Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Flyboys Movie Poster Image
WWI pilots make like heroes in bland adventure.
  • PG-13
  • 2006
  • 139 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 16 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Brave young men learn to work as a team (in the air and on the ground).


Action includes a brief boxing scene, several dog-fighting scenes (shooting at and from planes, mildly bloody injuries, a couple of deaths, crashes); some tense scenes involve shooting at planes from the ground (and narrow escapes), as well as shooting in trench warfare; a main character is shot in the shoulder (minor blood visible).


When Blaine crashes, he's tended to in a brothel, where he sees women in lacy underwear; Blaine appears undressed as Lucienne dresses his leg wound; later, they kiss.


Infrequent mild language ("hell," "damn," "goddamn"); white flyers make racist remarks to the black pilot when he enters a bar.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigarette smoking and some drinking (at bars and in tribute to military missions).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this action drama is set during World War I, so the combat on the ground is awkward and somewhat brutal (though only briefly seen), while the newfangled "flying machine" combat is romanticized. Battles tend to include slow motion sequences and grand music, characters are shot in their cockpits and slump over, bleeding, and a couple of planes crash. One character is shot down by airplanes after he has crash-landed. Another suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, drinking too much and behaving erratically, worrying his fellow flyers. A central character is shot (not fatally) while escaping the Germans. A brief scene following a pilot's crash shows him in a French bordello, where the prostitutes appear in their underwear and he undresses to his own underwear in order to have his injury dressed (he's embarrassed by this). Characters drink liquor, smoke cigarettes and cigars, and use occasional mild profanity.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bycaffinegirl85 May 24, 2012


James Franco was so goerous in this movie i owe it all to him. he is the best male actor and this is a great movie !
Adult Written byJEDI micah May 4, 2012


The first time I saw this movie was when I was in 8th grade in my history class, AND I LOVED IT! It's a great war movie, but like all other war movies, the... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bybiovox14 October 24, 2016

Come on this was great, lots of underlying messages.

This movie was really good, in both the way it depicted war, and the messages lying beneath the movie. You need to watch it with an open mind to get anything ou... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byBreaden Hoffmaster February 1, 2016

"Slip there killer?" -Blain Rawlings

This is an amazing film about the pilots in WWI. The story isn't bland as CS said, and has a great story with emotion, amazing action sequences, and really... Continue reading

What's the story?

Set in 1916, before the United States entered World War I, Tony Bill's movie focuses on young American men who go to France to join the Lafayette Escadrille. Texas rancher Blaine Rawlings (James Franco), frustrated at the loss of his parents' land to the bank, heads to Europe so he can put his flair for cowboying and earnest energy to use piloting one of the brand new "flying machines." Blaine's fellow trainees include Briggs (Tyler Labine), who enlists in order to prove his worth to his wealthy snob of a father; William (Philip Winchester), a cavalry officer's son who wants to continue his family's military tradition; and Eugene (Abdul Salis), a black expatriate boxer who wants to defend France, where the people actually treat him like an equal. All are instructed by the very patient Capt. Georges Thenault (Jean Reno).

Is it any good?

A romantic paean to World War I -- the so-called "Last Gentleman's War" -- FLYBOYS features plenty of midair action in small, open-cockpit biplanes.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the history of World War I, which introduced planes as weapons and vehicles of warfare. How do the American flyers help the French cause before the United States enters the war? Why did the United States finally decide to get involved in the war? How has warfare changed since WWI? What is the movie's ultimate message about war?

Movie details

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