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The last Gulf War spawned at least one good movie, the darkly cynical Three Kings. So naturally, one wonders if anything decent will come from the latest U.S. foray into nation-smashing. And it’s unlikely that any films about blasting Baghdad into oblivion will include as much hand-wringing over sending boys off to die as 1938’s The Dawn Patrol. In this World War I aviation epic, the British Royal Flying Corps is maintaining its stiff upper lip while trying to keep its shaky biplanes and young flyboys aloft. Some might say that Donald Rumsfeld has a bit of the roguish twinkle of Errol Flynn, who stars as “insubordinate air ace Captain Courtney.” But Maj. Gen. Tommy Franks lacks the grim gravitas of Basil Rathbone, who jousts with Flynn over procedure and protocol. And try as he might, Tony Blair will never have the savoir-faire of David Niven’s Lt. “Scotty” Scott. See how we used to think about war at 6:30 p.m. at the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $8.50. (301) 495-6720. (David Nuttycombe)