Movie Review: Pistol Packin’ Mama

Dear Students,

I picked up the documentary Pistol Packin’ Mama at the 390th Memorial Museum in Tucson, AZ.  This movie weaves the oral histories of men who served together on a B-17 bombing crew with combat footage and personal photographs from the war. Ken Burns could not have made a better movie.

The magic of the film is that the men are friends with one another and their voices and memories overlap and amplify the sadness and the dark humor of the war.

You can buy the movie from American Hero Films or from the 390th Memorial Museum online store. If you excuse my copy/paste from another review of this film from the American Hero Film website:

Air Progress writes, “There’s a very distinct reason this video was voted the Best 1991 Documentary at the New York and Houston film festivals. Putting it simply, it’s a profound bit of moviemaking that draws the viewer directly into the very soul of a wartime B-17 bomber crew.” And “more than just a vivid documentary, Pistol Packin’ Mama is a true emotional experience that ranks in dramatic impact with feature films like 12 O’Clock High and All Quiet on the Western Front.” Pistol Packin’ Mama is the third film in the American Hero World War 2 documentary series, the critically acclaimed winner of over 10 prestigious awards. The Star Tribune calls the interviews “powerful” and says, “there is nothing sanitized about these documentaries.” The Pioneer Press says, “Impressively produced and edited. [The results are] totally unlike the routine ‘I was there documentary.’”

My husband did not visit the museum with me and when I came home that night I popped the DVD in. He was reading a book at the time and before he knew it, the book was down in his lap and he was alternately laughing and drawn in by the memories of these brave men. I recommend this movie if you want to learn more about WWII history.

Warm Regards,
Mrs. Kenney


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