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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
27 Spitfires in various degrees of repair were found for the film, 12 of which could be made airworthy. Only six Hurricanes where found, three of which were made flyable. The Messerschmitt 109 where all retired from the Spanish Air Force. The production company bought them all, about 50 of them, and put 17 of them back in flying condition. They are in the movie flown by Spanish Air Force pilots, and members of the Confederate Air Force. The 32 Heinkels, with crews, were on loan for free from the Spanish Air Force, where they still were used for transport and target towing. Two of them were eventually bought by the production company and flown together with the 17 Messerschmitts to England for further shooting. The two Junkers 52 were also on loan from the Portuguese Air Force. See more »
One of the Polish pilots is seen reading the "Dziennik Polski" newspaper.
That particular newspaper didn't go into print until 1945. See more »
Perhaps not many new viewers of this gigantic recreation are aware of the fact that this movie was filmed almost 30 years after the actual events took place.
The efforts to put History on screen were huge. Everything in this account of the facts, comes directly from those who were actually involved in it: from the British and German fighter aces to private Londoners, they all contributed to make this not just another "war movie", but rather a dramatized documentary with accurate precision.
This by no means signifies that it is just that. The sky battles were very carefully choreographed, in accordance to rules of combat, which were followed in the 1940s. Some planes were flown by the same veterans, so that when you see a Messerschmitt Bf-109 followed by Spitfire Mk 1, you know it's for real.
The technical efforts were immense and although the Messerschmitts have reworked engines and even the Heinkel He.111s have different aerials and engine specs, because they were updated by the Spanish Air Force for later use after World War Two, the difference is barely noticeable when one watches one of those spectacular aerial battles.
On the whole, this is a history lesson about how a people, isolated from the rest of the world, and in a minority position, withstood the overwhelming crushing machine of the Axis: the Luftwaffe.
More than a movie, this is a celebration to those brave people, both civilian and military, who did commit themselves against all odds, to resist and fight back a very aggressive and dangerous enemy.
This, together with "The Longest Day", "Sink the Bismarck!", "Tora! Tora! Tora!" and "A Bridge Too Far" is one of those rare examples to make history come to life again and should be considered as didactic material for schools.
An excellent multi-national cast and a skillful direction, make this a masterpiece of its genre.
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