Biplanes in Combat. Hell's Angels is a 1930 pre-Code independently made American epic aviation war film, directed and produced by Howard Hughes, that stars Ben Lyon, James Hall, and Jean Harlow. The film, which was written by Harry Behn and Howard Estabrook, was released by United Artists. Though the film was originally shot as a silent, Hughes retooled Hell's Angels over a lengthy gestation period. Most of the film is in black-and-white, but there is one color sequence, the only color footage of Harlow's career.