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Battle of Britain (1969) Poster

Goofs

Anachronisms 

Many of the female extras have 1960s hair styles.
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In one airfield bombing scene, a Land Rover is seen driving on the airfield. The first Land Rovers did not go into production until 1948.
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At the beginning of the final battle sequence the contrail of a jet airliner at high altitude can clearly be seen.
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In one scene where the fighters scramble from Hawkinge, you see them lift off and fly over Folkestone in the distance. In this shot you can see the large tower block which is the Civic Centre, it wasn't built until long after the war.
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After the blitz, a car is seen driving around a side street. On this street is a concrete lamp post. That particular design of post did not appear until the 1950s as did the sodium bulbs
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As Andy and Skipper exit the white cottage, we see a modern-style plastic doorbell button, an up-and-over garage door and a 1960s exterior lamp.
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Set in 1940, the German army's convoy in Nazi-occupied France contains at least three Mack B-Series trucks, which were only built from 1952 to 1966. The Germans are also shown riding in US half-tracks.
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The white cottage has a modern, 1960s, wooden door.
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One of the Polish pilots is seen reading the "Dziennik Polski" newspaper. That particular newspaper didn't go into print until 1945.
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The scene in the pub between Christopher Plummer and Susannah York. The tongue and groove paneling behind the actors is modern composite board.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

As the Heinkels are flying up the Thames for the first daylight raid on London, the lead bombardier clearly says "Five seconds" in English, although the audio track has him saying "Fünf Sekunden" in German.
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Character error 

Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering was a famous WWI fighter ace and was awarded the highly regarded "Pour le Mérite" cross in 1917. Commonly nicknamed "Blue Max", after German ace Max Immelmann, it was Imperial Germany's most important decoration (roughly comparable with the Victoria Cross or the Medal of Honor in British and U.S. Armed Forces). He was a proud holder of the "Blue Max" and should have worn it along with the "Ritterkreuz", hanging from his necklace. Last recipient of the "Blue Max" was the famous German writer Ernst Juenger (awarded 22 September 1918; he was the youngest ever recipient at 23 and also the last living holder, deceasing in February 1998).
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Continuity 

On "Eagle Day" the Germans begin their bombing raids and Air Vice Marshal Park orders the squadrons to scramble. The clock in the command center doesn't change, even though Park admits that several of the squadrons took "six or seven minutes," to scramble.
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During the dogfight sequence when Canfield is shot down by German fighters, the shot of his aircraft exploding in mid air as it is heading for the ground is not a Spitfire, but Canfield flies a Spitfire during the film and during this all important scene. He is seen taking off in one immediately prior to this sequence.
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When the German convoy is headed toward the Channel, we see the barges numbered #123 and #237; these barges pass in front of the camera three times.
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Harry Andrews' character is seen seated at his desk, wearing glasses, reading Dowding's letter to Churchill. As Dowding enters the room Andrews turns to speak to him and his glasses are now absent. The timing of the scene precludes him removing them as part of the action.
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Shortly before the plotting room is bombed we see an RAF serviceman standing near the window, he ducks down long before the bomb hits.
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When Squadron Leader Colin Harvey bails out, his cockpit is clearly ablaze, yet the external shot of him leaving the Spitfire clearly shows only the engine producing smoke.
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Crew or equipment visible 

During the Stuka raid on the radar stations, the guidance wires are clearly visible as one Stuka crashes into the ground.
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During the Stuka attack on the British radar station one Stuka sustains a hit and crashes into the radar control hut. The wires suspending the model Stuka are clearly visible.
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Errors in geography 

At about 33mins in there is a German pilot briefing using a map of Southern England. The officer points out the targets, Dover, Manston.... Hawkinge. When he points to Hawkinge, he is really pointing at Hastings, which is about 40miles to the West.
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At 26m 18s, a burning Heinkel is descending over Admiralty Arch in a north-easterly direction, precisely away from Buckingham Palace, which is about a half a mile to the south-east. A couple of seconds later, it continues its descent straight over Buckingham Palace.
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(at about 33 minutes) The briefing to German airmen also incorrectly mentions Manston (Thames estuary) when the officer actually is pointing at the map roughly near Worthing - about 150km away on the south coast.
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Factual errors 

At the end of the movie a list showing all of the non-UK pilots flying for the RAF is shown. At the end of the list they mention one Israeli pilot flying for the RAF. Israel was not formed until 1947, and in fact the pilot in question was from British Mandated Palestine. The one Icelandic pilot flying for the RAF in the Battle of Britain is not mentioned, neither are the pilot from Egypt, one from Austria nor the two from Jamaica.
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When Goering is being addressed, the English subtitles translate "Reichsmarschall" (Marshal of the Reich) as Vice Marshal.
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In the attack from Norway, when the lead aircraft is attacked head on, it's clear that the camera viewpoint - supposedly that of the German pilot being attacked - is turning with the fighters as the Spitfires are maintaining a steady distance and the background sky is moving, rather than closing fast with a steady background as would be the case with a real head-on attack.
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During the attack from Norway by Heinkels of Luftflotte 5 (at around 1 min), the Lieutenant flying the lead plane says over the radio "Tomato Eins an Alle, Tomato Eins an Alle, noch zehn minuten bis Ziel". In some versions of the film on the subtitles the first part of this is translated as "Tomato Heinz to all". The correct translation is "Tomato One to all, Tomato One to all, still 10 minutes until target".
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When Air Vice Marshal Park visits Canfield at the latter's airfield, the designation of the squadron, "188", is shown on the door to the main office. No. 188 Squadron RAF did not exist during World War 2. No. 188 Squadron RAF was a World War 1 squadron that was active between 1917-1919. It has never been re-activated.
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When a shot-down Heinkel bomber is plummeting straight down in vertical position, a brief interior shot shows the crew struggling to climb up to the escape hatch. In a free falling vehicle there are conditions of zero gravity inside it (as in a falling elevator) so crew would actually have no trouble at all to float up to the hatch.
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(at about 49 minutes) Susannah York is told to put her cigarette out because the gas mains was leaking. Meanwhile there are already fires burning all around.
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The film indicates the Blitz happened because the RAF bombed Berlin after a German bomber accidentally bombed a civilian area of London. However, in reality Hitler ordered the Blitz because the RAF had already bombed German cities every night since 15th May 1940.
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When the Germans first start the daylight bombings of London, a group of boys is seen playing in the river. As the German bombers approach, two boys start to argue about the type of aircraft approaching. One boy says "Messerschmitt" and the other says "Heinkel". However, the subtitles translate it as "Iron Cross".
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The cast credits are stated to be in alphabetical order and are actually presented in three groups in alphabetical order within each group, but in the second group the name John Baskcomb is mis-alphabetized, and so is Alf Jungermann in the third group.
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In scenes within Bentley Priory, the map of London shows the GLC boundary as it would have been after 1967 and not the LCC boundary as it was in 1940.
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The subtitles on the screen incorrectly translate a German fighter pilot as saying, "Indiana break left." What he actually says is "Indians, break left," Indians being common Luftwaffe fighter code for enemy aircraft.
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The first German-language scenes show the Luftwaffe's inspector-general (Field Marshal Milch) making an inspection of several bases in occupied France. Despite his rank as a field marshal (as evidenced by the marshal's baton he carries), he is only addressed as "general," and the rank insignia on his shoulder boards appear to show the three pips appropriate to a full general (Generaloberst), rather than the crossed batons that would be correct for his actual rank.
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In the opening scenes, all the British Hurricane fighters are shown with individual letters, but none show squadron designations.
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Miscellaneous 

In the scene where Kenneth More is talking to Susannah York and the Germans start to bomb the airfield; the blast from the first bomb landing in the distance is heard at the same time as the blast occurs. Both actors react to the true sound seconds later, making them look rather slow on the uptake.
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When Hitler is giving the speech about the bombing of London in retaliation of that of Berlin, he is incorrectly translated. He talks about 'kilograms' of bombs being dropped, the translation gives only 'number of bombs' and not the correct number at that.
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Plot holes 

Sgt Pilot Andy never pays the taxi driver who brings him to the London docklands. As the driver only explains that the route is blacked after he has stepped out, he could not have paid the correct fare inside the cab.
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Archie parachutes and lands in a greenhouse full of primulas in full flower. Primulas are a spring flower (early spring if in a greenhouse) and the action at that point takes place in September.
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Revealing mistakes 

A Spitfire gets bombed during a take off run and crashes into a truck which explodes. The stuntman who runs away from the truck can clearly be seen waiting for his cue to start running. Audible aircraft tire squealing is heard on a grass field. The truck also explodes just before the Spitfire actually hits it.
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At the beginning of the film, an Me109 strafes a Hurricane. The 109 is over the Hurricane before the bullets strike the ground and airplane.
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In the scene of Heinkels taking off, you can clearly see the painted Spanish Air Force roundel on the upper surface of the wing, under the "German" paint scheme.
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During scenes shot in the British cockpits it becomes obvious that many of the British aircraft have been painted on the inside of the cockpit canopies. All the real aircraft are seen to gently rise and drop through out the scene, but the aircraft painted on the canopies stay put in their positions. Sometimes a distant aircraft will partially overlay the closer real aircraft.
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(at around 30 mins) A Polish flight of Hurricanes is flying in formation with Messerschmitt 109s (the 109s at the rear). The 109s can be easily distinguished from the Hurricanes by their tailplane struts.
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Though tarmac runways at the bombed Duxford airfield show black areas, actual explosions take place on grass surfaces only. German bombs somehow 'skip' the tarmac runways.
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As the Heinkels approach the London Docklands, the shot from behind the aircraft shows them not moving in relation to each other at all, yet the background aerial view judders about, revealing that this is a group of plastic models being filmed.
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When part of a burning warehouse collapses, the cable pulling it down can be seen running down to the bottom right-hand corner of the shot.
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At 36:48 the young airman moves his bike from the fire bucket stand and several of the buckets swing freely - revealing they are not filled with sand or water, but are empty.
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When the Polish training squadron is first shown, the problems due to their inability to speak English are portrayed. Once they are on the ground, an English officer berates them for their behavior. Each of his statements is translated into Polish by a Polish officer. However, the English officer's final line is to congratulate them and tell them they have become fully operational. No translation into Polish was given and the pilots, even though they don't speak English, begin to smile and celebrate even before the English officer is finished speaking.
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When oil is seen to spray onto the cockpit windows of plane in trouble it is playing on the glass if (as it probably was) sprayed by a crew member.
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When the German pilot is shot in the head his face is instantaneously covered in 'blood', including the outside of his goggles, revealing that the fake blood was simply spayed into his face.
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When the air raid on Berlin begins the street lights are switched off. The light level in the street is barely seen to change, when in fact it would have been plunged into darkness.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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