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|Index||139 reviews in total|
I've read a bunch of these comments and I agree with almost everything I've read here. A few additions: the officer with the burnt face DID get burnt in a hurricane, S. Bernard Fisj (spelling?) the associate producer began and ran the whole project; Harry Saltzman just put up 13 million dollars. Fisj was a Polish pilot in the RAF and he really did shoot down Galland's little brother. The character in the movie named Von Falke was modeled after Adolph Galland, the top German ace during the Battle of Britain. The production was just crawling with B of B veterans and Susanna York who began the movie as a very liberal pacifist ended the job being exceedingly grateful that there were decent men who had the guts and ability to stop "the Huns" or any nasty types. Men like Norman Del Mar, the English Symphony orchestra conductor who flew a fighter in that war. (I'm not sure which he flew, "Spit" or "Hurri".) I've talked with a few of "the few" and admire them tremendously.
Good factual film with top class acting and some affects that Hollywood can't produce today. When Michael Caines Spitfire gets destroyed. It really looks like they sent a real one up there and blew it up. Plus setting fire to old docklands buildings and have them crashing into the Thames is another amazing piece of footage I've yet to see bettered. The story line sticks very closely to the recorded events of the battle and manages to compress nearly all events in the film. Only downsides are wrong German aircraft (wrong engines and cowlings) and silly love story.
I found this movie to be very honest in it portrayal of the events that
in those days when England stood to get defeated.
The aerial shots were breathtaking and the silent scene (As my Mum & Dad said) "were just how they used to watch the dogfights and felt very sad at every plane that came down as it was someone's son"
Over all i think it did justice to both side in the conflict.
If ever a film was made for widescreen photography this has to be it,
as excellent panoramic scenes abound in this film. But, you must see
this on the new two-disc special edition DVD that was recently
released, to appreciate those ultra-wide scenes.
Those shots, and the airplanes, of course, were fun to look at. The more interested you are in either aviation or World War II, the more you going to like this film. There was also more action in here than I expected, almost too much of the same type of shots that got a little repetitive.
That, and the fact that the characters just didn't involve the viewer much are the downfalls of the film. There is a fairly big cast and we never really got to know any of these pilots. I thought the story was bit disjointed, too, and lacked suspense. Perhaps if I knew more about this part of the war, I would appreciate this more.
Note: My DVD said this was rated "G." How can that be? There were numerous swear words in here, certainly enough to qualify for a "PG."
All in all, a decent film but not one I'd watch numerous times. It just isn't as dramatic as it should be.
I was a youth living near Hornchurch RAF aerodrome during this battle
and vividly remember the hot sunny September afternoons when we could
watch great aerial dogfights in the skies above almost every afternoon.
We ducked into the shelter if the dogfights were directly overhead, but
the drama was too great to stay there if the coast seemed clear enough
(This was probably unwise- on one occasion a piece of metal, later
identified as part of the engine cowling from a Me 109, whistled into
our garden a few yards from us - but what wonderful memories it has
left me throughout a long life.) I avoided watching this film depicting
the events for a very long time - I did not want to come up with some
lukewarm judgment that yes it was quite a good attempt to re-create
what I remembered so well. The greatest compliment I can pay this film
is to acknowledge that I made a mistake - watching it, I learned what
it means to be transported back in time and to be present again during
one of the great moments in history. This experience totally transcends
any reality TV.
My heading - the window of time- refers to the short period following any great event during which it is possible to create a worthy reproduction of it in pseudo-documentary form. Once this opportunity has slipped away it will never return. Recognition of this finally led to the long planned film actually being created - there were only just enough of the aircraft left flying, many of them having reached the end of a long period of service with the Spanish Air Force. Details like antennae changes were not really important except to survivors of the battle, but it was sad that the film has had to reinforce the myth that the United Kingdom was saved by the magic of its new Spitfire fighters - actually the brunt of the battle on the British side was carried by the more venerable Hurricanes which achieved the majority of the "kills" during this phase of the war. There were not enough Hurricanes still in serviceable condition to enable this to be shown accurately (one of the very few minor historical 'errors' in the film). We can all envisage an attempt to create a similar film today if it had not been made when it was. Very carefully constructed flying models, assisted by close-ups shot in re-constructed cockpits and some computer generated fighting effects, would all look incredibly real on the screen but at the end our reaction would be that we had watched a technological masterpiece, not a feeling that we were present during real events! The cast list reads like a who's who of the great British actors of the period, but as with the real events the Germans and all important Canadians, Poles and Czecho-Slovakians were also appropriately represented. Overall the acting level was consistently good and this film also incorporates one of the all time great moments on film - I am thinking of four very brief linked sequences totalling not much over a minute which essentially summed up the complete story. First Londoners, sheltering underground from the nightly blitz on September 15th, listening to a news bulletin reporting heavy German air attacks all day, their losses 163 planes with RAF losses 40 and 10 pilots safe; then Air Marshall Downing, asked by Churchill for amplification because Capital Hill believed German claims that the low RAF losses showed the final destruction of the RAF, responded "I am not very interested in propaganda, if we are right we have won this battle - if wrong the Germans will be in London in a week." These were coupled with two very brief sequences, one showing returned German pilots assembling for their evening mess dinner and staring dismayed at all the seats which were not filled, the other the German invasion flotillas in the Channel ports being dismantled two days later. Historically this film has few inaccuracies but wisely does not address the ongoing question of whether the Battle of Britain or the Battle of the Atlantic (almost equally well served by the film "The Cruel Sea") was the more important. Whilst both were vital to an allied victory, the former was shorter and more intense - which made it easier to reduce to the scale of a film - whilst the latter dragged on right until the end of the war and ultimately claimed many more lives.
For a very long time to come this film will remain a standby in schools trying to increase awareness of key events that have shaped their world among today's children - many uninterested per se in history, But I was too personally involved to assess its likely appeal for other IMDb users - all I can say is that it a well made and gripping film which will not be quickly forgotten. Some critics dislike a very minor romantic sub-plot involving the wife of a squadron leader serving in the WAAF, who fears hearing of his death every day as she is plotting the movements of the planes - eventually he experiences a bad crash, surviving severely burned and facing a very long period of rehabilitation. But I believe this provided a very necessary reminder that great events are achieved only at high personal cost.
Real history buffs may note that there is a later DVD also entitled 'The Battle of Britain' (Classic Pictures- 2004) It carries the sub-title 'The Official History' and is essentially a documentary assembled from contemporary monochrome newsreel sequences, spanning a longer period that includes the night bombing 'blitz' which followed.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I remember being taken to see this at the Gateshead Odeon as a child.
It was a big colourful spectacle then and is still is now. Only spoilt
by some boring romantic scenes with Christopher Plummer.
The tone of the film is set as it opens with the inspection of the masses of German bombers to Ron Goodwin's stirring march, as Britain seems lost in the face of such overwhelming numbers.
Spectacular aerial combat scenes using authentic WW2 aircraft of both sides has never been surpassed, despite inspired attempts by George Lucas in Star Wars, and on Pearl Harbour (probably more influenced by Star Wars than BoB).
Just to put the record straight regarding the score: British TV papers often preview this film and for some stupid reason talk about Sir William Waltons "wonderful" score. This is of course rubbish. The film only contains one scene where the Walton music is used, and it is indeed very tense and adds a bit of bite to the film. However, all the rest was written in just 3 weeks by Ron Goodwin, when the studio dumped the Walton score. This has now been re-discovered, but would have been best left it's can in Eric Tomlinson's garage, being more reminiscent of of a quaint b+w film about a British boarding school than a war time action spectacular. Its childish references to Wagners "Siegfried" is at best irritating and with the exception of the scene that did make it into the movie, has nothing memorable about it, despite the snobbish bleatings of British journalists who seem intent on exaggerating the quality of a dumped score that they almost certainly had never heard themselves when writing.
The DVD contains the the film with the full RG as-released and remembered score, including the RG end scene and title which is now regularly replaced by the WWalton ending on British TV. It also has the film with the Walton music that was dumped - it is a totally different film, as if someone has put the brakes on. Ron Goodwin's music lifts this film at least 2 points over what it would have been without it.
What struck me most when watching this movie is that movies like this
will probably never be made again, and that's a shame. Newer movies,
like "Band of Brothers" have used a small number of real aircraft, and
then digitally multiplied them (for example, there were only three real
C47s used in the film). It works, but you can't beat the feel of dozens
of real planes.
The dogfight scenes in "Battle of Britain" had a reality you don't see today because they were REAL - the airplanes in the dogfights were real airplanes dogfighting, not CGI constructs battling in a computer. So many of these aircraft have been lost over the years, and those that are left are becoming more valuable and fragile in the 35+ years since this film was shot, that it's nearly impossible to assemble this many flying WWII planes today.
It is good to see a film where the planes actually look like the correct planes for the period. Plenty of stars in the film, which portrays the real events using a mixture of characters. Very well photographed aerial sequences.
Battle of Britain is a great war movie. It contains an all star cast and a great story line. I think this movie is better than some of the war movies out there. I think this was over looked at the oscars of 1969. Freddie Young should have been nominated for cinematography because it was great. Somebody made a mistake here. The aerial dogfight scenes are great even for it's time and Ron Goodwin provides a great music score for this movie. Originally Sir William Walton was to have done the music and Walton was given the full credit for the music in the DVD release of this movie. I've heard Walton's score from the new soundtrack of this movie from Varese Sarabande records and I'm glad they went with Goodwin's score even though Walton's wasn't bad at all but it's didn't fit. Watch this movie and if you've seen it before and didn't like it, watch it again.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The film, "Battle of Britain," is quite good. It's shorter than "A Bridge Too Far," but it's still a good war movie (even though ABTF is better).
Laurence Olivier, Michael Caine, Christopher Plummer, and others really did give a good performance. Hermann Goening's reaction to the Nazi defeat of the Battle of Britain was hilarious and it stayed true to history (when the Luftwaffe was facing off with the R.A.F, Hitler refused to listen to his military experts and listened to the incompetent Goening, who was in charge of the Luftwaffe...fortunately for the Allied forces). I'm surprised my history professor didn't recommend this film.
3.75 out of 5 stars.
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