didn't see him open his chute.

I was sure he'd wait until he was safe.

If I thought he was in danger, I'd have looked after him.

That's good enough for me.

Thanks, pappy.

I never saw anything like the way he went after those ships.

It was something. First one and then another and then-

none of us want to go, Mrs. bales.

We'd all like to live to be 108.

But few of us get a chance to go out...

In a blaze of glory like blackie did.

H-he wasn't afraid.

Blackie wasn't afraid of anything.

You know, we got a pretty tough bunch of guys up there.

They've got to be for what they're up against.

But when it came to real fighting spirit, none could touch blackie.

D-did they like him? Oh, they were crazy about him.

He was great to be around; always making cracks and keeping people's spirits up.

I'm glad.

I suppose you'll be going back to the states.

This belonged to blackie.

So much?

Oh, sure. He knocked a couple down the week before.

He never wrote me. That shows you what kind of a guy he was.

He wouldn't even tell his wife how well he was doing.


I got to be going.

Good-bye... And good luck to you.

Good afternoon, nurse. Good afternoon, madam montier.

Are those our children laughing?

Yes. It's that wonderful young man you sent to us. I sent you?

You were a Saint to think of it.

He's the first ray of sunlight these children have known in months.

I think I'll take a look at Mr. sunbeam.

Hurry, hurry, hurry. You're just about to witness that great, that colossal, that stupendous mystery known as the disappearing half dollar or-

or now you see it and now you don't.

Now I need a young lady to assist me. Will any young lady step up, please?

Some young lady, any young lady?

You, come on.

Come on. Aw, come on.

Come on.

Aw, come on. That's the girl.

Thank you.

Oh, boy. This will amaze you before your very eyes!

In my hand here I have a brand-new half dollar.

It's brand-new. I made it myself this morning.

You can still smell the mint on it.

Uh, I will make it disappear into my elbow. Watch very closely.

Here it goes. Don't take your eyes off of my hand.

Well, now, watch me very closely. Watch very closely what happens.

See? Oop, it slipped! Watch it closely. You see?

Watch my hand. Everybody watch it very closely.

Here it goes. One, two, three.

Hocus-pocus, bowlegged locust. What happens? It's gone!

What do you know about that? How do you like that, huh?

I wonder where it is now.

I wonder where it could be. I think I know.

Yes, I do. I see it.

Here it is, right behind your ear!

What do you know about that?

How do you like that? Isn't that wonderful?

Yes, well, thank you very much, miss.

And now- excuse me.

Don't tell them, but that's the only trick I know.

My public won't let me go.

If you persuade your public inside, I might be able to change some bandages.

Absolutely. Hurry, hurry, hurry!

Right this way to see the beautiful nurse perform the greatest trick.

She is lovely, she is beautiful... and she's mad at me.

Hurry, hurry.

Come quickly.

Well, I guess they're going away.

I hope so.

Have the children get ready. I'll change their bandages now.

Careful. She's slipping. They're pretty tough to hold when they're this young.

Some of them never get any older.

Where did you dig up all these kids?

Most of them were "dug up," as you put it, after the bombings.

Are they all orphans?

The little girl you're holding walked almost 1,000 Miles across China to get here.

She lived on roots or whatever else she could find to eat.

How did she find this place?

I don't know. Some instinct brings them here.

Or, perhaps, one child tells another.

But always after a bombing, here they are:

Starved, patient, silent.

I had no idea. Very few people do.

Well- there you are, darling.

What's she selling? She's brought you these rice cakes as a tribute.

Tribute? For what? That corny trick with the half dollar?

No, for your courage and loyalty as a member of the flying tigers.

Oh. What else did she say?

Um, we are humbly grateful and beg you to accept these useless rice cakes...

Even though they are not worthy of so honorable and so brave a warrior.

Yeah, well, tell her okay and thanks, and I'll keep them flying.

Thank you.

Why don't you have dinner with me tonight, and we can have these for dessert?

Sorry. No?

I'm having dinner with Jim.

Hey, these are good!

You want I should come back again or you want to order now?

What's good tonight?

We have special American dishes:

Egg fu Yung, candied duck or chop suey.

Have you any roast beef you can cut with a fork?

You surely have oysters you can cut with a knife?

No floor show? No, sir. No floor show.

But music... Very nice.

Can't you turn that record over? Has it only got one side?

Oh, him turn over, no music, but him turn over. Never mind.

We're getting so we like it. Thank you.

Look, chin, why don't you surprise us?

Bring us something new like... chow mein.

Ah, very nice. Very good chow mein. American dishes.

Oh, I'm sorry, Brooke. Sorry? What are you talking about?

Well, you know, all this.

If we were back in the states, we'd be having dinner at some good restaurant, dancing once or twice, might even go out to a show.

What's the matter with this? The food here is excellent.

As for the music, there's a wonderful orchestra on that record.

A little hoarse by now, but we can still dance.

Ask me and see.

Miss elliott, may I have this dance?

I've promised it to that dashing lieutenant in the horse marines...

But I don't think he'll mind.

What's wrong? This came for you.

It's in code, so I thought it might be important.

I hate to break in on you two. That's all right.

I'll have to get back to the field and decode this. Of course.

Sorry, Brooke. I guess we can never really plan anything- ah, it's ready. Nice dish, very nice.

Sorry, chin. We got to run along. What I do with this?

You eat it.

Me eat this? No, sir. No, sir.

I dragged you all out of bed and every place else because this arrived.

I haven't had any mail for months.

I didn't know that any of your friends could write.

Well, here it is.

"Commencing the first-" that's tomorrow.

Your squadron assumes continuous night reconnaissance in alternating patrols."

Signed r.T. Lindsay and so forth.

In simple language, that means we start a night patrol as well as day.

But, Jim, we're not set up for night flying.

We have no beacon and no landing lights.

We'll use the headlights on the trucks. How?

We have six vehicles. We'll line three up on each side of the runway.

That's all right for takeoffs, but what about landings?

Those lights can be seen from 5,000 feet up on a clear night.

Fine. Suppose there's a ground fog. What happens then?

Well, Woody, all you have to do is use your fog knife.

"Fog knife"? What's that?

Don't tell me Jason hasn't got one of those. Every ace has one.

Sure. When you're caught in a heavy fog, all you do is cut a hole in it with your fog knife...

And drop down like in an elevator.

You must have fallen through one of those holes on your head.

Easy, easy. Let's save that for the annual barbecue.

Now pay attention. No pilots must leave the post.

All leaves are automatically canceled.

Starting tomorrow morning at 10:00, every man on the field...

Must report to Dr. Singh for a physical checkup.

That's all. Scatter and get some sleep.

Woody. Yeah?

Got a minute? Sure.

What are you gonna do, stand me in the corner? No.

I'll be leading flight "a," and hap will be leading flight "b."

I want you to take over hap's old position, number two in back of me and my flight.

Okay, pappy.

Don't worry about a thing. Good night.

Good night, skipper.

Good night, hap.

Some of you guys don't seem to understand the reasons for these special tests.

Sure we do. It's to find out if we need a seeing eye dog.

Okay, okay. It's funny now.

The first time you're on a night flight...

And a string of tracers come hissing out at you from the dark, you'll be glad we rechecked your eyesight and reflexes. Sure. We know that.

Night patrol calls for peak efficiency and perfect physical fitness.


Where did you dig that up? I've been studying.

Don't, doc. That's cold, and I'm ticklish.

Nothing wrong with his reflexes.

Alignment blocks, please.

Is everything all right?

All these reports go to squadron leader Gordon.

The final decision rests with him.

I sure would hate to miss out on night patrol.

I hear those japos glow in the dark like bugs.

Good morning, gentlemen. Having your oil changed?

Is my eyesight failing me or is it that beautiful hunk of man?

You keep that up and someday they'll put you on the radio.

Come on, fellas. Let's go to the gasoline dump and get a breath of fresh air.

You asked for that. Okay, okay! I'm not beefing, am I?

Where's the gadget you wanted me to come back for, doctor? Yes, over here, please.

When I examined Mr. Jason this morning, this had not arrived yet.

I asked him to come back with the others.

Is that what you wanted? Yes, thank you.

Thank you. You know, Jason, people that fly upside down...

Get a pretty twisted picture of what's going on all around them.

Yeah, thanks, hap. Thanks a lot.

You well enough to travel, Alabama?

Huh? Oh, yeah, yeah.

All right, Mr. hap.

Think I'll fall apart, doc?

You should outlive confucius.

That's good enough for me.

You want to see me, skipper?

Sit down, hap.

I've made a change.

Tex Norton will lead flight "b" instead of you. That's okay, Jim.

I'd rather be up there in my old spot anyway, protecting your tail.

It isn't that, hap.

I gotta hand you one on the chin.

But I'd rather it came from me than from somebody else.

Go ahead, Jim.

You're through flying.

The doc said I'd live to be a hundred.

If you stay on the ground.


I see.


Was there anything else? No.

Wait a minute.

I can't send a man up that doesn't know whether he's flying upside-down or not.

Take a look at that physical. Your depth perception's a mile off.

I know you've been gunning 'em since they were box kites with broomsticks for rudders, but, you gotta believe me, I'm doing this for you!

You've been close winging in formations, overshooting your landings- you don't have to say any more!

I'm sorry.

I was kind of figuring on going back to the states anyway, maybe get me a chicken ranch or something.

I hear there's a lot of dough in eggs. Eggs?

Who are you trying to kid?

You haven't been saving any money.

You've been giving it away as fast as you make it.

Look, hap, I need you here.

What could I do now?

Taking care of these crates on the ground is just as important...

As flying them upstairs.

I got to have a man I can trust on the ground.

I wish you'd take that job, hap.

You're not doing this to no.

I really need you.

Well, ground kind of hurts my arches, but, well, I'll think about it.

Thanks, hap.

Wait a minute. I didn't swing at that one.

Come on.

Okay. I never could bat without my spike shoes anyway.

Come on, come on. You're out.

Come on, let her go.

Woody. Hello!

How are things going? You better not be seen talking to me.

I'm poison ivy. Everything I touch breaks out into a rash.

I, um, I just got a letter from Mrs. bales.

What's she writing you about? I sent her blackie's things. She wrote to thank me.

Oh. She said to be sure and give you her regards.

Well, um you are a difficult man to get to know, aren't you?

Why don't you have dinner with me tonight and get to know me better?

You don't take no for an answer, do you?

Why should I, when it's just as easy to say yes?

Isn't it? Yes.

Well, swell! I'll meet you tonight at the orphanage at 8:00.

Right? Okay. See you later.

Uh, wait a minute.

Don't say anything to anybody about Mrs. bales, will you?

I don't want to spoil my record. All right.

And be on time! Hey, 'bama.

Those guys only got seven lucky hits off of me in three innings.

Yeah, swell. I'm going off the reservation tonight. I got a date.

What about night patrol? You're on "a" flight.

Oh, don't worry about it. I'll be back in time.

But if anyone asks any questions about me, you cover me.

I'm getting that old feeling.

All right, fellas, synchronize your watches at 10:55.

It's now 10:54 and 57...

58, 59, mark it.

Tex, "b" flight must relieve us at exactly 11:55. Right.

Otherwise, we might mistake you for the enemy. That's about it.

Take off in four minutes.

I thought Jason was here.

Well, I thought I saw him getting dressed just a few minutes ago, sir.

Well, get him on the field. Yes, sir.

Warm 'em up.

Did you see Woody? I just stalled the skipper. No.

He'll wring my neck too if he finds out Woody left the field.

Against orders? Yeah, but he said he'd be right back.

Well, he's Jim's number two man. He'd better be back.

Tell pilot Jason takeoff is in two minutes.

Yes, sir.

All right, warm it up, Mike. Okeydokey.

Waiting for Mr. Jason, please. Yeah, yeah.

Tell him he'll be right there. Yes, sir.

I still don't think this is right. You keep your mouth shut.

But if anybody's gonna take Woody's flight, it ought to be me.

Are you crazy? I've been flying number two for Jim for over a year.

I know every one of his quirks, every one of his moves.

We're a team. Don't you understand? Yeah, I know, but- it's like he was the ball carrier and I was his interference.

Yeah, sure, but I still don't like it.

You're to stay on the ground. Not so long as Jim is in the air.

Missed the 5:15 again.

You're gonna have a hard time talking yourself out of this one. Who, me and pappy? No.

I wonder who's flying number two? Where have you been?

I'm late. So what? So hap took your flight, that's what.

All right, I'd do as much for him, wouldn't I? But hap was grounded.


"A" leader to "a" two. Go ahead.

What's the matter, Jason? Have you gone to sleep?

"A" two to "a" leader. What do you want? Go ahead.

Hap! Where's Jason? What are you doing here? Go on back!

Sorry, Jim. Remember me? I'm the little man who's always there.

Besides, it's too late.

"A" leader to flight "a." Nakajima fighters on port quarter. Combat formation.

Attaboy, skipper! Give 'em the old one-two!

Don't worry, Jim. I'm climbing his back porch now.

Pull out, hap! Pull out!

I hope you two had a good time...

'Cause hap paid the check.


There's an army truck out of here day after tomorrow for lai chau. Be on it.

Don't say that, Jim. Until then, you're confined to your quarters.

But I'm still a good flyer.

I'll knock down ten of those rats for every one of our boys.

It's out of my hands now. None of these men will ever fly with you again, and they have to fly.


December 7, 1941...

A date which will live...

In infamy.

The United States of America...

Was suddenly and deliberately attacked...

By naval and air forces...

Of the empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation...

And at the solicitation of Japan...

Was still in conversation...

With its government and its emperor...

Looking towards the maintenance of peace in the pacific.

I believe that I incorporate the will of the congress...

And of the people when I assert...

That we will not only defend ourselves to the utmost, but will make it very certain...

That this form of treachery...

Shall never again endanger it.

Hostilities exist.

There is no blinking at the fact...

That our people, our territory...

And our interests...

Are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination...

Of our people, we will gain...

The inevitable triumph...

So help us, God.

I ask that the congress declare...

That since the unprovoked...

And dastardly attack by Japan...

On Sunday, December 7, 1941...

A state of war has existed...

Between the United States...

And the Japanese empire.

How are you, Jim? Good, colonel. And you?

I don't have to tell you what our entrance into the war means...

To the volunteer group in China.

Our responsibility is grave. You and your men will have to take greater risks now.

I think they know it, sir. This hits them where they live.

I don't think any of them will let you down. I'm sure they won't.

Come here.

Intelligence reports that the Japanese are starting a new drive from this point.

But to camouflage that move, they're starting a fake attack from this point.

Under cover of which, they intend to bring up supplies and munitions from here.

We must destroy this bridge and delay the supply trains which pass over it.

I see. That's the only way we can give general chiang kai-shek...

Sufficient time to establish his defenses.

I know that area. It's a nest of antiaircraft and nakajima squadrons.

Thank you. They can send up an anac umbrella...

High enough to make any attack ineffective.

I warned you what we'd be up against.

But there's a way to do it, I think. Yeah?

A bomber squadron, even with our protection, wouldn't stand a chance.

But a single ship might get through. How?

By flying through the canyons instead of over them.

Taking off at dawn and hugging the sides of the hills away from the sun, a pilot might bring his ship through the pass and directly over the bridge.

Sounds like hedgehopping to suicide. Maybe.

But if you think it can be done, I'll order a bomber here right away.

I think we can use that transport. What?

They've been flying over enemy territory for five years.

They get potted at, of course, but they don't attract as much attention as a military ship.

What about bombs? It's got no bomb rack, no bomb release, nothing.

We can figure that out.

There's eight or nine cans in our munition dump marked, "nitro U.S.A."

I think I can find a messenger boy to deliver them.

A job for a volunteer, of course.

Of course.

Doggone it. You ought to be tar and feathered, Woody.

Getting yourself slung out of this outfit just when things are getting exciting.

What's going on out there?

Huh? You heard me. What's happening?

That's the skipper's idea.

He's gonna go fix breakfast for the jappies.

Gonna serve them soup.

Who's going with him? Nobody.

If you ask me, it's a one-way trip.

These reports must go out daily to keep colonel Lindsay informed on our status.

Yes, sir. Ship Norton to ground operation, Selby and Evans to night patrol, flight "a."

Miller ought to be about ready now to start in again with reardon as a team. Right.

That's about all, except you'll have to keep after kunming for gas, oil and supplies...

And toungoo for replacements.

Take good care of the store, Mac. I will, sir.

I- good luck to you.

Thank you, Mac. Come in.


I have Dr. Singh's report on barton.

How is he?

You can have him back in a week.

Colonel Lindsay's waiting outside, Jim. Right.


Good luck.


I haven't wanted to question you, Jim, but I thought you were gonna call for volunteers.

It only takes one, doesn't it?

Thank you, colonel.

Mike, rev it down! Mike, cut those motors!

What do you think you're doing? Cut those motors!

Get into your parachute.

I'd land and throw you out if I could take a chance on that cargo back there.

Bail out at 1,500.

You can't handle this crate all by yourself. It's a job for two of us.

Somebody's got to handle this stick while the other guy drops the stuff.

You know that as well as I do. Not the way I got it rigged.

I know I've been a lot of trouble to you since we first got to be friends.

You're the only guy I know who stuck by me.

If you're trying to alibi the way you've been living, we'll run out of gas.

Maybe I did start out just to have a bunch of laughs-

Woody, anyone who looks ahead in this racket is crazy.

I don't blame you for grabbing what you can today.

You don't mean that. If you did, you'd have dropped me long ago.

Hit the silk.

Look, Jim...

I had to talk to you.

I don't know where I'm going from here or...

When I'll see you again.

It's like Brooke said:

I don't know anything about anything:

Why we're here, why we're fighting, all that sort of stuff.

She tried to straighten me out too.

Although half the time she was talking about you and roast beef...

And San Francisco and all those crazy things.

See what I mean? 1,500.

Are we gonna say good-bye like this? Bail out!

Okay. I got it coming to me.

But there's one thing you gotta get straight on.

A whole lot of us just don't grow up. We stay kids.

The most important thing to a kid is the street he lives on.

It's his life. It's his whole world.

That was me when I first joined up with you.

Hong Kong, Shanghai, chungking- they didn't mean anything to me.

Just a lot of names in a geography book, not towns where millions of people were being maimed and killed by bombs.

If you called them Texas, Maine or Michigan...

That would have been different.

They were my street. That's why I acted the way I did.

Not because I was a heel, but because I was still a kid.

It cost another man's life to make a man out of me.

If you don't think that will stay on my mind as long as I live, then you don't know any more about me than... I think you did in the first place.

Well... that's all, and happy landing.

Sit down, Woody.

Check the course.

Okay, pappy.

Well, here we go into the tunnel of love.

Pull her up!

Did you know I used to drive a roller coaster?

Delivering nitro? Yes.

Were you killed? Uh-huh.

Take over. I want to get into this chute. Right.

Looks like the supply trains are moving.

But the bridge ain't.

You may serve the soup course now, pappy.

Get her closer.

If I get any closer to that bridge we'll have to pay a toll charge.

Let her go! Not yet!

Give the gentleman a cigar!

If they want to cross that river, they'll have to swim it.

You all right? Yeah, I'm all right.

This crate's got enough lead in its belly to sink a battleship.

Don't look now, but our tail feathers are on fire.

Huh? This is it, pappy. Let's take a powder.

Six cans of nitro aboard and that train's still running.

Yeah, but this is one train we're gonna have to miss. Come on, let's go.

Right. Throw it on automatic.

Come on! Hit the silk, Woody!

Here we go!

Happy landing, Jim.

"Do me a favor, will you, pappy?

"Give my leather jacket to reardon. He's a cold character.

"Divide my address book evenly between the boys in the barracks.

"And give my silk scarf to the next head-chopper that thinks this is an easy racket.


Come in.

You sent for me, sir? Yes, barratt.

This is your first time up. Don't try to win this war all by yourself.

Stay close to formation. If you find yourself in trouble, pour on the coal and head home.

Yes, sir. Just a minute.

This is for you.

Gee, thanks. Take good care of it.

It belonged to a pretty good flier. Sure.

Flight "a." Flight "a."

Reconnaissance patrol, two minutes.

How about having dinner with me? I hear chin has a new record. Swell.