7.0/10
19,410
151 user 37 critic

Battle of Britain (1969)

In 1940, the British Royal Air Force fights a desperate battle to prevent the Luftwaffe from gaining air superiority over the English Channel as a prelude to a possible Axis invasion of the U.K.

Director:

Guy Hamilton

Writers:

James Kennaway (screenplay), Wilfred Greatorex (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Harry Andrews ... Senior Civil Servant
Michael Caine ... Squadron Leader Canfield
Trevor Howard ... Air Vice Marshal Keith Park
Curd Jürgens ... Baron von Richter (as Curt Jurgens)
Ian McShane ... Sgt. Pilot Andy
Kenneth More ... Group Capt. Baker
Laurence Olivier ... Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding
Nigel Patrick ... Group Capt. Hope
Christopher Plummer ... Squadron Leader Colin Harvey
Michael Redgrave ... Air Vice Marshal Evill
Ralph Richardson ... Sir David Kelly - British Minister to Switzerland
Robert Shaw ... Squadron Leader Skipper
Patrick Wymark ... Air Vice Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory
Susannah York ... Section Officer Maggie Harvey
Michael Bates ... Warrant Officer Warwick
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Storyline

Historical reenactment of the air war in the early days of World War II for control of the skies over Britain as the new Luftwaffe and the Royal Air Force determine whether or not an invasion can take place. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Drama | History | War

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German | Polish | French

Release Date:

24 October 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Battle of Britain See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$17,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Spitfire Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints) (French release)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When this movie was released, it received generally negative reviews. Its poor box-office performance may have been partly due to recent revelations that Britain had bombed Germany first in World War II, and also because public feeling was generally extremely anti-war, due to the Vietnam War. See more »

Goofs

When Pilot Officer Archie lands by parachute on the glass cold frame he is wearing what looks like Trainers. Being white and with white soles they are certainly not flying boots. See more »

Quotes

[Park has just landed, to be met by Group Captain Hope]
Group Capt. Hope: Bad as we thought, Sir?
Air Vice Marshal Keith Park: [upset] Worse! Kenley and Biggin are a *shambles* and the rest not much better. God Knows how many aircraft we'll have in the morning! All because 12 Group couldn't do their stuff. Leigh-Mallory and his big wings! Might as well stay on the *ground* for all the *use* they are!
See more »

Alternate Versions

The DVD version is struck from a slightly different widescreen print than the VHS version (which is pan-and-scan except for the titles), as the distinctive main titles (created by Maurice Binder) have been greatly simplified and titled 'The Battle of Britain'. Sir William Walton is given credit for the music, though only 'Battle in the Air' and his 'Battle of Britain March' appear in the film; the rest of the soundtrack is composed by Ron Goodwin. See more »

Connections

Featured in Harry Saltzman: Showman (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Battle in the Air
Composed by William Walton (as Sir William Walton O.M.)
Conducted by Malcolm Arnold
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Their Finest Hour
17 January 2000 | by BritlawSee all my reviews

This has some of the best aerial fight scenes ever - 'Top Gun' nothwithstanding. If it has faults it is that it can sometimes be a bit dull as it is very historically accurate, as it was a very well documented battle and presumably because when it was made many of the participants were still alive (and some still are).

It might have been better if like the 'Dam Busters' it had adopted a rather more documentary style, rather than having ground based ficticious sub-plots.

There are no particular stars (save the aircraft) but many cameos and it is even handed to the Germans as well, who lost many brave men.

The bits I liked were, as one other has commented, British diplomat Ralph Richardson telling German Curt Jurgens (over tea of course) that we wouldn't be dictated to and the scene in the RAF command bunker as one of the biggest daily air battles develops, where Churchill (suggested only by a puffing cigar but very much a hands on war leader), on surveying the plotting board showing hundreds of attacking German aircraft, orders more reserves into the battle only to be told there are none left, everything we had was in the air or on the ground being refuelled.

If the technology looks dated now, we must not forget that at the time radar was ultra secret and definitely cutting edge - this was the start of electronic warfare.

I believe I am correct in saying the film opened on 15th September 1969, celebrated in the UK as Battle of Britain day and the actual anniversary of the Churchill incident above.

This was truly the finest hour of those young pilots and we did it all without American help or even a Yank guest star..........

PS Christopher Plummer is Canadian!


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