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Battle of Britain (1969)

In 1940, the British Royal Air Force fights a desperate battle to prevent the Luftwaffe from gaining air superiority over the English Channel as a prelude to a possible Axis invasion of the UK.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Senior Civil Servant
...
...
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Baron von Richter (as Curt Jurgens)
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Group Capt. Baker
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Group Capt. Hope
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Air Vice Marshal Evill
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Patrick Wymark ...
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Warrant Officer Warwick
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Storyline

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 <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Drama | History | War

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

24 October 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Battle of Britain  »

Box Office

Budget:

$17,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Winston Churchill planned to use mustard gas and phosgene to help repel an Axis invasion in 1940-41, and had there been an invasion he intended to also deploy it against German cities. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the final battle sequence the contrail of a jet airliner at high altitude can clearly be seen. See more »

Quotes

Air Vice Marshal Keith Park: [during the raids on September 15th] Is everything up?
Wing Cmdr. Willoughby: The lot, Sir!
Air Vice Marshal Keith Park: Reserves?
Wing Cmdr. Willoughby: None!
Air Vice Marshal Keith Park: That's what I've just told the Prime Minister!
[walks back into office with Winston Churchill watching the progress]
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

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.


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