Red Tails...The Story of True American Heroes
Author(s): Blonde and Brunette
Editor: Mark Lewis
Published: January 31, 2012

Red Tails

By: The Blonde and The Brunette


George Lucas is sure to get another Oscar nomination for finally telling the untold brave story of the "Red Tails". This is the tale of the legendary first African American Air Force Pilots Squadron, known as the Tuskegee Airmen, who fought in World War II. The film was brilliantly directed by Anthony Hemingway (The Manchurian Candidate in 2004). The Red Tails were previously known as the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the U.S. Army Air Corps. The film shows the strong character and commitment of these pilots who had to not only endure the havoc of the war, but the prejudices and preconceived notions of the military that African Americans could not be good pilots.  

The first mission the Red Tails were given was, "Operations Shingles”.  As they were thought inferior and expected to fail as African American Pilots, this would put their capabilities and further assignments to rest. We will not tell you if they accomplished their mission, to escort Bombers with little casualty or if they exceeded all expectations with the smallest amount of casualties in the history of the Air Force or any other missions of the Red Tails. You will have to find out for yourself. 


The group lead by Colonel A.J. Bullard played by Terrance Howard
(The Best Man in 1999), and Major Emmanuel Stance played by Cuba Gooding Jr. (Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story in 2009), never gave up their support and encouragement to these brave military men. The Tuskegee Airmen were equipped with old falling apart Curtiss P-40 Warhawks (The Illustrious Flying Tigers used these same types of planes) fighter bomber aircraft which totally put them at a disadvantage from the get go.

The Pilot Unit included Marty "Easy" Julian,  played by Nate Parker (Blood Done Sign My Name in 2010); Joe "Lightening" Little, who is a Lady's man played by  David Oyelow (Rise of the Planet of the Apes in 2011); Andrew "Smokey" Salem, played by Ne-Yo (Battle: Los Angeles in 2011); Samuel "Joker" George, played by up and coming Singer Elijah Kelley (Album Love Letters in 2008); and Ray "Junior" Gannon, played by Tristan Wilds (The Secret Life of Bees in 2008) who still inspire generations of Americans to be all they could be. Don't miss this memorable story in the theatres now.

The Blonde: People always say, “Another World War 2 Movie?”, when war films come out over the years. Well, Red Tails is not just another war movie. It is a classic, as it is different, unique, compelling and an important story to tell! What an extraordinary film this is and major kudos to you, Mr. George Lucas. You have created the PERFECT American film. He wanted to make this epic film for the past 23 years; however, Hollywood, time and time again turned him down. Thank you, George, for your perseverance and the gift of Red Tails. Everything about this film is impressive, brilliant, stunning and stellar! I LOVED this movie and really cannot joke like we normally do as this is too profound a story.

The Brunette: I cannot agree more with The Blonde!  FYI, it took 10 years for Lucas to finish this film. Furthermore, no studio was willing to finance Red Tails, so Lucas put up 100 million dollars of his own personal fortune to make his dream film a reality. It seems to have paid off, as it raked in 19.1 million opening weekend!


The Blonde: To begin, the characters were so very well defined that I and the rest of the audience couldn’t help rooting for every one of them. The story made me laugh, cry and sit on the edge of my seat most of the time!  The script and dialogue were brilliant. There were so many great lines here as well. The story just has it all; action, humor, romance, important racial issues, brotherhood and camaraderie.

The Brunette: I found all of the aerial dogfights remarkable and tremendously realistic. Each of the characters were likeable, interesting and brought their own individual vices, personal problems and situations to the storyline that kept me, as well as the audience, glued to the screen.


The Blonde: I found the horrible discrimination back during those years, both disgusting and embarrassing! The armed forces claimed that blacks were inferior to whites both in intelligence and strength. I am ashamed of what went down then. Love how the armed services were put in their place with mud on their face!!!! The last time I felt so awful on this matter was watching The Help! Hollywood has come a long way, thank Goodness! It is ironic and astounding to recognize that blacks in the military were allowed to fight for their country, but while they were bravely doing so, they were segregated and treated as 2nd class citizens. How awful, how infuriating, how unjust, how simply wrong!!!  Thank God some of these issues have somewhat turned around!

The Brunette: Yeah, can you believe that the years from1876 through1965, the ‘Jim Crow law’, aimed at African Americans, mandated racial segregation in all public activities. Thank goodness times and laws have changed!

The Blonde: The casting was extraordinary! Cuba Gooding Jr. played his best role here since Jerry Maguire. The talented Terrance Howard was thrilling to watch as well. The acting of all the characters was phenomenal and believable. For they did not act, they simply were!!!                               

I must say that I ruined a fresh manicure watching these actors on screen. I bit most of my nails off feeling their individual stories unfold and watching the action and bravery while thinking about the real men from the Red Tails. Why did we not learn about the Red Tails in our history class in grade school?  I simply don’t know!

The Brunette: Only you would bring up a manicure during such an important review like this. Next time, I’ll buy you a bucket to chew on instead of your nails. The characters were remarkable and refreshing. I found there to be a strong chemistry between the actors and characters. The actors surely must have had a great time making this film.


The Blonde: Not to mention, proud to be a part of it! Poor Denzel Washington, I know he would have loved to play any of the characters in Red Tails. He would have been awesome doing so!

The Brunette: I look forward to seeing more of this generation of fine actors in future films.

The Blonde: I agree with that! Ya know brunette, it was nice and comforting to see that the Italians were colorblind at that time in history.

The Brunette: Without a doubt! I loved the fact that Lucas filmed in Italy, which was true and authentic to the real mission of the Red Tails.

The Blonde: I loved looking at the Italian scenes myself. The locations were spot on as well as the cinematography. What a challenging job the editor had putting the pieces of Red Tails together. I also, want to mention how outstanding this movie was directed by Anthony Hemingway. I smell Oscar for so much of this film.

The Brunette: The story of the Red Tails inspired me to never give up, to do my very best in all my endeavors and to never stop trying to reach my goals and dreams. I hope others get that message from it as well.

The Blonde: Truly it was profound in that way. What heroes the men of Red Tails were. How brave, ethical and inspiring role models these American icons were and are to the youth of America today.

The Brunette: These men had to learn so much about flying on their own in addition to their military training. Flying must have been in their blood to be able to accomplish and prove themselves worthy and outstanding enough to earn their later missions. And to think that they accomplished all of this while having to overcome all the obstacles their race had to endure in those years.


The Blonde: Remarkable. I am thrilled that Lucas created this film so the world and grade school kids (if they are still not teaching it) will know the truth and give credit where credit is due!  Moviegoers, every scene is amazing and important to watch. So here is a warning…  Go to the bathroom before it starts (I DIDN’T’, big huge mistake). 

The Brunette: And do remember to get a bucket of popcorn to save your own nails. You will be glued to the screen, Blondie is right about that.

The Blonde: I always laughed at people who applauded at the end of a film. I thought it was so corny. Well, guess what readers, I led the applause and proud of it. I was crying at the end because I was so touched about everyone and every character in this movie. I rate Red Tails an A+++! This is a very important American film. It is my pick right now for the Oscars’ best picture of the year, 2013. Run and see it and take the whole family! Bravo Lucas and all involved in Red Tails!

The Brunette: I too, am picking out my dress for the Oscars 2013. I want to see George and the others receive the grand statue for this classic! I rate it a triple A+ as well. This is a NOT to be missed movie.

The Blonde: I too have a shopping spree ahead of me for the dress as I will no doubt be sitting with Lucas and his lovely wife Melody.

The Brunette:  That’s my girl... KEEP DREAMIN!!!


Editor’s Note: Any critic who berates this film or story in way, two things to note from me.  Number 1)  Please go back to film and journalism school, you apparently snoozed through most of your education.  Number 2) This is one of the most important and underrated/untold stories of World War 2, crack open the computer and Google the events that unfolded. Final food for thought, when in the trenches of war, the color of the guy next to you really never matters, just how well he helps save you life.