In Tennessee 1923, two young boys, Rafe McCawley (Jesse James) and Danny Walker (Reiley McClendon), are playing together in the back of an old biplane, pretending to be soldiers fighting the Germans in World War I. After Rafe’s father (Steve Rankin) land his biplane and leaves, Rafe and Danny climb into the plane and Rafe accidentally starts it, giving the boys their first experience at flight. Soon afterward, Danny’s father (William Fichtner) comes to take him home, and beats Danny, saying that he is of no account. Rafe hits Danny’s father with a two by four and calls him a dirty German. Danny’s father reacts by saying he fought the Germans in France and hopes the two boys never have to see what he saw. He then walks into the wheat fields, and Danny tells Rafe that he is his best friend, before joining his father. 18 years later, in January 1941, Danny (Josh Hartnett) and Rafe (Ben Affleck) are both First Lieutenants under the command of Major Doolittle (Alec Baldwin).
The two men get into trouble when they use the Air Corps P-40s to play a game called chicken at Mitchel Field, Long Island. Afterwards, Doolittle gives Rafe the news that he has been accepted into the Eagle Squadron (an RAF outfit for American pilots to fight in the war). Rafe lies to Danny, though, saying that Doolittle assigned him. While on a train ride to New York, a nurse named Evelyn (Kate Beckinsale) tells her friends Sandra (Jennifer Garner), Betty (Jaime King), Martha (Sara Rue) and Barbara (Catherine Kellner) the story of how she had met Rafe four weeks earlier after passing his medical exam, even though Rafe had trouble with reading. The two had begun a relationship and Evelyn is looking forward to seeing Rafe in the city that night. Rafe and Evelyn enjoy an evening of dancing at a nightclub and later a spin in New York harbor in a borrowed police boat. Later, Rafe shocks Evelyn by saying that he has joined the Eagle Squadron and is leaving the next day.
He asks her not to see him off. When he leaves the following morning, though, he is pleased to see that she has come anyway as it means she really loves him. Meanwhile, Danny, Evelyn and the rest of their fellow pilots and nurses are transferred to Pearl Harbor where there is little action going on, though Rafe fights in numerous dogfights with the RAF. While fighting in the Battle of Britain, Rafe is shot down over the English Channel and presumed to be killed in action. Danny gives Evelyn the news and she is devastated. Three months later, Evelyn runs into Danny at a movie theater, after they both leave after they see a news reel of British planes being shot down into the English Channel. They get coffee at a nearby diner and talk about Rafe. They soon realize they are developing feelings for each other. Danny later takes Evelyn for a sunset flight over the harbor, and afterwards the two have sex in the parachute hangar. They begin a relationship of their own. On the night of December 6, Evelyn is relieved to discover Rafe, alive and well. He explains that he survived his plane crash and was rescued by a French fishing boat, and was stuck in occupied France ever since.
Danny comes soon afterward holding a telegram from Western Union stating that Rafe is in fact alive. Rafe realizes that Danny and Evelyn are now together, and feeling hurt and betrayed, leaves. Rafe and Danny soon get into a fight at the Hula Bar. When the police arrive, the two drive away and after talking, the two eventually fall asleep. The next morning, on December 7, 1941, the Japanese military begin bombing Pearl Harbor. The two drive away in search of a still standing airfield, while Evelyn and the other nurses rush for the hospital. Rafe and Danny manage to get in the air in two P-40s, shooting down seven Japanese Zeroes. After landing, Danny and Rafe return to the hospital where a bedraggled Evelyn draws blood from the two men for the hundreds of wounded men and women, but is interrupted when a man comes in and asks Danny and Rafe to assist in rescuing men from the harbor.
Afterwards, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Jon Voight) declares a state of war on the Empire of Japan. In the aftermath, the survivors attend a memorial service to honor the numerous dead, including Betty. Later, Danny and Rafe are assigned to travel stateside under Major Doolittle for a secret mission. Before they leave, Evelyn goes to see Rafe. She reveals that she is pregnant, though she does not want Danny to know. She tells Rafe that she will stay with Danny, but she will also love Rafe for the rest of her life. Upon their arrival in California, Danny and Rafe are both promoted to captain and being awarded the silver star award. They are told that they will be going on a top secret mission to bomb Tokyo, and they are also told to leave their hula shirts at home. While sitting at a beach bonfire, Rafe pleads to Danny to not go on the mission, that he has nothing to prove. But Danny decides to go anyway. After training, the raiders are sent towards Japan by ship and in April, the ship was attacked by the Japanese and the raiders fly on their B-25 Mitchell medium bombers towards Tokyo.
After a successful bombing, the raiders crash landed on Japanese-occupied territory in China on a rice paddy.. The Japanese Army have the members of Rafe’s plane pinned down and when they are about to get shot, Danny’s plane flies over and shoots the Japanese forces, before crashing. Rafe runs to Danny’s side and attempts to pull a sharp piece of metal from Danny’s neck, but are once again attacked by Japanese patrols. Rafe is hit over the head by a two by four, and Danny is tied to an ox yoke. Rafe picks up a pistol and shoots some of the Japanese, and is about to get shot himself when Danny hits the Japanese with the ox yoke. The remaining patrols shoot Danny, and the other pilots Red (Ewen Bremner) and Gooz (Michael Shannon) kill off the remaining Japanese forces. Holding a dying Danny in his arms, Rafe tells Danny that he can’t die because he is going to be a father, but Danny replies by saying, “No, you are”, before finally dying in Rafe’s arms.
The remaining pilots are rescued by the Chinese, and when returning home, a pregnant Evelyn sees Rafe getting off the plane, and is hopeful that Danny is alive, until she sees Rafe carrying his coffin. In the aftermath, both Evelyn and Rafe are awarded medals. Evelyn’s voice narrates that Dorie Miller (Cuba Gooding Jr.), who shot down several planes during the attack, was the first black man to be awarded the Navy Cross, but would not be the last. Rafe meets President Roosevelt, and he and Evelyn are discharged from the army. A few years later after the war ended, now with a son, named Danny, Jr. after his biological father, Rafe and Evelyn, now married, are visiting Danny’s grave with their son. Rafe then takes Danny for a ride in the old biplane, and Rafe and Danny, Jr. are shown flying off towards the sunset. TEL : 0171-2600344