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The Blue Max (1966)

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A young pilot in the German air force of 1918, disliked as lower-class and unchivalrous, tries ambitiously to earn the medal offered for 20 kills.

Director:

John Guillermin

Writers:

Jack Hunter (novel), Ben Barzman (adaptation) | 4 more credits »
Reviews
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
George Peppard ... Lt. Bruno Stachel
James Mason ... General Count von Klugermann
Ursula Andress ... Kaeti
Jeremy Kemp ... Willi von Klugermann
Karl Michael Vogler ... Heidemann
Anton Diffring ... Holbach
Harry Towb ... Kettering
Peter Woodthorpe ... Corporal Rupp
Derek Newark Derek Newark ... Ziegel
Derren Nesbitt ... Fabian
Loni von Friedl ... Elfi Heidemann (as Loni Von Friedl)
Friedrich von Ledebur ... Feldmarschall von Lenndorf (as Friedrich Ledebur)
Carl Schell Carl Schell ... Von Richthofen aka The Red Baron
Hugo Schuster Hugo Schuster ... Hans. Elderly Servant
Alex Scott ... The Orator
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Storyline

The tactics of a German fighter pilot offend his aristocratic comrades but win him his country's most honored medal, the Blue Max. The General finds him useful as a hero even though his wife also finds him useful as a love object. In the end the General arranges for him to test-fly an untried fighter. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

MIRACLES IN THE AIR! far from the mud and bayonets of no man's land... See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 June 1966 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der blaue Max See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$16,151,612, 31 December 1966
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (FMC Library Print)

Sound Mix:

6-Track Stereo | 4-Track Stereo (magnetic prints) (Westrex Recording System)| Mono (optical prints) (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the stunt pilots was Peter Hillwood, who had flown Hurricanes with 56 squadron in the Battle of Britain. He was killed in an air accident in 1966. See more »

Goofs

The German award called the "Pour le Mérite" (a.k.a. the Blue Max) was awarded at the beginning of the war to pilots who shot down 8 enemy aircraft; that was later raised to 16. The requirement was never 20 as depicted here. See more »

Quotes

Bruno Stachel: Where is our General? Your husband?
Countess Kaeti von Klugermann: Oh, he doesn't worry about me.
Bruno Stachel: He doesn't? Well, he should.
Countess Kaeti von Klugermann: By now he's with the Countess von Hurling. On my right at dinner. They play war games together.
Bruno Stachel: These games go on until morning?
Countess Kaeti von Klugermann: Sometimes. My husband finds them very absorbing.
Bruno Stachel: It's a very heady responsibility, being a General.
Countess Kaeti von Klugermann: That depends on how good you are at tactics.
See more »

Alternate Versions

It is believed that this film was at one time released in a 70 mm version (because of its six channel soundtrack), but this has never been confirmed. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Laugh-In: Episode #2.19 (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

Kaiser-Walzer, Op. 437
(a.k.a. "The Emperor Waltz") (uncredited)
Composed by Johann Strauss (1889)
[Heard under scenes of the aristocracy]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Forget about Top Gun as the ultimate 'fighter pilot' movie!
13 May 2005 | by philip_vandervekenSee all my reviews

I'm a fan of World War One-movies and I've got several of them in my private DVD collection. "The Blue Max" isn't in it yet, but if I ever find it on a DVD, I won't hesitate for one moment to buy it. I want to have it, not only because it deals with WWI in general and because it is a good movie, but also because it gives an idea of how the war in the air was fought and how these pilots acted and saw themselves...

This movie tells the story of Bruno Stachel, an ordinary infantry soldier who has been turned into a fighter pilot. His colleagues aren't happy with him, not only because he isn't an aristocrat like they are, but also because he's extremely ambitious. He will do anything to win him his country's most honored medal, the Blue Max. But to win it, he'll have to shoot down 20 enemy aircrafts, which will all have to be confirmed by his comrades, without getting killed himself. And while being hated by his fellow pilots, he's seen as the people's hero and perfect propaganda material by the general and as the ideal lust object by the general's wife...

"The Blue Max" shows very well how the pilots during WWI were almost always noblemen (I guess the most famous one of them all was Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen, better known as the Red Barron), who considered the concept of an honorable death at the hands of a "worthy" opponent still as one of the most important things during their fights. Even at the end of the war in 1918, while on the ground troops had been anonymously slaughtered by the thousands with machine guns and gas, they still considered chivalry as one of the highest goods.

Next to the historically correct situation of the story, I also admire the rest of the movie. I know, if you aren't interested in WWI, than this might not be the most spectacular movie you've ever seen, but even than the movie has plenty of good and interesting things to offer. The story on itself is nice, the acting is very good and the airplanes are magnificent to watch, on the ground as well as in the air. This is one of those movies that has stood the hands of time, but that is known by only a small audience, which is really a shame. Personally I'm a big fan of this movie and that's why I reward it with an 8/10. My advice: don't call "Top Gun" the ultimate fighter pilot movie before you've seen this one.


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