A major moneymaker for RKO Radio, Bombardier stars Pat O'Brien and Randolph Scott as trainers at a school for bomber pilots. O'Brien and Scott argue over teaching methods, while their students vie for the affections of Anne Shirley. O'Brien's methods prove sound during a bombing raid over Tokyo. Scott and his crew are captured and tortured by the Japanese, but the mortally wounded Scott manages to set fire to a gas truck, providing a perfect target for his fellow bombardiers. Stylistically, Bombardier is one of the most schizophrenic of war films, with moments of subtle poignancy (the death of trainee Eddie Albert) alternating with scenes of ludicrous "Yellow Peril" melodrama (the Japanese literally hiss through their teeth as they torture the helpless Americans). Though it can't help but seem dated today, Bombardier remains an entertaining propaganda effort (the film is sometimes erroneously listed as the debut of Robert Ryan, who'd actually been appearing before the cameras since 1940).
by Hal Erickson synopsis