This movie takes place during WWI on a remote RAF outpost in France. Young, inexperienced flyers are being sent on a one-way mission to battle the German opposition. As more are lost, younger and even less experienced men are sent over to take on these missions.There is no one more frustrated and distraught over losing lives than Major Brand. A former flyer who was promoted to officer, his job now is to dole out these assignments to the squads. His squadron leaders and former partners despise him. Brand has no choice but to obey orders from high command, no matter how much he wants to take to the skies himself. One day, he is promoted and headed back to London. Brand passes the privilege on to brazen Captain Courtney, and with his buddy Lieutenant Scott they raise havoc at an enemy base. Courtney finds himself in the same unbearable position Brand had previously held, only the flyers coming in are younger and greener. Not a single female appears in this movie!This movie is a multi-level film. On the one hand, we have the action-adventure element of WW I British pilots valiantly waging the air-war over France in 1915. The other level is a dark anti-war film stressing the horror of warfare. It becomes a distressingly familiar experience for Major Brand to count the number of planes as they zoom overhead, returning to base from the latest deadly mission. Seven went out today; only five returned. While on the ground, the men drink large amount of liquor, and listen endlessly to the popular song titled "Hurrah for the Next Man to Die."The main mission is impossible to achieve for an entire squadron, but "one man, flying low" might succeed. As an act of personal redemption, Courtney takes the place of Scott, and flies the mission. The film balances the romantic visions of war as adventure with the realities of combat. There is grace, but also frailty and breakdown. The glory is tempered by the memory of fallen comrades, some of whom never had a chance.The reality of this movie and its historical accuracies are obvious in theory. The Dawn Patrol shows aerial warfare in its infancy: the dog fights, the rickety planes, the poor training given to the British pilots and the pressure on the officers who sent boys up every day knowing they wouldn't come back.In this movie, we learn that World War I was the first war in which the airplane played a combat role. Planes were used both for scouting enemy positions and for bombing and strafing. Observation balloons also used. Early in the war Germans dirigibles bombed Paris and London, but dirigibles were too vulnerable and the Germans switched to planes. By 1915 the airplane dominated the air war. World War I aerial warfare featured a number of aces, men who shot down many enemy planes. Before World War I, balloons were used to observe enemy positions. At the beginning of World War I the Allies and the Germans each had about 200 slow vulnerable planes. These were soon replaced by faster planes. Early aerial combat was hampered by the fact that bullets from the machine gun mounted on the plane would strike the propeller. Before the end of the War, the Germans bombed Paris and London causing 9000 casualties. Their main purpose was to draw British planes from the front, to handicap British industry and to destroy morale of the civilian population. The raids accomplished little of military value.I would recommend The Dawn Patrol to anyone looking for a realistic war film with a suspenseful plot. It is a good source of historical information as well as a great Hollywood movie.