169 user 38 critic

The Battle of Britain (1969)

Battle of Britain (original title)
In 1940, the British Royal Air Force fights a desperate battle to prevent the Luftwaffe from gaining air superiority over the English Channel as a prelude to a possible Axis invasion of the U.K.


Guy Hamilton


James Kennaway (screenplay), Wilfred Greatorex (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
4,166 ( 64)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Harry Andrews ... Senior Civil Servant
Michael Caine ... Squadron Leader Canfield
Trevor Howard ... Air Vice Marshal Keith Park
Curd Jürgens ... Baron von Richter (as Curt Jurgens)
Ian McShane ... Sgt. Pilot Andy
Kenneth More ... Group Capt. Baker
Laurence Olivier ... Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding
Nigel Patrick ... Group Capt. Hope
Christopher Plummer ... Squadron Leader Colin Harvey
Michael Redgrave ... Air Vice Marshal Evill
Ralph Richardson ... Sir David Kelly - British Minister to Switzerland
Robert Shaw ... Squadron Leader Skipper
Patrick Wymark ... Air Vice Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory
Susannah York ... Section Officer Maggie Harvey
Michael Bates ... Warrant Officer Warwick


Historical reenactment of the air war in the early days of World War II for control of the skies over Britain as the new Luftwaffe and the Royal Air Force determine whether or not an invasion can take place. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Action | Drama | History | War


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


This movie became regarded as a patriotic tribute to "the few", that many of those involved in the production, actors, and technicians, reduced their normal fees to work on this movie. Much of the large budget went toward the acquisition, restoration, modification, maintenance, and operation of the vintage aircraft. See more »


At 55:11, the Luftwaffe co-pilot is observing a map of Scotland, where Edinburgh is clearly seen, however this would be pointless as they are bombing south east England. See more »


Air Chief Marshall Sir Hugh Dowding: Gentlemen, you're missing the essential truth. We're short of 200 pilots. Those we have are tired, strained, and all overdue for relief. We're fighting for survival. Losing. We don't need a big wing or a small wing. We need pilots. - And a miracle.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In some prints of this film, the scenes involving Hitler and the Nazis (not to mention other scenes in Polish) are not subtitled at all, and the audience watching the film has no idea what the Germans are planning. See more »


Edited into First Light (2010) See more »


A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
Lyrics (unused) by Eric Maschwitz
Music by Manning Sherwin
Played on jukebox at the Jackdaw Inn and later on the radio at the hotel
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User Reviews

A very good watch
6 July 1999 | by hecklesSee all my reviews

A movie commonly praised while in the air but damned once the scenes move to the ground. I found it all watchable and quite inspiring. Not every actor rises above cameo level, but Michael Caine is good, and I would follow Robert Shaw into the thick of any battle fought in human history. The battle scenes are still the best aerial combat sequences on celluloid.

It's odd that Maltin gives this movie fewer stars than the Europroduction "Blue Max", with its staged-looking combat sequences and campily awful dialogue.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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English | German | Polish | French

Release Date:

24 October 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Battle of Britain See more »


Box Office


$17,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Spitfire Productions See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints) (French release)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1 70mm, 2.35:1, 35mm
See full technical specs »

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