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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 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Karl Michael Vogler ...
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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


There was no quiet on the Western Front for the heroes and cowards who flew to their rendezvous with Hell! See more »


Action | Drama | Romance | War


Approved | 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 Irish Air Corps also lent their facilities at Casement Aerodrome (Baldonnel) to filming, however after filming, many of the aircraft replicas remained in storage between Casement and Powerscourt House, County Wicklow until the 1980's and were to be seen flying occasionally in the area. See more »


Throughout the film Heidemann is referred to as Hauptmann. which is the German term for Captain. However, since he and the other pilots wear cavalry (uhlan) uniforms, he should actually be referred to as Rittmeister, the same as von Richthofen is, which is the equivalent rank to Hauptmann for cavalry officers. See more »


Bruno Stachel: But I saw it! It was a kill!
Kettering: ...Then you have the deep satisfaction of knowing you have served the Fatherland.
See more »


Referenced in Top Secret! (1984) 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

How a man with a dream, misuses it and falls from grace...
21 July 2004 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

I will be brief. Buy it, it's a must! George Peppard plays his role, Stachel, to the hilt in this WWI war drama. He is supported by very talented and well-known actors such as James Mason, Ursula Andress, Anton Diffring and many others.

The image is sharp and the colors are vivid. The sound is a bit conventional, but since the story is all-encompassing and well developed you will probably forget all technicalities and just sit through an excellent movie as I did.

The story deals with a simple German infantry soldier, stuck in the horror of the trench warfare, who dreams to fly and become an ace.

Well, he doesn't have to wait long and soon he's a flyer. he also becomes an ace.

Unfortunately, his modest social origins, keep him from the Sun, the Blue Max in fact. The Blue Max is the highest ranking medal given to pilots in WWI.

Knowing that, Stachel (Peppard) decides to fight all the odds and becomes totally ruthless and opportunistic.

Unluckily for him, two can play at the same game. The German Reich needs a hero, an example to play its cards right, in order to have more draftees to send to the front.

Stachel becomes such a hero, but to a price...

It is a crude and cruel depiction of the rise and fall of someone who came from nothing and through war, thought he could make it in society, only to find out that certain games are better left alone.

A very good morals and ethics lesson, from which many people could still learn something.

I can only suggest it. The rest is up to you.

22 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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