The Best Take Off Scene EVER: 18 B-25 Mitchell Bombers Take To The Sky (Watch)

This scene from the movie Catch-22 is the best “take off” scene ever!

Catch-22 is a 1970 American satirical black comedy-drama war film adapted from the novel of the same name by Joseph Heller.

The budget of Catch-22 could accommodate 17 flyable B-25s, and one extra non-flyable hulk was acquired in Mexico, which was made barely ferry-able and flown with landing gear down to the filming location in Mexico, only to be burned and destroyed in the landing crash scene. The wreck was then buried in the ground next to the runway, where it remains. So, if you want to restore a warbird, there is one up for grabs!

The Catch-22 aerial sequences were planned by Paramount to last for six weeks, but it turned out that it required three months to shoot them. The bombers flew a total of about 1,500 hours and would appear on screen for just 12 minutes, but they were some of the most memorable of the movie.

Amazingly, 15 of the 18 bombers that were used in the film are still intact, including one that is on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum.

Mock upper turrets were installed for the film,  to represent different models of the B-25 Mitchell aircraft. At first, the camera ships also had the mock turrets installed as well, but problems with buffeting required their removal.

The black comedy revolves around the “lunatic characters” of Heller’s satirical novel set at a fictional World War II Mediterranean base, where the characters are caught in a loop from which there is no escape.

The commanding officer continually increases the number of missions required to rotate home before anyone can reach it. Even a mental breakdown is no release when the base doctor explains the “Catch-22” the Army Air Corps employs; an airman “would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he’d have to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t, he was sane and had to.”

Joris Nieuwint

Joris Nieuwint is a battlefield guide for the Operation Market Garden area. His primary focus is on the Allied operations from September 17th, 1944 onwards. Having lived in the Market Garden area for 25 years, he has been studying the events for nearly as long. He has a deep understanding of the history and a passion for sharing the stories of the men who are no longer with us.