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Battle of Britain (1969)

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.

Director:

Guy Hamilton

Writers:

James Kennaway (screenplay), Wilfred Greatorex (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

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
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Storyline

Historical reenactment of the air war in the early days of World War Two 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

Genres:

Action | Drama | History | War

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German | Polish | French

Release Date:

24 October 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Battle of Britain See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

Production Co:

Spitfire Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Majors Foehn and Falke, the two German squadron commanders, were based on Adolf Galland and Werner Molders, two of the most famous German fighter aces of the war. Galland was on the movie set as an advisor. He almost walked out at one point because he was angry at how the Germans were being portrayed in a stereotypical manner. Many scenes were re-written and re-shot at his insistence. See more »

Goofs

When Air Vice Marshal Park visits Canfield at the latter's airfield, the designation of the squadron, "188", is shown on the door to the main office. No. 188 Squadron RAF did not exist during World War 2. No. 188 Squadron RAF was a World War 1 squadron that was active between 1917-1919. It has never been re-activated. See more »

Quotes

Baron von Richter: David, we are not asking for anything. Europe is ours, we can walk into Britain whenever we like.
Sir David Kelly: If you think we're going to gamble on Herr Hitler's guarantees, you're making a grave mistake. All those years in England seems to have left you none the wiser. We're not easily frightened. Also we know how hard it is for an army to cross the Channel. The last little Corporal who tried came a cropper. So don't threaten or dictate to us until you're marching up Whitehall... and even then we won't ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

Some TV prints of the film retain the Transamerica/UA production logo, which is now frequently edited out of other UA films of that period. See more »

Connections

Edited into First Light (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Battle in the Air
Composed by William Walton (as Sir William Walton O.M.)
Conducted by Malcolm Arnold
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

A Historic event recreated with skill and wit.
10 July 2003 | by jlpicard1701ESee all my reviews

Perhaps not many new viewers of this gigantic recreation are aware of the fact that this movie was filmed almost 30 years after the actual events took place.

The efforts to put History on screen were huge. Everything in this account of the facts, comes directly from those who were actually involved in it: from the British and German fighter aces to private Londoners, they all contributed to make this not just another "war movie", but rather a dramatized documentary with accurate precision.

This by no means signifies that it is just that. The sky battles were very carefully choreographed, in accordance to rules of combat, which were followed in the 1940s. Some planes were flown by the same veterans, so that when you see a Messerschmitt Bf-109 followed by Spitfire Mk 1, you know it's for real.

The technical efforts were immense and although the Messerschmitts have reworked engines and even the Heinkel He.111s have different aerials and engine specs, because they were updated by the Spanish Air Force for later use after World War Two, the difference is barely noticeable when one watches one of those spectacular aerial battles.

On the whole, this is a history lesson about how a people, isolated from the rest of the world, and in a minority position, withstood the overwhelming crushing machine of the Axis: the Luftwaffe.

More than a movie, this is a celebration to those brave people, both civilian and military, who did commit themselves against all odds, to resist and fight back a very aggressive and dangerous enemy.

This, together with "The Longest Day", "Sink the Bismarck!", "Tora! Tora! Tora!" and "A Bridge Too Far" is one of those rare examples to make history come to life again and should be considered as didactic material for schools.

An excellent multi-national cast and a skillful direction, make this a masterpiece of its genre.


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