Epic Korean War Movie Devotion Gets New Thanksgiving Release

The rebuilt flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Leyte. Photo via Black Label Media
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One of the big films historic aviation enthusiasts are on the lookout for is the Korean War epic Devotion by director J.D. Dillard. The Jonathan Majors-starring film released its first trailer back in May, and originally had a release date set for October 28, but now Sony Pictures has moved the film’s wide release to November 23. This places the war film in the heart of the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

A scene of the movie being filmed at Statesboro-Bulloch County Airport, Georgia, where a full-size replica of the USS Leyte’s island was constructed. Photo by Adam Makos

The film is based on true events depicted in the best-selling novel by Adam Makos titled Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice, which follows two of the Navy’s most celebrated fighter pilots during a deadly struggle during the Korean War.

On December 4th, 1950, the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir was raging, a Marine Division was encircled, and legendary F4U Corsair pilots Tom Hudner and Jesse Brown flew into combat. Within hours, one of the duo would be shot down and the other would do something so remarkable it would lead the captain of his aircraft carrier, the USS Leyte, to say: “There has never been a finer act of unselfish heroism in military history.”

The movie will feature a significant number of vintage combat aircraft from the Korean War period, including at least four Corsairs, and the production company has gone to significant lengths to both ensure historical accuracy and hire the best aerial performers and filmmakers in the business. Erickson Aircraft Collection in Madras, Oregon, took part in the flying for the winter sequences in the mountainous terrain around Pasco, Washington, and along the Snake River nearby. Erickson supplied its F4U-7 (dressed as Ens Brown’s F4U-4) and AD-4 Skyraider. Dan Friedkin’s F4U-4 and F8F also took part in the aerial scenes out West. The CAF Airbase Georgia‘s FG-1D Corsair was also repainted to represent one of the picture planes for more distant scenes in the Savannah area as well. Planes of Fame supplied their F4U-1 Corsair painted as an F4U-4, MiG-15, and F8F for filming as well.

F4U-4 Corsairs are similar to those flown by Brown and Hudner on that fateful day in December 1950. (photo via Bryan Makos)

We too believe Devotion is a story which needs to reach a significant audience. It is a compelling story of deep humanity that reaches far beyond the bravery of heroic acts in wartime, and can’t fail to resonate with any but the hardest of hearts.


President Harry S. Truman (left) congratulates United States Navy Lieutenant, junior grade, Thomas J. Hudner, Jr., (right), after presenting him with the Medal of Honor for his heroism on 4 December 1950 in attempting to rescue the first African-American aviator in the U.S. Navy, Ensign Jesse L. Brown, during the Korean War. Hudner was the first member of the U.S. Navy to receive the Medal of Honor during the Korean War. Image via Wikipdia

It is worth mentioning that Top Gun: Maverick aerial DoP Michael FitzMaurice and Aerial Coordinator/Helicopter Camera Pilot Kevin LaRosa Jr are among the crew that coordinate the aerial cinematography for Devotion.


  1. Planes of Fame supplied their F4U-1 Corsair painted as an F4U-4, MiG-15 and F8F for filming as well. Dan Friedkin’s F8F was also used.

    • Thanks Karen! I will update the article immediately, I actually knew about this…not sure why I left the info out. I will email you soon, thanks! Mo

    • On Desperate Ground is a very good account of the events surrounding the Chosin Resevior. Highly recommend it.

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