Wings of Courage

Wings of Courage is a 1995 American-French drama film directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud and starring Craig Sheffer, Val Kilmer, Elizabeth McGovern and Tom Hulce. The 40-minute film was written by Annaud with Alain Godard. It was the first dramatic film shot in the IMAX format.

Wings of Courage
IMAX theatrical release poster
Directed byJean-Jacques Annaud
Produced by
  • Jean-Jacques Annaud
  • Richard Briggs
  • Antoine Compin
  • Charis Horton
Written by
Music byGabriel Yared
CinematographyRobert Fraisse
Edited byLouise Rubacky
Iwerks Entertainment
Distributed bySony Pictures Classics
Release date
  • April 21, 1995 (1995-04-21) (United States)
  • September 18, 1996 (1996-09-18) (France)
Running time
40 minutes
(United States)
50 minutes
  • France
  • United States
Budget$20 million[1]
Box office$15,054,636[2]

Wings of Courage is an account of the real-life story of early airmail operations in South America.[3]


In 1920s South America, a small group of French pilots led by aviation pioneer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Tom Hulce) struggle to prove they can offer a reliable airmail service over the Andes. When one of the young airmail pilots, Henri Guillaumet (Craig Sheffer), crashes on such a flight in the Andes, a search is started. Henri has to try and get back to civilization on foot. Back home, his wife Noelle (Elizabeth McGovern) and colleagues start to fear the worst.



Wings of Courage was the first IMAX 3-D short film created to be projected on the world's largest screens, with a process that uses a wider film gauge, more intense light and a brighter screen (covered with five coats of silver). The 3-D glasses were also a new type, liquid crystal lenses that are controlled by radio waves with each lens blinking 48 times a second, in sync with the projected image.[4]


For Roger Ebert', Wings of Courage is "... a technical, rather than an artistic achievement."[4] In the review in The New York Times, Caryn James had a similar evaluation: "'Wings of Courage' is a swooping, old-fashioned adventure tale that uses flashy newfangled technology. The first fiction movie made for IMAX 3-D (the format that makes everyone wear oversized, goofy-looking goggles), this 40-minute film plays to the strengths of its 3-D technique. It's a winning ploy.[3] Film critic Leonard Maltin considered Wings of Courage, "Beautiful scenery aside, this is a lumbering, boring true-life adventure ... Dramatically speaking, it's about as lively as a 1930s Monogram programmer.[5]



  1. Koerner. Brendan I."The Little Documentary That Could: What's IMAX's biggest hit? A schlocky NASA film." Slate Magazine website, 25 August 2006. Retrieved: 12 September 2011.
  2. "Box office: 'Wings of Courage' (IMAX) (1995)." Retrieved: 28 May 2012.
  3. James, Caryn. "Film Review: 'Wings of Courage' (1995)." The New York Times, 21 April 1995. Retrieved: 28 September 2012.
  4. Ebert, Roger. "Review: 'Wings of Courage'.", 22 March 1996. Retrieved: 6 March 2017.
  5. Maltin 2011, p. 1562.


  • Maltin, Leonard. Leonard Maltin's 2012 Movie Guide. New York: Signet, 2011. ISBN 978-0-451-23447-6.
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