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 <email@example.com>
Towards the end of the film, a British Spitfire flyer shoots down a German bomber, which then falls over central London before crashing into a railway station. This actually happened, (although the fighter used in the real incident was a Hurricane, not a Spitfire and the bomber was a Dornier Do17 rather than a Heinkel 111). The RAF pilot didn't shoot the bomber down, though; he had run out of ammo when he spotted the bomber apparently trying to attack Buckingham Palace. In desperation, he rammed the bomber, taking off the tailplane. The fuselage then crashed into Victoria Station. Incredibly, he managed to parachute to safety. His own plane rammed into the ground at 350 mph. It was buried so deep that the authorities just left it there. In May 2004 the former RAF pilot was on hand as the remains of his aircraft were unearthed to make way for a new water main. Remarkably, part of the incident was captured on film, the tailplane fluttering down and the fuselage section (minus the wings outboard of the engines, which were torn off by aerodynamic forces) plummeting towards the ground. See more »
When ACM Dowding and the Air Minister are discussing relative aircraft numbers, the minister states, "We have radar". The term radar was not used in Britain in 1940. The term RDF was used.
The term radar was invented by the US Navy in 1940 and held as secret until later in the war. See more »
Stirring, Beautifully-Done; the Difficult-to-Do Story of Britain's Blitz in WWII
This dramatized biography to my mind represents one of the most difficult sorts of film to make. I believe the makers of "The Battle of Britain" succeeded in making it a stirring war film, and one that deserves to be watched and remembered often. Many people find the battle scenes in the air in this film among the best ever staged. Cliff Richardson deserves praise for his special effects; and Guy Hamilton, director in charge, has frankly done marvelous work of a very difficult-to-achieve sort. He has interiors, intimate scenes, outdoor lectures, strafings, bombings, aerial battles, airplane landings, group shots and conferences to handle.Wilfred Greatorex and James Kennaway. In addition, Ron Goodwin and William Walton supplied memorable music, veteran Freddie Young the lucid cinematography and Maurice Carter wonderful art direction. The story-line chronologically follows the "Battle of Britain", No aspect is overlooked. The success of Luftwaffe air attacks on forward bases is noted; and so is the lucky decision by Hitler to start bombing Londoners instead that caused a shift it tactics and saved Britain's radar towers, key to targeting incoming attackers for interdiction by British aircraft. We hear a lecture by an Air Marshal, see firefighting squads and female drivers in action; we see both sides talking in their own languages--the Germans being subtitled; and we see action in the British War Room and at the highest levels of military planning. A couple is followed to illustrate what pilots and their wives, she being part of the war effort also, had to undergo and the pressures they faced. The pilots are also seen waiting between sorties at their bases; and finally when none come, the first phase of WWII, the expedition and subsequent Battle of Britain is over. In the huge cast are most of the leading male actors in England, including Laurence Olivier as Hugh Dowding, chief of the air effort, Trevor Howard as Keith Park, Patrick Wymark as Mallory, their chief opponent within the air corps,, plus Christopher Plummer and Susannahh York as the troubled couple, Harry Andrews, Michael Caine, Ian McShane, Kenneth More, Curd Jurgens, Nigel Patrick, Michael Redgrave, Robert Shaw, Robert Flemyng, Michael Bates, Ralph Richardson, Isla Blair and Edward Fox. This is a splendid, well-paced and beautiful recreation. The music is superb; the combat footage unexcelled and the acting far-above-average. I rate this film on many counts above anything else ever done concerning the defense of Britain by its air forces during the late war.
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