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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Gliding to Victory
by Betty Jo Tucker

Before watching Silent Wings -- The American Glider Pilots of WWII, I  thought gliders were designed strictly for leisure and fun. I certainly never knew how these airplanes, flown by 6000 young Americans, helped the Allies win the Second World War. Fortunately, this remarkable documentary set me straight about a most amazing historic event.    

Written and produced by Robert Child, Silent Wings reveals the critical role gliders played in WWII offensives -- and it does so with the use of fascinating archival footage/photographs and interviews with former pilots as well as with Walter Cronkite and Andy Rooney, who experienced flying into Holland in gliders while reporting on the war during 1944. Actor Hal Holbrook, a WW II veteran, ties everything together with his dignified narration. Child claims working with Holbrook was "a great pleasure not just because of his talent as an actor and narrator but also because, having served in the war himself, he was able to share his own memories of this time in American history and add a credibility to Silent Wings that truly brings the story to life.”     

Because I suffer from an intense fear of flying, it’s hard for me to imagine why anyone would ever become a glider pilot. Going on an important mission in a large unarmed cargo glider with no motor and no parachute to count on, then putting it down behind enemy lines would scare me half to death. But these brave guys did just that -- over and over again. They also fought as infantrymen after landing. Through their courageous efforts, thousands of lives were saved. Because the gliders emitted no engine sound, they could fly undetected after being released from their C-47 tow planes. But getting this crucial program underway was not an easy task, and Silent Wings also shows the drama involved in obtaining approval for wartime use of the gliders to deliver supplies and equipment deep inside enemy territory. 

Included as Silent Wings bonus features are: enlightening comments from journalists Andy Rooney and Walter Cronkite; a virtual tour through the splendid Silent Wings Museum in Lubbock, Texas: and an interview with writer/producer Robert Child about the making of this extremely worthwhile documentary.

Child also produced Lincoln and Lee at Antietam – The Cost of Freedom, which earned a WorldFest Special Jury Award and the CINE Gold Eagle Award. With Silent Wings, he gives viewers an exciting look at a little-known part of American history that definitely deserves more attention.  It’s a valuable addition to the fine lineup of documentaries in “The Minutes of History” Series from Inecom Entertainment.

(Released by Inecom Entertainment; not rated by MPAA. For more information, go to

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