It’s the summer of 1943 and 10 young American airmen in England, including Matthew Modine, are facing up to the most crucial event of their lives. If they fly a last and deadly dangerous daylight bombing mission, they can go home – if they survive.

Produced by David Puttnam and based on a true story, this is as much an excitement-driven adventure film as a war drama.

As the crew of the B-17 bomber of the title, Modine, Eric Stoltz, DB Sweeney, Harry Connick Jr and company all turn in neat, disciplined performances and the film is meticulous in its re-creation of the cluttered, claustrophobic details of war in the air. The bulky clothing, the cramped fuselage, the noise, the discomfort and the overriding need for teamwork are all forcefully brought to life.

The special effects are sometimes less than impressive and there are some corny plot details, but the full throttle momentum of the storyline powers on and proves a worthy tribute to those who fought in World War Two .