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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 UK.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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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:
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Senior Civil Servant
...
...
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Baron von Richter (as Curt Jurgens)
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Group Capt. Baker
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Group Capt. Hope
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Air Vice Marshal Evill
...
...
Patrick Wymark ...
...
...
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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

24 October 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Battle of Britain  »

Box Office

Budget:

$17,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (70 mm prints) (French release)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

27 Spitfires, in various degrees of repair, were found for the film, twelve of which could be made airworthy. Only six Hurricanes where found, three of which were made flyable. The Messerschmitt 109s were all retired from the Spanish Air Force. The production company bought them all, about fifty of them, and put seventeen of them back in flying condition. They are in the movie, flown by Spanish Air Force pilots, and members of the Confederate Air Force. The 32 Heinkels, with crews, were on loan, for free, from the Spanish Air Force, where they still were used for transport and target towing. Two of them were eventually bought by the production company, and flown together with the 17 Messerschmitts to England, for further shooting. The two Junkers 52 were also on loan from the Spanish Air Force. 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

Air Vice Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory: [protesting to Dowding] We were up, sir, trying to knock out the enemy air mass. It takes time to assemble forty or fifty aircraft at...
Air Vice Marshal Keith Park: [interrupting] It takes far too long! By the time your "Big Wing" is up, the enemies have already hit their targets and are on their way home.
Air Vice Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory: All that matters is to shoot them down in large numbers. I'd rather destroy fifty after they've hit their targets than ten before.
Air Vice Marshal Keith Park: Don't forget, the targets are my airfields, Leigh-Mallory. And you're not getting fifty. ...
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Connections

Referenced in BBC Proms: Prom 2: Music from Great British Films (2007) 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 (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Historic event recreated with skill and wit.
10 July 2003 | by (New York, NY) – See 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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