Parents' Guide to

Red Tails

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Wartime drama mixes aerial combat, worthy messages, cliches.

Movie PG-13 2012 125 minutes
Red Tails Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 14 parent reviews

age 16+

Disappointing, Disturbing

My advice: Don't bother. **Warning: Spoilers** The writers tried to tackle too many characters in too short a film, relying on cliches to fill in development gaps. This may have done well as a tv series instead of a movie. I was expecting a powerful story about these incredible men but instead got a dozen goofy, rushed subplots and excessive gore. Several main characters are in intense peril, horribly injured, and killed. The graphic violence is used to create emotion where storytelling falls short. Includes typical PG-13 language, including one use of "N-" and other overtly racist comments. A romantic relationship develops and includes implied sex, but the couple aren't shown in bed. A man struggles with alcohol but never really seems drunk? It's supposed to be an important plot point but it's tacked on really poorly.

This title has:

Too much violence
age 10+


This is a great movie and I liked it very much. The effects are great too. But if you're a person who wants every detail about the Tuskegee Air Men correct, there are a few things wrong in this movie but it just adds more excitement.

This title has:

Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (14):
Kids say (20):

Red Tails is best when the pilots are in the air. Most of the aerial combat sequences are exciting to watch (though some of the special effects could have used a little more polish). But the film sputters when the planes land. It's clear that the pilots encountered many obstacles from their own compatriots, but the film does a poor job of presenting their stories. The script is filled with preachy, eyerolling-inducing speeches about honor and duty, and cliched characters: the racist officer, the grumpy mechanic, the caricatured German rival, and many more.

How can material this rich go so wrong? The earnest, appealing cast does their best with what they have, but the story jumps from one point to the next without much coherence, and the tone frequently seems jarring; the pilots banter during combat sequences that should leave them shaken and seem to treat the war like an exciting game rather than a life-or-death experience. The Tuskegee Airmen deserve a better tribute than this.

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