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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

Twenty-seven Spitfires, in various degrees of repair, were found for this movie, twelve of which could be made airworthy. Only six Hurricanes where found, three of which were made flyable. The Messerschmitt 109s were all retired from the Spanish Air Force. The production company bought them all, about fifty of them, and put seventeen of them back into flying condition. They are in the movie, flown by Spanish Air Force pilots, and members of the Confederate Air Force. The thirty-two Heinkels, with crews, were on loan from the Spanish Air Force, where they still were used for transport and target towing. Two of them were eventually bought by the production company and flown together with the seventeen Messerschmitts to England, for further shooting. The two Junkers 52 were also on loan from the Spanish Air Force. See more »

Goofs

In the early part of the film German soldiers are shown marching with an M37, the M37 is an American SPG. See more »

Quotes

Military Police Corporal: [Unloading captured German airmen] Don't any of you Jerries talk English?
Squadron Leader Skipper: Corporal?
Military Police Corporal: Sir.
Squadron Leader Skipper: Where are you taking those vultures?
Military Police Corporal: Officers to the mess. NCO's to the guard room, sir.
Squadron Leader Skipper: Like hell you are. They're responsible for all that, get'm to clean it up.
Military Police Corporal: But what about the officers, sir?
Squadron Leader Skipper: Give'm a bloody shovel.
gun repairman: [Having overheard previous conversation] Heh, skipper hates Jerries.
Maintenance sargeant: You'll hate me if you don't get that gun repaired. Then wrap up this little lot.
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

Edited into Dark Blue World (2001) 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

A Historic event recreated with skill and wit.
10 July 2003 | by jlpicard1701ESee all my reviews

Perhaps not many new viewers of this gigantic recreation are aware of the fact that this movie was filmed almost 30 years after the actual events took place.

The efforts to put History on screen were huge. Everything in this account of the facts, comes directly from those who were actually involved in it: from the British and German fighter aces to private Londoners, they all contributed to make this not just another "war movie", but rather a dramatized documentary with accurate precision.

This by no means signifies that it is just that. The sky battles were very carefully choreographed, in accordance to rules of combat, which were followed in the 1940s. Some planes were flown by the same veterans, so that when you see a Messerschmitt Bf-109 followed by Spitfire Mk 1, you know it's for real.

The technical efforts were immense and although the Messerschmitts have reworked engines and even the Heinkel He.111s have different aerials and engine specs, because they were updated by the Spanish Air Force for later use after World War Two, the difference is barely noticeable when one watches one of those spectacular aerial battles.

On the whole, this is a history lesson about how a people, isolated from the rest of the world, and in a minority position, withstood the overwhelming crushing machine of the Axis: the Luftwaffe.

More than a movie, this is a celebration to those brave people, both civilian and military, who did commit themselves against all odds, to resist and fight back a very aggressive and dangerous enemy.

This, together with "The Longest Day", "Sink the Bismarck!", "Tora! Tora! Tora!" and "A Bridge Too Far" is one of those rare examples to make history come to life again and should be considered as didactic material for schools.

An excellent multi-national cast and a skillful direction, make this a masterpiece of its genre.


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