7.0/10
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160 user 38 critic

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

Photos

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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 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

Genres:

Action | Drama | History | War

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The number of German losses (killed in action (K.I.A.)) during the Battle of Britain were tabled during this movie's closing credits. Bomber Crews K.I.A.: 1,176; Stuka Crews K.I.A.: 85; Fighter Bomber Crews K.I.A.: 212; Fighter Pilots K.I.A.: 171; Missing Crews, believed to be K.I.A.: 1,445. Therefore, according to this movie, German losses from the Battle of Britain amounted to 3,089. See more »

Goofs

The closing credits state that one Israeli pilot took part, the state of Israel did not exist in 1940 the area was Palestine. Israel was not created until 1948. See more »

Quotes

Squadron Leader Skipper: How many time have I told you - never fly straight and level for more than 30 seconds in a combat area!
[pauses]
Squadron Leader Skipper: You call your wife?
[Andy shakes his head slightly]
Squadron Leader Skipper: All right, boy! Get in!
[cocks his head toward his small maroon Austin Ascot 12/6]
See more »

Alternate Versions

The 2004 U.K. DVD release features two audio versions of the film: the original theatrical release audio featuring Ron Goodwin's score, and a secondary audio track with the restored William Walton/Malcolm Arnold score. A surviving member of the film crew painstakingly tracked down and restored the Walton session recordings. See more »

Connections

Edited into Fighting the Blue: Spirits in the Wind (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Battle in the Air
Composed by William Walton (as Sir William Walton O.M.)
Conducted by Malcolm Arnold
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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Frequently Asked Questions

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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

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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