The Blue Max (1966)

Unrated  |   |  Adventure, Drama, War  |  21 June 1966 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 4,948 users  
Reviews: 79 user | 39 critic

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 »
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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Karl Michael Vogler ...
Anton Diffring ...
Harry Towb ...
Peter Woodthorpe ...
Derek Newark ...
Elfi Heidemann (as Loni Von Friedl)
Friedrich von Ledebur ...
Feldmarschall von Lenndorf (as Friedrich Ledebur)
Carl Schell ...
Hugo Schuster ...
Hans. Elderly Servant
Alex Scott ...
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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




Adventure | Drama | War | Action


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 June 1966 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der blaue Max  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (FMC Library Print)

Sound Mix:

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


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The movie takes place mainly in 1918 as stated at the beginning but with no specific date beyond 1918. The historical major offensive featured in the movie, which Stachel and the squadron supported, started on the 21st of March 1918 and was called "Kaiserschlacht" by the Germans and "Spring Offensive" in the West. When Stachel was wounded he met the famous Baron Von Richthofen, the latter being killed in action on the 21st of April meaning the wounding and meeting took place between those two dates. See more »


During the German offensive, a British soldier is seen manning a machine gun just before an artillery shell hits right next to him. That soldier wears his helmet highly angled to the left as though to protect his face and neck from the special effects explosion. See more »


Otto Heidemann: Yes, I understand - but I don't agree with killing helpless men!
General Count von Klugermann: Otto, this is 1918 - things have changed. Unrestricted submarine warfare, bombing of civilians, poison gas. Ask your wife - she's a nurse. Ask Elfi about the mustard gas casualties.
Otto Heidemann: So you approve of this kind of ruthlessness!
General Count von Klugermann: We fight to win, Otto.
See more »


Referenced in Return to the Edge of the World (1978) See more »


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

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User Reviews

Possibly Best Flying Film Ever
14 October 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I would rate this a 10, but didn't like the soundtrack enough.

Since the release of "Flyboys" it seems amazing that a movie made forty years ago has a more polished, advanced, and contemporary look than one made today. This will amaze people who compare films of the twentieth century one hundred years from now."The Blue Max" has better cinematography, special effects, acting, storyline, etc. In the end its a disappointing fact that today's films have taken giant steps backwards compared to those of the '60s.

The flying sequences and scenes of aerial combat in "The Blue Max" have never been surpassed or equaled. Even in "Flyboys" with millions of dollars of CGI effects no movie has ever captured the feel of flying and aerial fighting like this one. The planes all look authentic, too.

The big scope of World War One does not swallow up the intense personal stories here either. This is one of the only films that explores the psyche of successful fighting men. The arrogance they need to maintain their bravery and aggression can also be their downfall. Here we also can see the politics behind the combat, both on a personal and national level. This is a very thrilling history lesson.

The actors are so good, and the characters so complex I forgot they were supposed to be my (supposed) enemy. Peppard does a good job of acting, playing a guy who is meant to be both likable, admirable, irritating and repulsive at the same time. The only problem is he looks too American for the role. Imagine if Brando had done it, but he had a hard time choosing really good parts. My favorite is James Mason, who played German generals better than they could play themselves off-screen. If you like flying, history, or personal drama you can't miss this one.

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

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