In 1906, a adolescent Baron Manfred von Richthofen (Matthias Schweighöfer) is out hunting deer aback he encounters an aeroplane overhead. Enchanted, he follows it on horseback, bouncing his accoutrements like a bird.
Ten years later, Lieutenant Richthofen is confined as a fighter pilot with the Imperial German Air Service forth the Western Front. Afterwards bottomward a band over the burial of an Allied pilot, Richthofen and his adolescent pilots Werner Voss (Til Schweiger) and Friedrich Sternberg appointment a fleet of adversary planes led by Captain Lanoe Hawker. Richthofen shoots bottomward Canadian pilot Arthur Roy Brown (Joseph Fiennes). Afterwards affairs Brown out of the accident of his plane, Richthofen assists Nurse Käte Otersdorf (Lena Headey) with applying a tourniquet to the Canadian's blood-soaked leg.
Later, afterwards auspiciously cutting bottomward and killing "the belled Captain Hawker," Richthofen is awarded the Pour le Merite and answer to command his own clandestine aeriform squadron. There, he is anon abutting by his brother Lothar von Richthofen. He orders his men to abstain killing adversary pilots unless actually all-important and is affronted aback Lothar advisedly strafes and kills a British pilot who has already been affected into a landing.
Later, during an aeriform dogfight, Richthofen afresh encounters Captain Brown, who has able from a German POW affected afterwards actuality nursed by Käte. Both are affected to canal their planes in no man's acreage and allotment a affable drink. Brown expresses achievement that they will not accommodated afresh until afterwards the war is over and tells Richthofen that Käte has animosity for him. Aback Richthofen asks how he can be so sure, Brown retorts, "She bitched about you for weeks."
On the way aback to base, Richthofen is devastated to apprentice that his abutting friend, the Jewish pilot Friedrich Sternberg, has been attempt bottomward and killed. Over the canicule that follow, Richthofen makes no abstruse of his affliction and refuses to leave his room. An affronted Lothar reminds him that "A baton cannot allow to mourn."
Shortly thereafter, Richthofen is blood-soaked in the skull and is beatific to be nursed by Käte. As he recovers, the two allotment a adventurous banquet and a dance. Afterwards Richthofen expresses acknowledgment for his wound, an affronted Käte gives him a bout of a bounded acreage hospital and berates him for apropos war as a game.
Later, Richthofen and Käte are alpha to accomplish adulation aback they are disconnected by an Allied bombing raid. Determined to assure the squadron's aeroplanes, he orders Käte to adumbrate in the apartment and takes to the air with his men. During the raid, Richthofen's anguish begins to reopen, authoritative him disoriented, and aloft witnessing the afterlife of his protege Kurt Wolff (aviator), he goes into a accompaniment of acerbity in the air.
During a afterwards appointment from Käte, Richthofen informs her that he has been offered a rear degree position in command of the absolute Air Service. Käte, who has continued been agitated at the anticipation of accident him, is overjoyed. Richthofen, however, conceals his doubts from her. He goes to allege with Werner Voss (who is putting a British Bentley agent into his triplane) about what accommodation to make. The two antic that Voss is auspicious him to booty the advance so that he can canyon up Richthofen's score. He again jokingly tells Voss that he will footfall bottomward if Voss stops aerial first. Voss replies by saying: "I don't anticipate so. I'm affiliated to my plane; this is how I absorb my additional time."
Shortly after, Richthofen tours the Fokker accomplishment bulb in Germany, aback Anthony Fokker complains that Richthofen's pilots are installing adversary engines into the planes that he has made. Aback Richthofen asks how he knows about this, Fokker tells him about the British accretion of a "new triplane", and says that they were "...less than amused to acquisition one of their own Bentley engines in a Fokker they attempt down." advertence that Voss has been killed, and that Richthofen has absent yet addition abutting friend.
Richthofen has accomplished that he is actuality manipulated for advertising by Kaiser Wilhelm II and his Generals Ernst Wilhelm von Hoeppner, Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff. On the eve of the Spring Abhorrent in February 1918, he approaches Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg and tells him that the war has become a no-win bearings which should be concluded as anon as possible. Hindenburg is affronted and orders him aback to his squadron.
As the abhorrent begins, Richthofen's fleet sets out to bright every Allied aeroplane and airship out of the ambition area. As Käte tends the blood-soaked on the ground, she is abashed to apprentice that her admired has alternate to combat.
Käte confronts him and demands to apperceive why he has angry bottomward the adventitious to abide safe. Richthofen states that he will not abandon the soldiers in the acreage "by actual the abiding god that Berlin wants me to be", and tells her that "You are my greatest victory."
On the morning of 21 April 1918, Richthofen leads his fleet into activity afterwards authoritative adulation to Käte. Anon after, he is dead in activity by Captain Brown.
In the aftermath, Käte crosses over to Allied curve with Brown's assistance. She anon addresses Ricthofen's grave, "I could not appear sooner. It is not so accessible to cantankerous the curve into British territory. Finally a acquaintance of ours helped me. He asked me why it was important for me to appear here. I told him I adulation you. Did I anytime acquaint you?"
The camera pans to a burial band larboard by the Royal Aerial Corps, "To our acquaintance and enemy, Manfred von Richtofen."
Actor Role Title/Rank of Character
Matthias Schweighöfer Manfred von Richthofen Freiherr / Rittmeister
Til Schweiger Werner Voss Leutnant
Lena Headey Käte Otersdorf Nurse
Steffen Schroeder Karl Bodenschatz Adjutant
Joseph Fiennes Roy Brown Captain
Richard Krajco Lanoe Hawker Major
Volker Bruch Lothar von Richthofen Freiherr / Oberleutnant
Maxim Mehmet Friedrich Sternberg Leutnant
Lukás Príkazký Stefan Kirmaier Leutnant
Tino Mewes Kurt Wolff Oberleutnant
Axel Prahl Ernst von Hoeppner General
Gitta Schweighöfer Kunigunde von Richthofen
Josef Vinklar Paul von Hindenburg Field Marshal
Ladislav Frej Kaiser Wilhelm German Emperor and the King of Prussia
Karsten Kaie Anthony Fokker