Battle of Britain
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Unequivocally 'yes' - and much more. Lawrence Olivier's performance as Hugh Dowding is not only one of his best screen performances (great script) but shows the huge contrast between Britain (backs to the wall) and the Nazis, led by posturing clowns like Goering. Dowding is a quiet professional - Goering was a poser.

Further down the list the characterizations are believable from Ralph Richardson as Ambassador to Robert Shaw, Michael Caine and Ian McShane as in-flight commanders and pilots.

Trevor Howard is good as Park, and Patrick Wymark makes something of a minor Leigh Mallory (later Air Force chief and mastermind of the D Day paratroop landings). Kenneth More and Michael Bates make the most of small roles.

Christopher Plummer and Susannah York's sub-plot actually add something to the movie as does the destruction of McShane's family in the blitz. My parents were constantly separated by 'postings' during World War 2. York is torn between duty and marital responsibility - and tragedy will always be the outcome.

The Germans are suitably gung-ho baddies and convincingly betray their overconfidence.

Even Barry Foster manages to dig out a convincing performance in a small role. Edward Fox is laconic and stiff upper lip, contrasting excellently with his mate who quietly throws up behind the squadron hut.

Above everything is the musical score which counterpoints the action excellently and relentlessly. I ocasionally shut my eyes during the movie and the music guides you through the action faultlessly.

'Battle of Britain' is right up there with the best war movies ever made.

The hit United Artists film, Battle of Britain, opened in Chicago in fou rarea theatres on Friday, October 31, 1969. The film was rated "G."

The RAF had been resoundingly beaten by the Luftwaffe during the opening battles of World War 2 but by 1940 had learned from their combat experiences and adjusted their tactics. The air battles in France and Norway had largely been fought by the Hurricane which was slightly inferior to its' German equivalent, the ME109. However by the time of the Battle of Britain large numbers of Spitfires were available which were slightly superior (the unofficial tactic was for Spitfires to take on the ME109s whilst the Hurricanes took on the bombers). The German aircraft were operating at the edge of their range giving them limited combat time due to lack of fuel whilst the RAF were on their home territory and had no such restrictions. German fighters were forced to escort their bombers whilst RAF fighters were free to operate independently. The RAF had primitive radar allowing them to know the time and location of German raids whilst any RAF pilots who survived being shot down would return to combat but Luftwaffe pilots would become prisoners of war.

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