Fortress (2012 film)

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Fortress 2010 poster.jpg
Release Poster
Directed by Michael R. Phillips
Produced by Julian Moss
Jason McKinley
Brian Thompson
Jerry Buteyn
Adam Klein
Screenplay by Adam Klein
Starring Bug Hall
Donnie Jeffcoat
Sean McGowan
Joseph Williamson
Manu Intiraymi
Chris Owen Antonio
Elias Edward
Finlay Howard
Gibson Jeremy
Ray Valdez
Tim Hade
John Laughlin
Music by Christopher Ward
Distributed by Bayou Pictures
Release date
  • April 1, 2012 (2012-04-01)
Running time
105 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Fortress is a 2012 action drama war film directed by Michael R. Phillips and released by Bayou Pictures. The film follows the crew of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber Lucky Lass as they fly in the campaign against Italy during World War II.


The film starts with an explanation of the B-17s, the MTO campaign and a plan to strike the Italian capitol of Rome on July 19, 1943. It then follows the story of the B-17F "Lucky Lass" and her Irish-American crew, Philly (Bombardier), Archie (navigator), Pops (pilot/aircraft commander), Wally (Co-pilot), Burt (top turret gunner/flight engineer), Charlie (radio operator), Al (ventral ball turret gunner), Jake and Joe (waist gunners) and Eddie (tail gunner).

During a raid on Gerbini, Italy, Pops, Jake and Joe are killed and the plane is heavily damaged.

5 days later, the rest of the crew meet the replacements, Michael, Tom and Oliver, co-pilot and waist gunners, respectively. They then pressure the crew chief, Caparelli, to clear their plane to fly (which he does) and they throw a party to celebrate, during which they find out Michael doesn't drink, upsetting everybody but Wally, now pilot, who gives him advice on running the crew.

During the next mission, Wally gets ptomaine from native food and asks Mike to fly. However, he doesn't fly by the instruments, and ends up getting lost, ending up being attacked by German Bf 109 fighters, only surviving after the intervention of friendly P-40 fighters. The Lass is forced to abort and land at the base. There is a sandstorm that night, which leads Burt to leave the alcohol still he put together from bomber parts, to make moonshine from the ethanol blended aviation fuel, open, leaking alcohol.

They are forced to abort yet another 'milk run' (an easy mission) because of engine failure and the crew blame Mike, who starts drinking. Caparelli, after making a check, says there's nothing mechanically wrong with the plane and Burt's still explodes. Meanwhile, the aircraft that continued on mission begin to arrive back, with signs of heavy damage, indicating that it had not been easy as was thought. Wally convinces Mike that by aborting the mission, he had perhaps saved them.

The crews are mixed for the next mission, while Charlie, Eddie and Michael are not assigned. The latter tries to get Caparelli to check their airplane's engines by suggesting that Caparelli, some volunteers and himself check the engines together. They discover the problem to be sand driven into the engine's oil pumps by the sandstorm, and so they have the parts repaired. Meanwhile, Charlie decides to steal liquor from the officer's club, but is caught and Eddie tells Michael, who runs to the 'Old Man' 's tent to help Charlie, by saying that he asked the latter to get the alcohol to clear the oil cylinders, and that it had to be Scotch whiskey, as the Lass is an Irish plane, which the commander pretends to believe. The whole crew celebrate and declare Mike an honorary Irishman, proving their new respect for him.

July 19 arrives and the Lucky Lass is cleared to fly the mission to Rome. They encounter heavy anti-aircraft fire, and Burt is injured in the head, but they manage to drop their bombs on the target. However, as they make the turn home a B-17 flying above them is hit and begins falling in their direction. They climb, but the doomed bomber's wing breaks of part of their right horizontal stabilizer, causing them to go into an uncontrolled climb until they stall and enter a spin. At the last second, Mike and Wally manage to pull up, but they are now very low and taking heavy fire from anti-aircraft artillery. They quickly lose an engine, and Wally and Tom are killed while others are wounded. Mike asks Archie to come to the cockpit to help him fly, since the latter was once in flight school. Even though Archie is wounded, he comes to help. The Lucky Lass gets away from Rome, and make a run for a British airbase in Africa.

Mike asks Al about their situation, who reports that aside from the knocked-out engines and other damage, the plane appears to be fine. They lower the landing gear, but they malfunction. Mike has the last able-bodied men bail out while he and Archie would try to land at Navarin with the wounded.

As Mike helps the crew, Archie coughs up blood. Michael then tries to calm him down and that they should bail. However, Archie's parachute had been destroyed. Mike, not wanting to leave him, suggests that they land the plane on the water or that they both jump using his parachute, which Archie agrees to, but he then instead tells him to "Take care of the boys" and pushes him out. Archie then takes control of the plane and starts climbing, whereupon the plane disintegrates and kills him.

Later, a new replacement appears before Michael, whom he treats like Wally treated him when they first met.


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