MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 2,416 this week

Spitfire (1942)
"The First of the Few" (original title)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Drama, War  |  14 September 1942 (UK)
7.1
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.1/10 from 952 users  
Reviews: 27 user | 5 critic

Aircraft designer/patriot R. J. Mitchell, alarmed at growing German militarism, works to perfect a defense against the German Messerschmidt at the cost of his health.

Director:

Writers:

(original story), (original story) (as Kay Strueby) , 2 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

IMDb Picks: April

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in April.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 26 titles
created 02 May 2011
 
a list of 46 titles
created 31 Aug 2011
 
a list of 38 titles
created 16 Apr 2012
 
a list of 47 titles
created 22 Aug 2012
 
a list of 27 titles
created 02 Mar 2013
 

Related Items

Search for "Spitfire" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Spitfire (1942)

Spitfire (1942) on IMDb 7.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Spitfire.

User Polls

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Life on a British bomber base, and the surrounding towns, from the opening days of the Battle of Britain, to the arrival of the Americans, who join in the bomber offensive. The film centres... See full summary »

Director: Anthony Asquith
Stars: Michael Redgrave, John Mills, Rosamund John
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

All leave is canceled so that a British submarine can be sent after a new German warship. They chase it so far that they have no fuel to get home.

Director: Anthony Asquith
Stars: John Mills, Louis Bradfield, Ronald Millar
Adventure | Comedy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Retired British general Brunswick reminisces about the days when he was a colonel in charge of a British Army battalion fighting against native rebels in colonial India during the late 1800s.

Director: Tay Garnett
Stars: Stewart Granger, Walter Pidgeon, David Niven
49th Parallel (1941)
Drama | War | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A WW2 U-boat crew is stranded in northern Canada. To avoid internment, they must make their way to the border and get into the still-neutral USA.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Leslie Howard, Laurence Olivier, Richard George
Stand-In (1937)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A former child star falls in love with a stuffy accountant, who wants to learn why his firm's movie studio is losing money.

Director: Tay Garnett
Stars: Leslie Howard, Humphrey Bogart, Joan Blondell
Comedy | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A wartime cottage on a Scottish estate becomes a focus of attention when not only the new tenant but a London evacuee and a downed fighter pilot all move in. The interest may not be ... See full summary »

Director: Anthony Asquith
Stars: Leslie Banks, Alastair Sim, Jeanne De Casalis
Spitfire (1934)
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Mountain girl Trigger Hicks, a fierce loner equally handy with a rock or a prayer, is in danger of having her faith-healing mistaken for witchcraft by the neighbors. She shows a vulnerable ... See full summary »

Director: John Cromwell
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Robert Young, Ralph Bellamy
Raffles (1939)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Man about town and First Class cricketer A.J. Raffles keeps himself solvent with daring robberies. Meeting Gwen from his schooldays and falling in love all over again, he spends the weekend... See full summary »

Director: Sam Wood
Stars: David Niven, Olivia de Havilland, Dame May Whitty
Minesweeper (1943)
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A naval officer who had deserted several years earlier is drawn back to the Navy when World War II begins. He re-enlists under an assumed name, and is assigned to a minesweeper, where he ... See full summary »

Director: William Berke
Stars: Richard Arlen, Jean Parker, Russell Hayden
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An actor of the stage finds himself pursued by a lovestruck fan while trying to patch up a tempestuous relationship with his actress lover.

Director: Archie Mayo
Stars: Leslie Howard, Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

This film tells the stories of seven 'gentle' British girls who decide to "do their bit" and help out during World War II.

Directors: Leslie Howard, Maurice Elvey
Stars: Joan Gates, Jean Gillie, Joan Greenwood
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Ginger Rogers is the daughter of boardinghouse owners in Washington, DC who falls in love with Aaron Burr and James Madison.

Director: Frank Borzage
Stars: Ginger Rogers, David Niven, Burgess Meredith
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Rosamund John ...
Roland Culver ...
Anne Firth ...
David Horne ...
Mr. Higgins
J.H. Roberts ...
Sir Robert McLean
Derrick De Marney ...
Squadron Leader Jefferson
Rosalyn Boulter ...
Mabel Lovesay
Herbert Cameron ...
MacPherson
Toni Edgar-Bruce ...
Lady Houston (as Toni Edgar Bruce)
Gordon McLeod ...
Major Buchan
George Skillan ...
Mr. Royce
Erik Freund ...
Messerschmitt
Fritz Wendhausen ...
Von Straben (as F.R. Wendhausen)
Edit

Storyline

By the late 1920's aircraft designer R.J. Mitchell feels he has achieved all he wants with his revolutionary mono-planes winning trophy after trophy. But a holiday in Germany shortly after Hitler assumes power convinces him that it is vital to design a completely new type of fighter plane and that sooner or later Britain's very survival may depend on what he comes to call the Spitfire. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 September 1942 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Spitfire  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In the film Leslie Howard's Mitchell says he wants his new fighter to be "a bird that breathes fire and spits out death and destruction; A *spitfire* bird", giving the aircraft its name. In reality, when RJ Mitchell was told the name the RAF had given to his design he is supposed to have said: "That's the sort of bloody silly name they *would* choose!" See more »

Goofs

The Rolls Royce Merlin engine is not named after the character from the King Arthur legends. Rolls Royce named some of its engines after birds of prey, such as Merlin, Peregrine, Kestrel, Goshawk. See more »

Quotes

Lady Houston: I don't love the government, but I do love my country.
See more »

Soundtracks

Landsturm
(uncredited)
Music by Johann Strauß
Arranged by Roy Douglas
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A Bird That Spits out Fire and Destruction
10 November 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The development of the Spitfire fighter plane by the Royal Air Force is considered a crucial factor in winning the Battle of Britain in that crisis year of 1941. It could fly faster and higher than the best German fighters and of course being right at home base it had the advantage of being able to instantly refuel. Unless a German pilot could shoot one down, a tie was always to the defenders because the German eventually had to return home for fuel.

Though he didn't live to see it, credit for the design of the Spitfire and a share of winning the Battle of Britain goes to Reginald J. Mitchell who had been dead four years before the Battle of Britain. This film is a tribute to him as realized by Producer/Director/Star Leslie Howard.

The problem one encounters in biographical films of this sort occurs when the subject lead colorless lives. We don't get that much of Mitchell here I suspect because outside of designing aircraft he probably was a pretty dull fellow. But Howard and David Niven who played his friend and test pilot are capable players and there's enough aerial footage to satisfy any buff.

Howard's seminal moment in the film occurs when he goes to Germany to view their nascent airplane industry and realizes just who is the target of all these new warplanes. He comes back and through sheer persistence and conviction persuades the Air Ministry and the Baldwin government to start the development of a better fighter plane.

Curiously enough the American aviator hero Charles Lindbergh got the same treatment from the Germans and came back to America with a message of defeatism. Interesting the different reactions when aviation people start talking shop.

Had Leslie Howard not died ironically enough a battlefield casualty as the airliner he was on shot down in 1943 in the Bay of Biscay, The First of the Few might have been the beginning of a great career behind the camera. Probably would have extended into British television as well as the cinema.

Still this film is a fine farewell and a tribute to two British patriots, Leslie Howard and Reginald J. Mitchell.


33 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
the first of the few/spitfire gpc_jay
Now available on DVD! jimpern
additional goofs alplatt-1
D.Niven and the Pilots christopher_sargeant
THE FIRST OF THE FEW johnsimon-robson
Shades of Pimpernel Smith ... Romojo
Discuss Spitfire (1942) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?