The United States Air Force presents “What Makes a Man: The Story of the United States Air Force Academy,” a mid-1960s informational color film encouraging men to join the Colorado Springs campus. The film opens with the rhetorical question posed in the title, and the viewer is asked whether stone and metal buildings make a man, or does it come from knowledge, action, competition, or something else? All the while, images of young cadets and academic and athletic life fill the screen. “Does running make a man” asks the narrator at mark 02:28. It helps. As the film continues, the viewer learns that you have to run “a lot” at the academy. “If you can’t run a lot you’re going to have trouble your first year,” a cadet says in a voiceover.
The running is accompanied by a lot of marching (mark 03:00) and the typical obstacles of basic training (starting at mark 03:35) where one’s individuality is replaced by “a later model — an Air Force type” — with the academy supplying all the tools needed for a new and improved you. All the while, scenes from basic training are shown on the screen as the questions continue: such as whether confidence or problem solving make a man … or aid in the transformation from civilian to cadet. Cadets also ponder what lays outside Earth … in space (mark 06:40). There are scenes of classroom instruction where cadet curriculum ranges from engineering to liberal arts studies “with the unique mission of producing Air Force officers” (mark 12:10), and of course a number of scenes of planes in flight.
“Honor is keeping a bargain made with myself,” the narrator explains starting in mark 20:25. “It’s like a personal flag flying above a country that is me.” As the film draws to a close we’re asked whether “graduating will make a man” and we see scenes from an academy graduation ceremony starting at mark 21:45. Though the question is never definitively answered, it is implied that “the challenge offered at the United States Air Force Academy” can help make you man.
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com