Synopsis by Mark Deming
The true story of one of World War One's deadliest air aces comes to the screen in this historical drama. Manfred von Richthofen (Matthias Schweighöfer) becomes fascinated with flying when he's just a boy, and as a young man he joins the German army and becomes part of their budding air force. Flying in a squadron with his best friend, Werner Voss (Til Schweiger), von Richthofen is a pilot with a great talent for aerial battle, but he also has a sense of honor and fair play, and he and his cohorts often pay tribute to fallen opponents by dropping wreaths over the wreckage of their planes. When von Richthofen and Voss discover a Canadian pilot, Capt. Roy Brown (Joseph Fiennes), who has been stranded in German territory, they rescue the flier rather than leave an enemy soldier to die, and while bringing him to safety Manfred meets Käte Otersdorf (Lena Headey), a military nurse who has devoted her life to helping those wounded by war. Manfred becomes deeply infatuated with Käte, but while she is also taken with him, she cannot abide his open embrace of the blood sport of war, and even as he becomes one of Germany's most decorated pilots, downing countless enemy planes, he comes to understand the true horror of war and the consequences of his actions. von Richthofen gains an even greater perspective on war when he encounters Capt. Brown one last time. Der Rote Baron (aka The Red Baron) was shot in both German- and English-language versions, with the same cast appearing in both.