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Black Sunday - War drama based on true story

Title: Black Sunday
Genre: War/drama
WGAw Reg: #1979629
Logline: Twin sons of a deceased WWI flying ace join the war in 1942, train as bomber pilots, and prove their mettle in the daring Black Sunday air campaign.
Pitch: Black Sunday is a fast-moving historical thriller that relates a riveting true story. It is a tale of mystery, sibling rivalry, suspense, extraordinary valor, and the fine line that separates survival from death.


Twenty-four years have passed since Tom and John Nelson’s father, a WWI flying ace, was mysteriously killed in an air battle. Now it’s 1942, and the twins must leave the Nebraska farm they share with their mother to join the escalating war. They enlist and train as B-24 bomber pilots. After an intense rivalry for their wings, Tom, the more gifted pilot of the two, is asked to volunteer for a special mission. John, the quiet, shy introvert, also volunteers under the unusual condition that he serve with his brother as co-pilot. They are sent to North Africa where a twist of fate has them assigned to the 93rd Bomb Group under Lt. Col. Brecker, the man responsible for their father’s death. Realizing who they are and that they seem unaware of his secret connection to them, Brecker grants John’s request, although it violates a military policy that forbids siblings from serving in combat together.

As the brothers continue to probe the mystery of their father’s death, Brecker falls under an investigation for disobeying policy. The twins learn their mission is to destroy Hitler’s vital oil refineries in Ploesti, Romania, by attacking in broad daylight at smokestack level. Nothing like it has ever been tried before. They are told the cost in allied lives will be high, and that “coming back is secondary.” When mission day finally arrives, the twins follow Brecker, who is determined to complete the mission even if it means not coming back. Numerous planes go down around them, riddled with flak. When Brecker's plane crashes, Tom takes charge of the squadron and they successfully drop their bombs. Later, Tom is seriously injured by shrapnel and John must overcome his fears, step up to pilot the plane, and struggle against impossible odds to bring his battle-torn bomber and frightened rookie crew home from the perilous mission, which would become known as “Black Sunday” because of the heavy losses taken that day. Through their baptism of fire, the twins learn about the cost of freedom, overcoming their limitations, and finally, the truth about their father.

Author: Jeffrey T. Naas