Battle of Britain

United Artists

Action Drama History
132 min     6.802     1969     United Kingdom


In 1940, the Royal Air Force fights a desperate battle against the might of the Luftwaffe for control of the skies over Britain, thus preventing the Nazi invasion of Britain.


John Chard wrote:
Stirring chest beater for those prepared to indulge. You don't need me to give you a history lesson here, Battle Of Britain, much like 98% of all war movies is a glossed up extension of an historical event, if you want history then go read all the serious historian comments instead. Wanna read about a film? OK, Battle Of Britain is something of a frustrating love of mine, I'm not one to be over enthused as regards jingoistic fervour, but there are a handful of films that really have me pounding my chest like some flag waving King Kong clone, Battle Of Britain, in spite of the obvious flaws is one such film. The plus points will always outweigh the bad for me, as a top array of acting talent line up to tell the tale of the British Air Force fighting the good fight against the German Air Force for control of British air space - and thus stopping the Nazis from invading England on the south coast. It should be noted that the film gains extra credit for giving the due respect to the other European countries that also fought in the Battle for the skies in 1940. The aerial sequences are a delight, it's easy to see where the main portion of the budget went here, be it dogfights or squadrons looming ominously in the sky, the effects are never less than good, and some of the POV cockpit shots firmly have the blood pumping. The climatic battle (played out to an almost operatic score) is deftly shot and is a riveting reel of film that pays you back for having sat through one of the film's flaws, that of the sadly scripted moments of tedium. True enough to say that the film is a bit overlong, and whilst it's smart in portraying the reality of pilots under prepared, it just comes across as at times like boorish filler, while the inevitable love interest strand involving Susannah York is not only pointless, it's also bloody annoying. The score is hit and miss as well, at times Ron Goodwin & Henry Walton's music lights up the proceedings as the planes swoop and conquer, but does the operatic switch for the film's final battle enhance the picture? I would say no because the harshness of battle gives way to swan lake like indulgence, it's not for me I have to say. Still, I don't think anyone is proclaiming this as a masterpiece, it entertains far above average, and for this viewer at least, it makes me proud for a couple of hours at least. Lest we ever forget the real life heroes of The Battle of Britain. 7/10