Battle of Britain (1969)

G  |   |  Action, Drama, History  |  24 October 1969 (USA)
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In 1940, the British Royal Air Force fights a desperate battle vs. the Nazi Germany Air Force for control of British air space to prevent a Nazi invasion of Britain.



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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Senior Civil Servant
Baron von Richter (as Curt Jurgens)
Group Capt. Baker
Nigel Patrick ...
Group Capt. Hope
Air Vice Marshal Evill
Patrick Wymark ...
Warrant Officer Warwick


Historical reenactment of the air war in the early days of World War Two for control of the skies over Britain as the new Luftwaffe and the Royal Air Force determine whether or not an invasion can take place. Written by John Vogel <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Drama | History | War


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| | |

Release Date:

24 October 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Battle of Britain  »

Box Office


$17,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (70 mm prints) (French release)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the beginning of the movie there is a scene with a beach filled with abandoned equipment and weapons. This scene is meant to show the aftermath of the Allied retreat from Dunkirk and the French mainland. See more »


When oil is seen to spray onto the cockpit windows of plane in trouble it is playing on the glass if (as it probably was) sprayed by a crew member. See more »


[after berating Simon, a young pilot]
Squadron Leader Skipper: How many hours in Spits?
Simon: Ten and a half, sir.
Squadron Leader Skipper: Let's make it *eleven*, before *Jerry* has you for *breakfast!*
Pilot Officer Archie: Spring chicken to shitehawk in one easy lesson.
[at low volume, almost whispering, after Simon and Skipper leave the building for their aircraft]
Pilot Officer Archie: daka!-daka!-daka!-daka!-daka!-daka!-daka!-daka!
See more »


Edited into Fighting the Blue: Spirits in the Wind (2005) See more »


Battle in the Air
Composed by William Walton (as Sir William Walton O.M.)
Conducted by Malcolm Arnold
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

What this film is really about, and some trivia.
22 May 2004 | by (Bury, Lancashire) – See all my reviews

This film was an attempt to deal with the crucial events of 1940, when Britain might have been invaded and oppressed by Nazi Germany. Had this succeeded then subsequent history might well have been very different, a Europe subjugated by the dark evil of that regime.

As a straight historical account this film fails rather badly. Most of the characters are artificial, created for the Stars and stars involved. Dowding and Park, historically absolutely crucial, never develop properly - a pity. Goering is cartoonised, but at least reflects his total failure to conduct a strategic assault on the UK.

The flying sequences are, mostly, superb. It was a huge achievement to bring together the aircraft used. As an enthusiast I can pick massive holes in those used. None of the 'German' aircraft have correct engines

  • they were post-war Spanish Air Force stand ins. And that's before we

start on the late war mark Spitfires etc. But who cares? The point is the conflict in the air. It is not close enough to 'real' aerial combat
  • 10 seconds of terror in 60 mins of boredom. But that is the nature of

the cinema medium.

The distraction of Suzanne York (BTW she's not trying to get divorced!) in full 40's u/wear was very exciting when I was 16. At 52 I suppose it still gives me the odd moment!

And look for the hanger being 'bombed' behind Suzanne York and Kenneth More, it really WAS blown up at Duxford - boy, were they cross!

The revisionist historians like to claim that the (actual) Battle of Britain was not that important. That the Germans couldn't have crossed the Channel anyway because of the Royal Navy (probably, but not necessarily so. With air supremacy JU87s would have massacred RN vessels). That the Germans already had eyes on Russia and really wanted to ignore GB as a sideline, possible and a fatal mistake. That the Germans lost the battle, rather than the RAF won it (no statistical basis for this, the Luftwaffe smashed itself against the RAF).

But the Battle WAS fought, and won by the RAF.

Which is why I believe this film is worth a viewing.

Especially the Walton scored sequence, where the Luftwaffe's bombers are hacked down by the Hurricanes and Spitfires of the RAF. An impressively moving sequence of the horror of war in the air. To which the music adds enormously.

I place this film well ahead of the 1990's Memphis Belle travesty in depicting the reality of war. It is certainly on a par with 12 O'Clock High.

70 of 83 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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