The story revolves around an actual incident that occurred on December 7, 1941, where an aircrew, ferrying an unarmed Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber named the Mary-Ann across the Pacific, fly right into the middle of the Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbor.
Made in the aftermath of the actual Pearl Harbor attack, it was one of the first patriotic films of the war, and is often characterized as a propaganda film.
This film features examples of:
- Mohs Scale of Violence Hardness: Level 3. Fatal or near-fatal violence is at worst represented by blood showing up up in small quantities (and it never splatters), and people on fire can actually survive most of the time just fine. One egregious example is when Winocki and White shoot down an enemy fighter. The pilot manages to stumble from the burning wreckage no worse for wear, and it takes a furious Winocki machine-gunning him repeatedly to finish him off.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Two of the members of the crew, Quincannon and Winocki. As an aviation cadet in 1938, Winocki washed out of flight school after he was involved in a mid-air collision in which another cadet was killed, and Quincannon was the flight instructor who requested the board of inquiry to dismiss Winocki. They eventually made up after Quincannon is mortally wounded in an attack.