Unabashedly sentimental, this war film was produced by David Putnam in partnership with Catherine Wyler, whose father William Wyler directed an acclaimed documentary about the real-life events depicted in the film. The ensemble cast is composed of ten young actors portraying the crew of the World War II B-17 bomber "Memphis Belle," anticipating their 25th and last mission before they will be able to go home. Having won fame with their exemplary war record and amazing lack of casualties, they expect their final assignment to be a cakewalk, but instead they are ordered to bomb Bremen, a heavily defended German city that will mean almost certain loss of life. Led by their experienced captain, Dennis Dearborn (Matthew Modine), the crew shoulders its responsibility despite mounting fears, while their commanding officer (David Strathairn) and a public relations specialist (John Lithgow) wait anxiously for their return. Aboard the bomber, there's friction between Dearborn and his disgruntled co-pilot Luke Sinclair (Tate Donovan), and between medical officer Val Kozlowski (Billy Zane) and the rest of the crew when it's learned that Val lied about his qualifications. Despite impressive technical credits and a popular Generation-X cast, Memphis Belle (1990) was a box-office disappointment, its enthusiastic patriotism considered a throwback to a bygone era of filmmaking.
by Karl Williams synopsis