BATTLE OF BRITAIN (1969) C widescreen 133m dir: Guy Hamilton
w/Harry Andrews, Michael Caine, Trevor Howard, Curt Jurgens, Ian McShane, Kenneth More, Laurence Olivier, Nigel Patrick, Christopher Plummer, Michael Redgrave, Rolf Stiefel, Susannah York
From The Movie Guide: "This stirring if slightly overlong saga of England's WWII defense of its homeland features a staggering, star-studded cast, who abet the film's docudrama style with excellent portrayals down the line, despite the restrictions of their roles. Caine, Plummer, and More have the meatier parts, with Susannah York providing the obligatory love interest as Plummer's WAAF wife who hates the war and craves affection. Olivier is in fine form as Sir Hugh Dowding, whose crafty tactics with his limited fighter command induced the Luftwaffe to make fatal errors that led to its destruction, and Robert Shaw is superb as an exhausted but relentlessly tough fighter commander who orders his men again and again into the air.
"While the film is a fitting paean to the noble RAF in its 'Finest Hour,' nodding recognition is also given to the Czech and Polish flyers who fought alongside their British comrades. Except for Jurgens, however, the German actors are mere caricatures of the Nazi high command, with Rolf Stiefel especially ludicrous as a berserk Hitler. The aerial photography of the German bombing and the dogfights between the British and German fighters are spectacular and fascinating: it was the high production value of these segments which cost the producers the bulk of their $12 million investment. Adolf Galland, one of the sharpest German aces to vex the British during WWII, was employed as a technical advisor on the film."