English-friendly screening of Czech RAF airmen doc to show in Prague

The film features a Czech pilot duo who share their experiences of fighting for Britain during World War II.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 21.10.2022 15:00:00 (updated on 22.10.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

“Good Old Czechs,” a new documentary about the role of Czech airmen fighting for Great Britain’s Royal Air Force during World War II, is coming to Prague cinemas.

The film follows František Fajtl and Filip Jánský, two pilots fighting in different countries in Europe during the war, and narrates their candid inner thoughts and feelings about serving in the war.

As well as serving in Britain, Fajtl and Jánský fought in occupied Czechoslovakia, France, Poland, and on the Eastern Front.  

Never-before-seen archival footage from the war is used throughout the film, showing an interesting insight into how the pair escaped from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia and fought in Europe. 

Humorous culture shocks

The pair describe how before each take-off they had to overcome the fear of death and after landing mourn any friends lost in battle. On a lighter note, Fajtl and Jánský also share their experiences of getting used to life in foreign countries and understanding traditional customs.


Everyone talks like they have a dumpling in their mouths" and "breakfast is bigger than lunch there, tea is drunk with milk and you don't even eat spinach," are some of the humorous observations shared when the Czech airmen lived in Britain.

The name of the film stems from a friendly term of endearment used by the Brits when referring to the Czech airmen: the "good old Czechs."

The documentary also tracks the euphoria of their return to Czechoslovakia at the end of the war, and their betrayal and persecution once the communists assumed power in 1948.

Film critic Tomáš Stejskal labels the film "captivating" and a "diary-like depiction of the world of heroes who managed to draw us perfectly into their mood at the time," in Aktualne.cz.

An internationally-acclaimed film director

The 83-minute, feature-length documentary was directed by Czech Tomáš Bojar, who has also made other documentary films such as “Česká RAPublika” and “Dva nula.” In 2016 he directed the documentary “FC Roma,” an exploration of xenophobia that garnered much media interest in Czechia.

Bojar’s films have been shown at several international film festivals, including the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and London Open City Documentary Festival. 

He has previously received nominations for the “Czech Film Critics’ Award for Best Documentary” and “Czech Lion for Best Documentary.” He was the winner of the Proxima competition, which awards titles “by upcoming filmmakers and adventurous works by renowned auteurs” at the 2022 Karlovy Vary International Festival.

Speaking of his latest work, he said "it's important to try a form of film narrative in which, rather than through the clever words of talking heads, we feel the reality of war in a more vivid, authentic form," in an interview with Novinky.cz.

Two Czech archetypes

The protagonist duo provide plenty of character throughout: Fajtl is described as a “gentleman” and Jánský as “a bit of a rascal” by Česká televize. Both men wrote books about their experiences after the end of the war.

The pilots provide very insightful observations: "František Fajtl and Filip Jánský were both not only brave people, but also very good and interesting writers. As I am working with their literary works in the film, it was crucial for me how they were able to reflect on the war experience, how they were able to carefully observe the world around them,” Bojar noted.

The film portrays the genuine nature of both pilots, who didn't view themselves as war heroes, but rather fulfilling a necessary duty. They did not feel comfortable with the idea of receiving medals for bravery in the war, praying instead "that the disgusting, sh*tty war would end."

Modest, humble, unselfish, and funny people – in short, they are “Good Old Czechs.”

The film was released in mid-September and has received favorable reviews, scoring a 90 percent rating on the Czech-Slovak Film database online.

A special screening of the film with English subtitles will take place on the evening of Oct. 24 at Kino Pilotů in Prague, followed by a Q&A session with the director, Tomáš Bojar. You can find tickets and information on the cinema's website.

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