Directed by Guy Hamilton
This film with a great deal of historical accuracy towards the battles details the Battle of Britain. That is the plot. The filler is melodrama.
Battle of Britain is not a bad movie. It is only just an okay one. The combat sequences are amazing. The humor among the characters is appropriate, but the drama just falls flat. The problem is you just do not care. You are as attached to them as you would be to a Bazooka Joe bubblegum comic character. None of the characters are that engaging that you feel bad for them or are cheering for them. They are just on the screen to take up space.
Guy Hamilton had a good repertoire. He was behind several Bond films along with other movies, so he understood action, but he missed the mark on characters here. I could not get into this movie probably as much as I should have because of that.
The movie has an expansive cast of characters and they are all played by top-notch talent. Some of them are:
- Laurence Olivier-RAF Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding
- Trevor Howard-RAF Air Vice-Marshal Keith Park.
- Christopher Plummer-Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Squadron Leader Colin Harvey
- Susannah York-Colin Harvey’s wife Section Officer Maggie Harvey
- Michael Caine-Squadron Leader Canfield
- Ralph Richardson- British Ambassador to Switzerland Sir David Kelly
- Robert Shaw-an unnamed Squadron Leader, only ever called “Skipper” which is RAF slang for a commanding officer
- Ian McShane-Sergeant Pilot Andy Moore
- Curd Jürgens-Maximilian Baron von Richter. Jürgens was the go-to German actor of the time.
You have Ian McShane and Michael Caine and so many other talents here and they just cannot engage you in their characters. I guess it is because the movie is told in a straightforward and matter-of-fact way. Aside from the humorous moments in the film nothing evokes much of a reaction. You get roused by the combat scenes, but you do not feel for what is going on for the characters. They just are.
The effects in this are fantastic. It is my understanding it was one of the larger uses of miniatures at that time. They did amazing work, and everything looks fantastic. They still hold up today.
The movie lingered at the retailer I bought from for quite some time. I know this because I oddly positioned it, and nobody touched it for the longest time. And now I can see why. It was not that good.
I am a sucker for World War II films, and I expected greatness given the all-star cast but what I got instead was mediocrity. Individual performances were good but together they only produced an adequate film. No character or storyline in the movie really stood out. If you want to see this movie for good battles go ahead but otherwise you can pass.