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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I remember when this film came out in 1969-1970. It was an achievement
then and to my way of thinking and remains so if only to "give flavor"
to what was involved for the citizens of Britain.
The dogfights were very skillfully staged and I'm sure could be easier done with CGI these days. Moreover, the subtitles with the translation into German were appreciated for intonation and feeling. It resembled "The Longest Day" in that regard. The ensemble cast was skillfully chosen. Susannah York (definitely beautiful) recently passed on. Many of the other actors (Laurence Olivier, Trevor Howard, Robert Shaw and Curd Jürgens) have been dead for quite some time so this is a time capsule of sorts. Christopher Plummer (He was awarded the C.C. (Companion of the Order of Canada, Sir Edward Fox, and Sir Michael Caine are among the few who remain with the living.
Altogether a great flick and I recently saw it again on TCM and was stirred again. See it for yourself and enjoy that cast!!!
This is one of my all-time favorite movies, so far as historic war
movies go, and that's usually due to it's faithfulness to history.
Reading the tidbits I see that they even re-staged actual events from the historic period in the movie, that is attention to detail! There are few errors in the movie, and some are simply due to not having historic aircraft available. The fact that they do have them at all is a thrilling treat for any WWII aviation buff. The Bf-109's look weird with their merlin engines but you get used to them, and it's good enough to have the main airframe in the movie.
The various tactics are all very well represented. Perhaps the biggest fault that is not represented is that due to an incredible change in planning and business process redesign, Great Britain actually was out-producing Germany in in industrial production by a factor of 3-1 by the end of the battle. They had more than enough planes, what they lacked was trained pilots. This is represented in the movie (but not the amazing work of Lord Beaverbrook to get production going full steam (his scenes were cut).
I was happy to see in Wikki that Air Marshall Dowding is now credited with saving Great Britain by his brilliant decisions just before and during the battle. At the time, Churchill disliked him and he was demoted and sidelined.
This is a very good movie to show in a classroom as a very good representation of actual history.
Guy Hamilton is a solid action film director. This shows in all his
James Bond work & in this film which recreates the desperate situation
the British found themselves in 1941. The German side is well
illustrated as well as the British.
There is a lot of talent in the cast of this with Michael Caine, Susanna York & a lot of others. The acting is good though the scripted roles do not call for a lot of work by the acting crew.
Action sequences dominate this movie. The great thing is in 1969 Britain where it was filmed, there were still a lot of authentic World War 2 planes available. This gives the air force shots a Lot of realism. Overall the dogfight action sequences in this film are as good as any Guy Hamilton have ever filmed.
There is so much action that the film runs long, but in this case that is a good thing. The films seems to strive for historic accuracy too. Overall, a good film to watch as it feels & sounds like the real thing. While this was being filmed, the crew for this film had the largest functioning air force in the world at that time.
I first saw this film whilst a very young child. What particularly
impressed me was the brilliant flying scenes and the outstanding score.
This must have been where countless sci-fi space battles from Star Wars
onwards have taken there cue. Since then I have seen the film many
times and took a real and enduring interest in the historical events of
1940. It was also one of the first merchandised films as I remember my
collection of Dinky Toys Spitfire (with motorised propeller) and Stuka
(with exploding bomb).
Anyone with an interest in this film should read Leonard Mosley's "Battle of Britain: The Story of a Film". This explains not only how the film was made but also how the real flying aircraft were found for the film. The use of real aircraft marks this as a film that can never be reproduced outside CGI. The low point of the film is the love affair between Christopher Plummer and Susannah York. The real stars are the aircraft and aircrews.
Still a very poignant film which I think captures the spirit of desperation, determination and character which prevailed at the time. The scenes of the actual battle played mostly without sound apart from a very stirring rendition of "Taming of the Shrew" really surpasses anything Hollywood has come up with since. Especially when one considers what these scenes represent, both with the aeroplanes and of course the pilots who must have performed to a standard and with a vigour that no one will really ever know. So full marks to a film I personally must have seen dozens of times but still enjoy and will always find time for.
A curious paradox of a movie. Made as a milestone tribute to the heroes
of the RAF, this was a massive project. No expense was spared in
filling the cast with stellar names, sourcing the few remaining
aircraft and making them airworthy again, and putting it all together
to create some of the most impressive aerial combat scenes ever shot.
And yet...and yet...they still fell into the sloppy design habits of
the time, believing it quite OK to give all the women resolutely 1960s
clothing and hairstyles! There are other notable gaffes, too, such as
the cottage which has an obviously post-war plate glass front door and
modern plastic bell-push.
In spite of it all, though, it's still a bloody good 2 hours at the pictures!
Battle of Britain is the business, a relatively impartial attempt to deal with one of the turning points of 20th century history in glorious colour without resort to newsreel footage and it kick started the war bird movement to boot. How many youngsters who saw it aspired to own a WW2 aircraft and then earned the money to realise their dreams ? The air combat scenes are perhaps the most spectacular ever brought to the screen. When filming was taking place the world had just watched the Tet offencive in the Vietnam war through their TV screens and director Guy Hamilton didn't flinch in showing how unpleasant death in air combat really is. Aircrew are burned, obliterated in explosions and trapped by centrifugal force in planes falling out of the sky. A lot of criticism has been made of the ground scenes. This is probably because of the broad canvas of the film in trying to explain what may seem to some the complex tactics of air combat in relation to the Battle of Britain. Most aircraft enthusiasts come to the film with a basic understanding of the real life events, but newcomers may be baffled. I agree that there are too many acting cameo's in the film , many by now long forgotten actors. Note that Christopher Plummer wears Canadian shoulder flashes, from the land of his birth, but James Cosmo seems to wear those of New Zealand ,even though he is Scottish and of course later slaughtered us English in "Braveheart" ! I thought Michael Caine was on autopilot, Harry Palmer in RAF blue, but Robert Shaw was magnificent. Robert Shaw seems to have many US fans on IMDb, and his performance in BoB justifies all that. His character exudes confidence and comes across as the fighter tactician who teaches his men how to survive. Indeed it is some of Shaw's tactical dialogue that baffles non aviation enthusiasts. Edward Fox and Ian McShane are great as Shaw's pilots, and Fox has an equal part to McShane but in the pre-"Day of the Jackal" era, did not get the same billing. Guy Hamilton later teamed Robert Shaw and Edward Fox up again for "Force 10 from Navarone" but its comic book war is fun attitude grates. Laurence Olivier and Trevor Howard are also superb. This is one Britflick which probably would have benefited from having an imported US star as an American volunteer pilot in order to explain the importance of Britains survival to US audiences, for in 1940 ethnic cleansing was already taking place in Poland and the allies could not have freed western Europe without Britain's survival as the unsinkable aircraft carrier. So why did the film fail at the US box office ? Incredible as it seems people had forgotten about the Battle of Britain in 1940, the movie had no US star, took place before Pearl Harbor and many prominent pro-British Americans from 1940 such as Ed Murrow and JFK had died. The USA was engulfed by the Vietnam war that seemed to have no end. TV brought home the brutal reality of war , so why would Americans want to watch a film about someone else's war ? American war films like "Patton" seemed to parody the militaristic cold war attitudes that led the US into south east Asia. In short the war film was a dying breed. The big budget war movie of the late 1960's/early 1970's was a last ditch attempt to attract audiences before the widespread use of colour TV sets kept people away from cinemas. And the tragedy of this is that films like "Battle of Britain" were no longer made. Cinema should be about re-creating historic events.
This is my favorite film of all time. I do though agree that the
anachronisms are annoying.
I particularly note the one that the database describes as "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."
I would add to the notes about that scene, the very large brass letter opening in the front door - that is most definitely 1960s or very late 1950s at the earliest.
My favored line from the film, which is also my favored film line of all time is "Don't just stand there, get one up"
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is really a stirring and magnificent account of one of the most
important events in history. Britain really was on her knees at the
time and if the Battle of Britain had been lost then the Nazis may well
have gone on to dominate the world.
Filled with many of the top British actors of the time this film accurately portrays the events of summer 1940 when the RAF defeated the Luftwaffe and effectively stopped any hope the Nazis had of invading this country. The music is also fantastic and provides a superb backdrop to the dogfighting scenes. The Heinkel 111s and Bf 109s used by the "Luftwaffe" in the film may not have been accurate as they were not actually Heinkels or 109s and no other German bomber types except Stukas are shown but these are small details when compared to the epic nature and difficulty in re-enacting an event of nearly 30 years earlier at the time. It also shows the terror and horror for very young men with very few hours flying experience who had to face death on a daily basis.
Of the stars only Michael Caine's character is killed although Christopher Plummer's ends up badly burned.
I think this film is very important in that it shows a real and war changing event accurately and shows the true courage of the young men who fought so bravely to keep this country free.
There not much bad that can be said of all technical aspects involved in making such a film. The props ,costumes ,special effects ,The Planes and the combined lot take center stage in this brilliant UK produced spectacle!! The acting was well done there's zero Poorly spoken lines. Personally this movie was viewed by me twice it seems to follow historical correctness on a whole . I don't know how true all the various personal stories that weave there way throughout the entire movie are . However they are done tastefully and in Actual real life they are plausible . At the end of the movie when the credits are shown on screen the producers added statistics .Very Solemn moment. I don't know how your movie viewing goes , Thats in your hands . Personally I most always view credits from beginning to end .My movie experience becomes more fulfilling .
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