Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell Directed Movie Review

Excerpt from Movie Review :

Some of the best military leaders of the time ignored him, and that is a pretty sad statement about our country's military. Mitchell was a war hero, but he was a real hero too, because of the way he stood up to the military and made matters public.

This film is based on the true story of Billy Mitchell, and it is well acted and very dramatic at times. I found myself hoping that he would be found innocent, but cynical enough to believe in the power of the military leaders. Again, this film finds fault with the people at the top, and it shows just how poorly run the military really is. Of course, this took place in the 1920s and 1930s, but there is no reason it could not (and does not) happen today. One very real example is the body armor and truck armor issue in Iraq that came to light after the war started. The military was not armoring Humvees, and it was not issuing body armor to the soldiers, so many of them had to buy it on their own. The public outcry led to increased armoring, but it is still so like Mitchell's situation that it is frightening, because clearly the military and its operations have not improved in decades.

This film really put early airplanes and their use into focus and made that part of history much more real. It showed how shortsighted leadership can be, and how one-dimensional their thinking can be. It seems ridiculous now that the military leaders could not recognize the importance of the airplane in combat. It seems ridiculous too that they would not listen to someone with experience and first hand knowledge. It is also quite admirable that Mitchell, despite his shoddy treatment, still supported the Army. I am quite sure I would not have been that generous or loyal, if it happened to me. The film documented an important part of military history, and it showed the military in a bad light, which made it more interesting and disturbing at the same time.


Paths of Glory. Dir. Otto Preminger. Perf. Gary Cooper, Charles Bickford, Ralph Bellamy, and Rod Steiger.…

Sources Used in Document:


Paths of Glory. Dir. Otto Preminger. Perf. Gary Cooper, Charles Bickford, Ralph Bellamy, and Rod Steiger. Warner Brothers, 1955.

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