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The Blue Max (1966)

Approved | | Action, Drama, Romance | 21 June 1966 (USA)
3:08 | Trailer

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A young pilot in the German air force of 1918, disliked as lower-class and unchivalrous, tries ambitiously to earn the medal offered for 20 kills.



(novel), (adaptation) | 4 more credits »
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Corporal Rupp
Derek Newark ...
Elfi Heidemann (as Loni Von Friedl)
Feldmarschall von Lenndorf (as Friedrich Ledebur)
Carl Schell ...
Hugo Schuster ...
Hans. Elderly Servant
The Orator


The tactics of a German fighter pilot offend his aristocratic comrades but win him his country's most honored medal, the Blue Max. The General finds him useful as a hero even though his wife also finds him useful as a love object. In the end the General arranges for him to test-fly an untried fighter. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




Action | Drama | Romance | War


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 June 1966 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der blaue Max  »


Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$16,151,612, 31 December 1966
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


| (FMC Library Print)

Sound Mix:

| (magnetic prints) (Westrex Recording System)| (optical prints) (Westrex Recording System)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


On a blackboard in Kettering's office in the film you can see the squadron's name and number, Jasta 11. This was actually the name and number of Von Richthofen's Circus. See more »


Stachel's aircraft changes from a Pfalz to a Tiger Moth after he makes his first kill. See more »


Countess Kaeti von Klugermann: That game, whatever it was, it was about me, wasn't it?
Bruno Stachel: In a way, yes.
Countess Kaeti von Klugermann: I find that exciting! Would you die for me?
See more »


Referenced in Yellow Submarine (1968) See more »


Music by Franz Joseph Haydn
Lyrics by August Heinrich Hoffman von Fallersleben
Played at Stachel's medal presentation
See more »

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User Reviews

Small medal, big heart and ego.
13 September 2008 | by See all my reviews

Bruno Stachel is a lower ranked pilot in Germany's World War 1 air force, he dreams of winning The Blue Max, a prestigious medal given to pilots after 20 confirmed kills. As he rises thru the ranks, and his determination grows, he fails to earn respect from is comrades and more importantly, his superiors.

The Blue Max is a rare old thing, a flying ace picture that not only is in colour, it's also rather good. Perhaps a touch too long {as Stachel's romantic character arc gets over fleshed}, but a ripper of a movie harking back to genre greats back in the 30s and 40s. The vintage planes recreated are majestic, and joyously the aerial sequences in the picture do them much credit, stunts and dogfights flow with almost operatic ease. The story is a good one, based on the best selling novel from Jack Hunter, it's tale of a man who's determination is admirable but ultimately it's his undoing, will winning The Blue Max really make him feel he belongs with the aristocratic crowd?, are the sacrifices he makes worth it?. The ending here is excellent, its point is made, and closes the film with a sort of uneasy incredulity, it takes a good few minutes for the final sequence to really hit home, but when it does you know you have just been sold a highly inventive story.

Technically the film scores high, the direction from John Guillermin is safe, tho if at times guilty of filler scenes, the score from Jerry Goldsmith is perfectly blood pumping, whilst Douglas Slocombe's cinematography pleases the eye. The acting is fine, George Peppard puts guts and honesty into the role of Stachel, Ursula Andress smolders and oozes sexuality as the cheating Countess Klugerman {one bedroom scene had this viewer particularly hot under the collar}, whilst James Mason {sadly underused} owns the film as chief string puller General Klugerman.

Open a bottle of wine on a Sunday afternoon and enjoy, 7.5/10.

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