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The Blue Max (1966)

Approved | | Action, Drama, Romance | 21 June 1966 (USA)
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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 »
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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:

There was no quiet on the Western Front for the heroes and cowards who flew to their rendezvous with Hell! 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

Malcolm Arnold was asked to write the score. See more »

Goofs

In the Blue Max, when the film starts they are flying "worn out" Pfalz D-IIIs and Fokker D-VIIs. The NEW aircraft are Fokker Dr-Is. In reality the Pfalz D-IIIs and the Fokker Dr-Is entered service about the same time in the fall of 1917, they would have been the old and worn out planes in 1918 with the NEW aircraft being the Fokker D-VII, This sequence is correct in the book version of the movie. See more »

Quotes

Bruno Stachel: A Countess - there's a fascinating subject.
Willi von Klugermann: I believe you have aspirations in that direction, Stachel. You should forget them.
Bruno Stachel: I'll try. But, if the impossible happens, I'll buy you a bottle of champagne.
Willi von Klugermann: Will you? Vintage 1903. You'll find it - hard to get.
Bruno Stachel: 1903? I'll remember that.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Return to the Edge of the World (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

Deutschlandlied
(uncredited)
Music by Franz Joseph Haydn
Lyrics by August Heinrich Hoffman von Fallersleben
Played at Stachel's medal presentation
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Definition of Class
18 May 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

At the beginning of The Young Lions Marlon Brando tells Barbara Rush how difficult it is to rise in class in Europe as opposed to America. It's one of the reasons he's thinking that Adolph Hitler and the Nazis will be a good thing for Germany.

George Peppard plays a more ruthless version of the Brando character in the previous generation in The Blue Max. He's a survivor of the trenches who gets an opportunity to learn to fly and transfer in the Air Corps. What comes with it is a commission and while Peppard is now an officer he's no gentleman.

There's a whole different ethic operating in the Air Corps. The pilots see themselves as an updated version of the Teutonic Knights of old. A view by the way shared by both sides. The fliers on both sides see themselves as old fashioned chivalrous sorts who glory in single combat. They are also upper middle class and aristocratic types and Peppard doesn't quite fit in.

You can put him in a biplane and give him rank, but his outlook doesn't change. What Peppard does see is that if he makes 20 confirmed kills he gets awarded the Blue Max decoration and his future and respectability is secure.

James Mason who commands the Flying Corps takes an interest in Peppard's rise. His political instinct tells him revolution is in the body politic. Make heroes out of someone like Peppard who would be part of the proletarian masses will help give those masses a vested interest in the Wilhelmine regime and would forestall revolution. Of course wife Ursula Andress has some different ideas about Peppard.

I like The Blue Max because it is a film about more than aviation. It is about what was happening in Germany during those last days of World War I when Germany was desperately trying to break the stalemate on the western front and pull out a victory before American troops were in sufficient numbers. They almost pulled it out in fact. It's about attitudes, old, new and changing. All three of the leads suit their roles perfectly.

As a veteran of World War I if he didn't gain the respectability out of the war he craved, Peppard would have been ripe for the Nazi propaganda that filled Germany and was finally heeded during the Depression. The Nazis filled their ranks with Peppards up and down Germany.

Which is why The Blue Max should be seen and learned from because it is not just about World War I aviators as good as the aerial footage is here.


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