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Inspired by the true story of World War II’s first African American fighter squadron, Red Tails is a thrilling action-packed film. Red Tails uses the historic backdrop of World War II to tell the story of a cast of men, drawn from many walks of life, who were united in their desire to fight against tyranny. Not considered worthy of a front line role by the Army brass, the men of the 332nd squadron, known as the Tuskegee Airmen, spend their time flying dilapidated aircraft picking off the remnants of the German forces and yearning to engage the Luftwaffe one on one. When the Tuskegee Airmen get the chance to provide air cover for a landing operation they prove how devastating they can be and are chosen to escort and protect the Allied bombers on their most daring mission yet – the first raid on Berlin.


For Teachers

Designed for students of media, PSHEE and citizenship aged 13-16, the resource focuses on the film’s central theme of racism and the courage of those who challenge it head on. Offering a range of citizenship activities based on the film, these materials provide students with engaging ways to consider the relevance of this story today by exploring ways to share its message in preparation for Black History Month in October.

Media students can view clips from the film in order to identify and evaluate how key conventions establish the action adventure genre. These activities develop students’ skills of close reading and critical analysis whilst the PSHEE and citizenship tasks engage students in thinking about human rights and challenging discrimination.

Film Education held an exclusive preview screening of Red Tails followed by a Q&A with star Cuba Gooding Jr and producer Rick McCallum. Find out about the event in our screenings archive, where you can listen to audio files from the Q&A, hear the student interviews from the Talkback session and read the exclusive interview and review by our Young Film Critic winner Lizzie Daniels.



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Trailer transcript

TEXT: Momentum Pictures
TEXT: An Alliance Film Company
TEXT: Lucas Film LTD

Major Stance: I welcome you to the 332nd fighter group. You're fighter pilots

TEXT: From the creator of Indiana Jones and Star Wars

Voiceover: The expectations placed upon you men are high

Colonel Bullard: We have a right to fight for our country. The same as every other American

- I'm the best pilot in the whole damn army
- Only one way to find out


- Wooooo, haha!

Colonel Bullard: We're given hand me down planes...

- We're losing them
- I feel like I'm flying my grandfather's Buick

Colonel Bullard: Hoping we would just limp along and go away...

Colonel Bullard: We will not go away...

- Right like that, BOOM!

- Now thats how its done
- Careful he's good
- ...show you a little trick I learned
- How'd you do that?

- To the last bullet, to the last minute, to the last men, we fight!
- We fight!
- We fight!

TEXT: George Lucas presents...


Cuba Gooding Jnr. interview

0001 00:00:01:18 00:00:03:22

- Are they all set?
- All ready, sir.

0002 00:00:03:24 00:00:05:10

Send 'em off.

0003 00:00:07:10 00:00:10:23

I heard they were doing a movie
about the Tuskegee airmen.

0004 00:00:11:00 00:00:16:12

I met with Anthony and told him I've
got to be a part of it, no matter what.

0005 00:00:16:14 00:00:20:11

What character, I don't care. I just
think it's an important story to tell.

0006 00:00:20:13 00:00:23:23

My first love of film roles
are these military film roles.

0007 00:00:24:00 00:00:26:12

I think it's the easiest way
to say to men and women,

0008 00:00:26:14 00:00:28:16

"You can do great things
for this country."

0009 00:00:28:18 00:00:30:13

Questions, gentlemen?

0010 00:00:31:08 00:00:34:01

With this character,
Major Emanuel Stance,

0011 00:00:34:03 00:00:35:16

I would look at him as a coach.

0012 00:00:35:18 00:00:37:24

He's talking to his guys at half time.

0013 00:00:38:01 00:00:40:04

And you all thought what?

0014 00:00:41:03 00:00:42:09

You'd sign up.

0015 00:00:42:11 00:00:44:10

You get shiny boots, a uniform,

0016 00:00:44:12 00:00:46:18

and that'd be the end
of 100 years of bigotry?

0017 00:00:46:20 00:00:49:24

It's a miracle
you're flying fighters in Italy,

0018 00:00:50:01 00:00:52:07

and not mopping latrines in Milwaukee!

0019 00:00:52:09 00:00:54:20

I play him
kind of as an hard-ass, but...

0020 00:00:54:22 00:01:00:14

He's really a warrior who had
to command all these young boys

0021 00:01:00:16 00:01:02:08

and send them off to war.

0022 00:01:02:10 00:01:03:20

Get your head up, son.

0023 00:01:03:22 00:01:05:03

You're fighter pilots.

0024 00:01:06:02 00:01:10:00

I knew they were going to build a base
that would transport us back in time,

0025 00:01:10:02 00:01:13:13

but that one watchtower
that I climbed a ladder in

0026 00:01:13:15 00:01:15:20

and then I look out
for the planes coming in,

0027 00:01:15:22 00:01:18:14

that really put me back
in that time period.

0028 00:01:19:21 00:01:22:05

I remember when George said,

0029 00:01:22:07 00:01:24:08

I think the best line
that I heard him say is,

0030 00:01:24:10 00:01:26:14

"I'm not here
to make a movie about victims,

0031 00:01:26:16 00:01:28:14

I'm here to make a movie about heroes."

0032 00:01:28:16 00:01:32:09

I think that sums up his efforts
to get the story right,

0033 00:01:32:11 00:01:33:21

to get the visuals right,

0034 00:01:33:23 00:01:36:01

to get the film-going experience right.

0035 00:01:36:03 00:01:39:03

I think the world needs examples
of inspiration and hope

0036 00:01:39:05 00:01:41:14

and honour and determination
and courage.

0037 00:01:41:16 00:01:47:12

All of those themes are expressed
in the simple acts of everyday bravery

0038 00:01:47:14 00:01:49:15

that the Tuskegee airmen did.

0039 00:01:49:17 00:01:51:18

This is their story and it's great.


Ne-Yo interview

0001 00:00:01:08 00:00:02:18

Congratulations, Captain.

0002 00:00:02:20 00:00:05:08

You are the first Negro
to shoot down a Jerry! Whoo!

0003 00:00:05:10 00:00:07:02

My name is Ne-Yo.

0004 00:00:07:04 00:00:10:06

I play Flight Officer Andrew Salem,
aka, Smokey.

0005 00:00:10:08 00:00:12:24

Give me the nail. Lords of poker...

0006 00:00:13:01 00:00:14:21

Black Jesus, white Jesus,

0007 00:00:14:23 00:00:17:13

Tooth Fairy, something is wrong.

0008 00:00:17:15 00:00:19:02

He is from the deep, deep South.

0009 00:00:19:04 00:00:22:04

He picked up a nasty habit in Alabama.
He chews tobacco.

0010 00:00:22:06 00:00:24:08

They gave me this black liquorice,

0011 00:00:24:10 00:00:28:07

which is some of the most disgusting
stuff I've ever put in my mouth.

0012 00:00:28:14 00:00:30:10

I'll put a camera underneath you.

0013 00:00:30:12 00:00:33:03

You're in a huddle. Overhead shot.

0014 00:00:33:05 00:00:37:00

This being Mr Hemingway's first
major film, there's a lot of pressure.

0015 00:00:37:02 00:00:39:02

He's had some successes,
but this is huge.

0016 00:00:39:04 00:00:40:12


0017 00:00:40:14 00:00:43:19

George Lucas has worked with
some of the best actors on the planet.

0018 00:00:43:21 00:00:46:23

It made me afraid
that I wasn't going to fit the bill.

0019 00:00:47:00 00:00:49:19

The guys have embraced me.
I think I should be OK.

0020 00:00:49:21 00:00:51:13

Left, left, right, left.

0021 00:00:51:15 00:00:55:05

Anthony told me
we were going to do boot camp.

0022 00:00:55:07 00:00:59:02

I thought, "OK, it'll be
some push-ups here and there."

0023 00:00:59:04 00:01:03:14

But I didn't think they'd go all out
and have us in the barracks in the cold.

0024 00:01:03:16 00:01:06:00

I'd never shot a gun before, ever.

0025 00:01:06:02 00:01:10:00

I was the best shot of the whole squad,
which was kind of cool.

0026 00:01:10:17 00:01:13:07

It really felt like time
was standing still.

0027 00:01:13:09 00:01:15:09

I don't know how it happened,

0028 00:01:15:11 00:01:19:03

but through the trials and tribulations
that was that boot camp,

0029 00:01:19:05 00:01:20:14

we became family.

0030 00:01:20:16 00:01:23:23

It showed us first hand
some of the things

0031 00:01:24:00 00:01:26:22

that the actual Tuskegee airmen
had to go through.

0032 00:01:26:24 00:01:30:17

With the emergence of this new
open-mindedness in the world today,

0033 00:01:30:19 00:01:33:11

I feel it's the perfect time
to know who these men were,

0034 00:01:33:13 00:01:35:10

what they did and how big it was.

0035 00:01:35:12 00:01:37:04

This is not just a movie.

0036 00:01:37:06 00:01:42:10

This is something that's very important
as far as black history.

0037 00:01:42:12 00:01:45:09

I feel more than privileged
to be a part of this.

0038 00:01:45:11 00:01:48:13

- Call me when you're ready.
- Nice and easy.

0039 00:01:50:22 00:01:52:18

I'm on it!

0040 00:01:52:20 00:01:54:14

(muffled shouting)

0041 00:01:54:16 00:01:57:05

No holes in me, baby. Whoo! Come on.