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.


John Guillermin


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





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 ... Von Richthofen aka The Red Baron
Hugo Schuster Hugo Schuster ... Hans. Elderly Servant
Alex Scott ... The Orator


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


The raiding squadrons of the Red Baron... See more »


Action | Drama | Romance | War


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Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


George Peppard was taught to fly one of the planes and did his own flying in the film.The film was made in Ireland with Irish troops playing the British and German soldiers. See more »


German single-seat fighter aircraft in WW1 did not carry bombs. See more »


Bruno Stachel: [looking at a picture of von Richtofen wearing a Blue Max] Two more kills and you'll have one of those.
Willi von Klugermann: Hmm, a pretty medal, The Blue Max.
Bruno Stachel: It's the only one worth having. People respect it.
Willi von Klugermann: The medal or the man?
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 »


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

User Reviews

Spectacular dogfighting , colorful scenario , all-star cast and memorable acting
26 December 2011 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Interesting War drama taken from German point of view , it deals with a young pilot named Stachel (George Peppard) in the air force of 1918, disliked as lower-class and unchivalrous , attempts ambitiously to earn the medal -The Blue Max- offered for 20 shooting down enemy planes . He reunites an aristocratic group of flying aces (Jeremy Kemp , Karl Michael Vogler) and emerges dispute , envy and hating . Most of the officer corps comes from Germany's high-class elite and Stachel feels out of place . His blind ambition leads him to claim a shooting down that is not his and when he confides in the gorgeous spouse (Ursula Andress) of a General (James Mason), conflicts are inevitable .

Big-budget extended adventures produced by Elmo Williams about a maverick pilot and his partners undergoing risked feats on air and bombing on earth . Based on a novel by Jack Hunter and being well adapted by Franchina and Ben Barzman . Very good aerial actioner plenty action , steamy romance , drama , fantastic cloudy scenes and spectacular dogfighting . George Peppard shows professionalism as crack fighter pilot named Stachel , an ambitious youth assigned to dangerous missions . Top-notch support cast gives excellent performance as Jeremy Kemp as astute contender , Anton Diffring , Derren Nesbitt , Peter Woodthorpe , Loni Von Friedl and Carl Schell as Von Richthofen , the famous Red Baron . Rousing aerial scenes staged by Squire , being wonderfully photographed by Douglas Slocombe and marvelous musical score by the great Jerry Goldsmith are the chief assets of this spectacular film . This lavish airplane movie is professionally directed by John Guillermin , habitual of disaster films ( Skyjacked , King Kong , Kong lives ) , adventures ( Tarzan in India , Tarzan's greatest adventure , Sheena ) , Wartime ( Bridge of Remangen , Guns at Batasi , I was Monty's double ) and intrigue ( Death on the Nile , Shaft in Africa , The whole truth ) . John Guillermin usually worked with George Peppard in various films ( such as P.J , House of cards and Blue Max) and Peter Sellers (Never let go , Walz of the Toreadors) . 'Blue Max' is a rehash of the former airplane movie clichés in which the splendid casting stands out . Rating : Good and entertaining , it's a fairly watchable and breathtaking film and results to be a good treatment of WWI flying aces .

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

21 June 1966 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Blue Max See more »


Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs


| (FMC Library Print)

Sound Mix:

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



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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