Battle of Britain
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Battle of Britain

132 min
Action | Drama | History | War
IMDB rate:
Guy Hamilton
Nominated for BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win
Country: UK
Release Date: 1969-10-24
Filming Locations: Old War Office Building, Whitehall, Westminster, London, England, UK
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
Robert Flemyng
Wing Cmdr. Willoughby
Isla Blair
Mrs. Andy
Barry Foster
Squadron Leader Edwards
John Baskcomb
Farmer (as John Bascomb)
Edward Fox
Pilot Officer Archie
Tom Chatto
Willoughby's Assistant Controller
W.G. Foxley
Squadron Leader Evans
James Cosmo
David Griffin
Sgt. Pilot Chris
Jack Gwillim
Senior Air Staff Officer
André Maranne
French NCO (as Andre Maranne)
Myles Hoyle
Anthony Nicholls
Duncan Lamont
Flight Sgt. Arthur
Nicholas Pennell
Sarah Lawson
Skipper's Wife
Andrzej Scibor
Mark Malicz
Jean Wladon
Jean Jacques
Wilfried von Aacken
Gen. Osterkamp (as Wilfried Van Aacken)
Reinhard Horras
Karl-Otto Alberty
General Jeschonnek - Luftwaffe Chief of Staff (as Karl Otto Alberty)
Helmut Kircher
Alexander Allerson
Maj. Brandt
Paul Neuhaus
Maj. Föhn
Dietrich Frauboes
Field Marshal Milch (Inspector General, Luftwaffe)
Malte Petzel
Col. Beppo Schmidt (Luftwaffe Intelligence)
Alf Jungermann
Brandt's Navigator
Manfred Reddemann
Maj. Falke
Peter Hager
Field Marshal Albert Kesselring
Hein Riess
Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring
Wolf Harnisch
Gen. Fink (as Wolf Harnish)
Rolf Stiefel
Adolf Hitler
Nikki Van der Zyl
Dubbing (voice)
Paul Angelis
Albert (uncredited)
Graham Armitage
Radar Officer (uncredited)
Hilda Barry
Old Lady (uncredited)
Nicky Beaumont
Pilot - Föhn's Crew (uncredited)
Kate Binchy
Grace (uncredited)
A.J. Brown
Air Observer (uncredited)
Günter Clemens
Pilot - Falke's Crew (uncredited)
John Comer
Policeman (uncredited)
Basil Dignam
Tactical Records Officer (uncredited)
Eric Dodson
RAF Officer (uncredited)
Harry Fielder
Soldier (uncredited)
Meriel Forbes
Undetermined Role (uncredited)
Gareth Forwood
Alistair (uncredited)
Paddy Frost
Edith (uncredited)
Brian Grellis
RAF Cpl. Ernie (uncredited)
Michael Guest
General Staff Officer (uncredited)
Barry Halliday
'A' Station Pilot (uncredited)
Paul Hansard
Karl (uncredited)
Vincent Harding
ADC to Hitler (uncredited)
Pat Heywood
WRAF Cpl. Seymour (uncredited)
Stuart Hoyle
'A' Station Pilot (uncredited)
Desmond Jordan
General Staff Officer (uncredited)
Geoffrey King
Air Observer (uncredited)
Jack Le White
Archie's Taxi Driver (uncredited)
Illona Linthwaite
Wendy (uncredited)
Maureen Lipman
Radar Operator (uncredited)
Reg Lye
Workman (uncredited)
David McKail
Lac Arnold (uncredited)
Harald Meister
Pilot - Föhn's Crew (uncredited)
George Merritt
Civillian (uncredited)
Hilary Minster
Pilot - Falke's Crew (uncredited)
Ingo Mogendorf
Pilot - Falke's Crew (uncredited)
Richard Morant
Replacement Pilot - Red Section 'Red 2' (uncredited)
Richardson Morgan
British Embassy Valet (uncredited)
Steve Morley
Boy Watching Archie's Parachute Landing (uncredited)
Christopher Morris
Boy (uncredited)
Geoffrey Morris
Air Observer (uncredited)
Douglas Nottage
Sergeant Pilot - Föhn's Crew (uncredited)
Hugo Panczak
Pilot - Falke's Crew (uncredited)
Clifford Parrish
Kelly's Butler (uncredited)
Eileen Peel
Lady Kelly (uncredited)
David Quilter
'A' Station Pilot (uncredited)
Pam Rose
WAF in the plotting room (uncredited)
George Roubicek
Sergeant Pilot - Falke's Crew (uncredited)
John Savident
RAF Officer (uncredited)
Clive Scott
'A' Station Pilot (uncredited)
Kathleen St. John
Old Lady (uncredited)
Frank Sussman
ADC in Intelligence Maps Office (uncredited)
Nick Tate
RAF Pilot (uncredited)
Reg Thomason
RAF Sergeant (uncredited)
Chris Tranchell
'A' Station Pilot (uncredited)
Paul Tropea
Peasant Boy (uncredited)
Rosetta Tropea
Peasant Girl (uncredited)
Alan Tucker
Charlie (uncredited)
Franz Van Norde
Pilot - Föhn's Crew (uncredited)
Dagobert Walter
Hans Falke (uncredited)
David Webb
RAF Officer (uncredited)
Peter Wesp
Pilot - Föhn's Crew (uncredited)
Alister Williamson
Air Raid Warden (uncredited)
Did you know?
The number of German losses (i.e. killed in action (KIA)) during the Battle of Britain are tabled during this movie's closing credits. Bomber Crews KIA: 1176; Stuka Crews KIA: 85; Fighter Bomber Crews KIA: 212; Fighter Pilots KIA: 171; Missing Crews, believed to be KIA: 1445. Therefore, according to this movie, German losses from the Battle of Britain amounted to 3089.
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When Air Vice Marshal Park first visits Squadron Leader Harvey, a double was used in place of Trevor Howard for the shot of him jumping out of the Hurricane because, as Guy Hamilton said, "You don't have elderly actors jumping out of elderly planes". Howard was in fact only 55 at the time.
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Sir William Walton was first hired to write the score, which would have been his last. Because of his advanced age, he turned to friend Sir Malcolm Arnold for assistance with the orchestrations (which Arnold supplied, as well as writing additional cues). Producer Harry Saltzman rejected the score, stating it wasn't long enough. Ron Goodwin was hired to write a new score, but when told he would be replacing one of Walton's, his first reaction was, "Why?" Goodwin eventually wrote the replacement score, but Laurence Olivier threatened to have his name removed from the credits if none of Walton's original was used. For this reason, Walton's original music was kept for the "Battle in the Air" sequence towards the end of the film.
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(at about 49 minutes) Susannah York is told to put her cigarette out because the gas mains was leaking. Meanwhile there are already fires burning all around.
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As the Heinkels approach the London Docklands, the shot from behind the aircraft shows them not moving in relation to each other at all, yet the background aerial view judders about, revealing that this is a group of plastic models being filmed.
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At the time of the Battle of Britain, most of the Spitfires still had the old straight-sided canopy (as seen on the Hurricanes) instead of the blown-out "Perspex hoods" canopy seen in the film.
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Group Capt. Baker: Section Officer Harvey!
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Wing Cmdr. Willoughby: [hanging up the phone and looking down at the plotting table, showing a large number of RAF Squadrons in place to intercept a Luftwaffe raid on London] This should give them something to think about!
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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...
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Chicago Opening Happened When?
The hit United Artists film, Battle of Britain, opened in Chicago in fou rarea theatres on Friday, October 31, 1969. The film was rated "G."
'Never was so much owed by so many to so few? Does this film capture the spirit of the RAF in 1940
Unequivocally 'yes' - and much more. Lawrence Olivier's performance as Hugh Dowding is not only one of his best screen performances (great script) but shows the huge contrast between Britain (backs to the wall) and the Nazis, led by posturing clowns like Goering. Dowding is a quiet professional - Goering was a poser.Further down the list the characterizations are believable from Ralph Richardson as Ambassador to Robert Shaw, Michael Caine and Ian McShane as in-flight commanders and pilots.Trevor Howard is good as Park, and Patrick Wymark makes something of a minor Leigh Mallory (later Air Force chief and mastermind of the D Day paratroop landings). Kenneth More and Michael Bates make the most of small roles.Christopher Plummer and Susannah York's sub-plot actually add something to the movie as does the destruction of McShane's family in the blitz. My parents were constantly separated by 'postings' during World War 2. York is torn between duty and marital responsibility - and tragedy will always be the outcome.The Germans are suitably gung-ho baddies and convincingly betray their overconfidence.Even Barry Foster manages to dig out a convincing performance in a small role. Edward Fox is laconic and stiff upper lip, contrasting excellently with his mate who quietly throws up behind the squadron hut.Above everything is the musical score which counterpoints the action excellently and relentlessly. I ocasionally shut my eyes during the movie and the music guides you through the action faultlessly.'Battle of Britain' is right up there with the best war movies ever made.
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Photos from cast
Michael Trubshawe