It is the mid-1930s and the storm clouds of WWII are forming in Germany. This film charts the work of Robert Watson Watt, the pioneer of Radar, and his hand-picked team of eccentric yet ... See full summary »




Watch Now

From $3.99 on Amazon Video

2 nominations. See more awards »


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Filmed in five countries over three years, the documentary delves into the heart of the locations while the surfers travel through them with a sense of open-minded awe. With never-before ... See full summary »

Director: Taylor Steele
Stars: Craig Anderson, Timmy Curran, Rob Machado
Churchill's Secret (TV Movie 2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill suffers from a stroke in the summer of 1953 that's kept a secret from the rest of the world.

Director: Charles Sturridge
Stars: Michael Gambon, Romola Garai, Lindsay Duncan
Healing I (2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Inspired by true events, HEALING is a story of redemption, the discovery of hope and the healing of the spirit - in the most unlikely place for the most unlikely men.

Director: Craig Monahan
Stars: Hugo Weaving, Don Hany, Xavier Samuel
Common (TV Movie 2014)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Jimmy McGovern's gritty drama stars Nico Mirallegro as guileless 17 year old Johnjo O'Shea, who goes from innocent bystander to accessory to premeditated murder after giving a few friends a lift.

Director: David Blair
Stars: Michelle Fairley, Jodhi May, Michael Gambon
Marvellous (TV Movie 2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The life of Neil Baldwin, a man who has shrugged off his perceived limitations to live an incredible life.

Director: Julian Farino
Stars: Toby Jones, Gemma Jones, Tony Curran
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A true WW2 story: the British Navy must find and destroy a powerful German warship.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: John Gregson, Anthony Quayle, Ian Hunter
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Edo Celeste is a renowned crime novelist, who is writing the final book in the series about his alter ego, detective Felipe Aranda. Edo is obsessed with the disappearance of his fiancee ... See full summary »

Director: Javier Fuentes-León
Stars: Salvador del Solar, Angie Cepeda, Lucho Cáceres
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.8/10 X  
Director: Sergey Zhigunov
Stars: Rinal Mukhametov, Yuriy Chursin, Aleksey Makarov
Wodehouse In Exile (TV Movie 2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An all-star cast heads up this intimate film about how author, P.G.Wodehouse, came to face a charge of treason during the Second World War and how this quintessential Englishman, creator of... See full summary »

Director: Tim Fywell
Stars: Tim Pigott-Smith, Zoë Wanamaker, Curran McKay
The Wipers Times (TV Movie 2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Just after the First World War Fred Roberts goes for a job as a newspaper journalist and tells the sub-editor how, in the trenches in 1916, he discovered a printing press in working order. ... See full summary »

Director: Andy De Emmony
Stars: Ben Chaplin, Patrick FitzSymons, Julian Rhind-Tutt
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Dramatisation of the team hoping to televise the trial of Adolf Eichmann, an infamous nazi responsible for the deaths of millions of Jews. It focuses on Leo Hurwitz, a documentary film-maker and Milton Fruchtman, a producer.

Director: Paul Andrew Williams
Stars: Martin Freeman, Anthony LaPaglia, Rebecca Front
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A Chechen Muslim illegally immigrates to Hamburg, where he gets caught in the international war on terror.

Director: Anton Corbijn
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Daniel Brühl


Complete credited cast:
Robert Watson Watt
Margaret Watson Watt
Arran Tulloch ...
Helen - Secretary
Henry Tizard
Frederick Lindemann
Albert Rowe
Arnold 'Skip' Wilkins
Stephen Chance ...
Carl Heap ...
Edward 'Taffy' Bowen
Bainbridge Bell
Nick Elliott ...
Navy Guard


It is the mid-1930s and the storm clouds of WWII are forming in Germany. This film charts the work of Robert Watson Watt, the pioneer of Radar, and his hand-picked team of eccentric yet brilliant meteorologists as they struggle to turn the concept of Radar into a workable reality. Hamstrung by a tiny budget, seemingly insurmountable technical problems and even a spy in the camp, Watson Watt also has to deal with marital problems as he chases his dream. By 1939, Watson Watt and his team have developed the world's first Radar system along the south east coast of England - a system that, in 1940, will prove pivotal in winning the Battle of Britain. Written by John

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

23 June 2014 (UK)  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



See  »

Did You Know?


The aircraft in the initial test is of the right era but the wrong type - it looks like a de Havilland Rapide, while it should be a Handley Page Heyford, something in which the film makers had little choice, since not a single example of a Heyford survives, flying or not. See more »


Early in the film,in a scene set in 1935 , a British Air Ministry official is looking at photos of Luftwaffe aircraft. Photos of a Heinkel 111 ,Junkers 87 Stuka and Messerschmitt 109 are shown. Prototypes of these planes were flying in 1935 but the photos depict much later versions of the aircraft. For example the Stuka is a Junkers 87-G version with under-wing cannons which didn't appear till 1943. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Shows us how the Battle of Britain was won.....Before it was Fought!
6 August 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A local theatre has been showing little-known WW II films this month (August 2015) on the 70th anniversary of the end of that war, and this film on the British development of radar for the RAF prior to WW II was one of them. I'm interested in the historical development of technology plus I had seen a PBS Nova show several years ago on WW II's spur to radar's development, so I was interested in this BBC production. In addition, Ian Kershaw, a well-respected British historian, wrote the script. I was not disappointed; it was a very enjoyable film for me.

I had also seen earlier this year "The Imitation Game" featuring Alan Turing and his team of British mathematicians and codebreakers at Bletchley Park, and the parallels with "Castles" are striking. Both films have groups of unconventional geniuses monitored by class-conscious representatives of Britain's ruling circles and sequestered in rural hideaways where they work under great pressure to help win the war ("Imitation") or prepare for war ("Castles"). Robert Watson Watt, played by Eddie Izzard, is the Alan Turing of "Castles", and although not as eccentric as Turing, is sufficiently unconventional to warrant suspicion and doubt by those in the British government in the late-30s who must trust him with their scarce resources. His idea is to use a series of radio beams: (1) of sufficient strength to echo off incoming objects, e.g., bombers, at a sufficient distance, (2) and of sufficient number to ascertain their direction. The senior officials want him to use the nation's top physicists from Oxford and Cambridge to assist him, but Watt is an engineer for the Meteorological Service and wants to use his fellow "weather engineers" who can think outside-the-box. He gets his way against the rigid class structure of pre-war Britain, and for my money the visible drama of demonstrating radar's efficacy in detecting planes from 60 miles out (as shown in "Castles") is more striking than the drama that unfolds in "Imitation" where the group is finally able to read a coded message. The end of "Castles" shows how well radar has been integrated into RAF's Fighter Command by taking us inside their command centers that are ready to scramble fighters at the first ping on the radarscope on the eve of the Battle of Britain (when the Luftwaffe had three times as many planes at the outset).

Modern wars, for better or worse, are said to be won with economic production and technology, and it's thus gratifying to see little-known figures like Watt featured in a film like this. It's sad to compare, however, that Watt was rewarded with a knighthood in 1942 for his pre-war development of radar, while Turing, pledged to secrecy by the British government for his war-time codebreaking, was not honored during his lifetime and apparently committed suicide.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
How to See? mama_gretch
Tim McInnerny miscast as Winston Churchill? fredericoribeiro
Discuss Castles in the Sky (2014) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: