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Battle of Britain (1969)

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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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(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: Battle of Britain (1969)

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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:
...
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
Edit

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 | Add 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)
 »

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

The character of Section Officer Maggie Harvey is based on Air Commodore Dame Felicity Peake, who was a young section officer at RAF Biggin Hill in 1940. The scene of Harvey being ordered to put her cigarette out, and Harvey yelling back Warrant Officer Warrick, was based on a real event. See more »

Goofs

In the opening scenes, all the British Hurricane fighters are shown with individual letters, but none show squadron designations. See more »

Quotes

Senior civil servant: Churchill puts great faith in radar.
Air Chief Marshall Sir Hugh Dowding: It's vital, but it won't shot down aircraft.
Senior civil servant: Ha... well I must say you don't, exactly exude a spirit of optimism.
Air Chief Marshall Sir Hugh Dowding: God willing we will hold out minister.
Senior civil servant: I see. So I tell the cabinet, that you're trusting in radar and praying to God, is that right?
Air Chief Marshall Sir Hugh Dowding: [chuckles] more accurately the other way round. Trusting in god and praying for radar. But the essential arithmetic is that our young men will have to shoot down their young men at the rate of four to one, if we're ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997) 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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