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The Lion Has Wings (1939)

Alexander Korda's bit for the British war effort shows the world both at peace and on the verge of Nazi domination. Spliced together to form a documentary style film of both newsreel and ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Wing Commander Richardson
Queen Elizabeth I (archive footage)
Briefing Officer
Brian Worth ...
Austin Trevor ...
Schulemburg - German Air Chief of Staff
Ivan Brandt ...
Air Officer
G.H. Mulcaster ...
Herbert Lomas ...
Milton Rosmer ...
Head of Observer Corps
German Bomber Chief
Robert Rendel ...
British Chief of Air Staff
Unnamed Character


Alexander Korda's bit for the British war effort shows the world both at peace and on the verge of Nazi domination. Spliced together to form a documentary style film of both newsreel and acting. This first of its kind in propaganda films of World War II, shows the might of the English Empire and its eagerness to stand up to the oppressors of morality and free will. Crude but effective propaganda cinema that sets the tone for things to come. With its stiff upper lip attitude that pays tribute to the nations prides and shows the black plague of Nationalism spreading across Europe that England shall be motivated, ready and willing to retaliate. Written by Cinema_Fan

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Timely - Thunderbolt adventure romance of the Royal Air Force!


Drama | War


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Release Date:

19 January 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El león tiene alas  »

Box Office


£30,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Looking back at this movie, Michael Powell described it as "an outrageous piece of propaganda, full of half-truths and half-lies, with some stagy episodes which were rather embarrassing and with actual facts which were highly distorted..." See more »


The section of the film detailing Germany's prewar conquests contains several errors. The narrator states that Germany occupied the Rhineland in March, 1934. In fact, it was in 1936. Immediately after, a map inaccurately depicts the dismembering of Czechoslovakia in October 1938 and March 1939. The 1938 map depicts Germany annexing the Sudetenland, which is somewhat incorrectly drawn upon the map, but neither it nor the narration shows Hungary annexing the southern portion of Czechoslovakia, nor Poland taking the Teschen district in the center north of the country, both of which occurred simultaneously with Germany's occupation of the Sudetenland. (The narrator also speaks of the Sudetenland going "back" to Germany, though in fact it had never been part of Germany.) When the final dismemberment of Czechoslovakia in March 1939 is depicted, Germany is shown annexing outright not only the western Czech lands of Bohemia and Moravia (which it did annex), but the center of the country as well; meanwhile, the extreme eastern end of the country is labeled "Slovakia", the nominally independent satellite state recognized by Germany. In fact, Slovakia was located in the center of the country, in areas inaccurately depicted as annexed to Germany; the eastern portion labeled "Slovakia" in the film is in fact an area then known as the Carpatho-Ukraine, which was annexed by Hungary the day after Germany occupied the Czech lands in the west (and is today part of Ukraine). See more »


Queen Elizabeth I: I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and valour of a king, aye, and a King of England too...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The producer expresses his gratitude for the co-operation which he received from the cast, production personnel, newsreel companies, the General Post Office and other documentary film units during the making of this picture. See more »


Features Fire Over England (1937) See more »

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User Reviews

I wasn't thrilled
12 March 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I really wasn't expecting to see a documentary when I saw the names Merle Oberon and Ralph Richardson, but a documentary it was. "The Lion Has Wings" is a propaganda film produced by Alexander Korda, showing the world as the Nazis begin to take over Europe.

If you know about England at this time in history, and I do, you perhaps won't be as interested in this as others.

The British really wanted to fight, but they were afraid that America wouldn't join them, and they really didn't know how they could stave off the Germans without the U.S.

Whether they could withstand the Germans or not, the Brits wanted to show that they were ready to fight.

Some interesting actual footage. Oberon and Richardson were just there to get people into the theaters. This is pretty dry stuff, although back then, a film of this type was important for morale.

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