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Go Inside the Blue Angels with a New Documentary from Glen Powell and JJ Abrams

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The U.S. Navy‘s premier aeronautical acrobatical demonstration team known as the Blue Angels has been wowing air-show audiences around the world for nearly 80 years. But for viewers at home, Amazon MGM new documentary “The Blue Angels” provides an inside look at more than the squad’s Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets — it reveals what it takes to get behind the stick of those vaunted flying machines.

Filmed in IMAX, the new documentary from producers JJ Abrams (“Lost”) and Glen Powell (“Top Gun: Maverick”) perfectly captures the up-close aerial choreography of the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, offering a cockpit view of the Angels’ precision flying. We also meet the daring Navy and Marine Corps aviators who want to wear the distinctive blue and gold uniforms and find out what it takes to be part of one of the U.S. military’s most elite demonstration teams.

Even for seasoned fighter pilots, becoming one of the Blue Angels is not an easy goal to meet, and things don’t get any easier after you finally make the team. Following a painstaking selection process, the naval aviators undergo a rigorous physical and flight training regimen, one they continue for the entirety of an eight-month show season. Between March and November, the team travels across the United States and Canada to perform for an estimated 11 million people annually.

The Blue Angels were first formed in the 1940s at the behest of Adm. Chester Nimitz. The idea, according to Roy “Butch” Voris, founder of the Flight Demonstration Squadron, was to take the kind of flying that aviators were expected to do high in the sky and bring it down to where the American public (and future naval aviators) could see it.

Their first performance, flying in Grumman F6F-5 Hellcats, came at Naval Air Station Jacksonville in Florida on June 15, 1946. The audience was the Navy brass, specifically Nimitz himself. The admiral’s response upon seeing them in action for the first time likely echoes those of the millions who have seen the Blue Angels since.

“You crazy sumbitches,” Adm. Nimitz reportedly said. “You’re gonna kill yourselves. But it’s a great show.”

For those who have never seen the Blue Angels in action, Adm. Nimitz was right: It is a great show. Viewers can see the Blue Angels’ 2024 show schedule on the team’s official website.

If they’re not coming to an air show near you, you can still watch “The Blue Angels,” exclusively in IMAX theaters for one-week only, beginning Friday, May 17, and streaming globally on Prime Video beginning Thursday, May 23, 2024.

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