Battle of Britain (film)
|Battle of Britain|
American release poster
|Directed by||Guy Hamilton|
|Produced by||Harry Saltzman
S. Benjamin Fisz
|Written by||James Kennaway
|Music by||Ron Goodwin
|Editing by||Bert Bates|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Running time||133 minutes|
|Box office||$2 million (US/ Canada rentals)|
Battle of Britain is a 1969 film directed by Guy Hamilton, and produced by Harry Saltzman and S. Benjamin Fisz. The film broadly relates the events of the Battle of Britain. The script by James Kennaway and Wilfred Greatorex was based on the book The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster.
The film endeavoured to be an accurate account of the Battle of Britain, when in the summer and autumn of 1940 the British RAF inflicted a strategic defeat on the Luftwaffe and so ensured the cancellation of Operation Sea Lion - Adolf Hitler's plan to invade Britain. The film is notable for its spectacular flying sequences, echoing those seen in Angels One Five (1952) but on a far grander scale than had been seen on film before; these made the film's production very expensive.
The Battle of France in May 1940 has RAF pilots escaping the German Blitzkrieg. These pilots along with British and French military are quickly evacuated from the heavy strafing of German aircraft. In the next dramatic scene, French civilians watch in awe as a convoy of German troops march into France and take control.
After a radio assessment from the BBC and a look over of the deserted beaches of Dunkirk, comes an inspection of a large German airfield in captured France. Hundreds of Heinkel bomber aircraft are stationed under Albert Kesselring. RAF Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding (Laurence Olivier), realising that an imminent invasion of Great Britain will require every available aircraft and airman to counter it, stops additional aircraft being deployed to France so that they are available to defend Britain. In neutral Switzerland, the German ambassador (Curd Jürgens) officially proposes new peace terms to his British counterpart (Ralph Richardson), stating that continuing to fight the "masters" of Europe is hopeless. The Briton replies that his country will fight on, but privately admits to his wife that the German is likely correct.
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill declares that the battle for France has ended and the Battle of Britain has begun. The Germans realise their army cannot attempt a sea-borne invasion until Britain's air capability is eliminated. Thus the campaign begins with the Luftwaffe launching an early morning assault, the plan being to destroy the RAF on the ground before they have time to launch their Spitfire and Hurricane fighters.
The Luftwaffe also strike radar installations which are essential to Britain's air defence. RAF pilots fight back, but many lack combat experience. A grueling battle of attrition ensues in which British Air Marshall Dowding wearily remarks, "We are losing." Pressed hard by casualties, the RAF begins to employ foreign pilots who have escaped German-occupied countries. While still training, a Polish squadron (Free Polish) spots an unescorted flight of German bombers. One by one, they peel off and attack in disregard of the British training officer. The Poles are successful and are elevated to operational status.
The turning point occurs when a squadron of German bombers lost in bad weather at night drops bombs on London. In retaliation, the RAF launches an attack on Berlin. Though the damage is negligible, it has a psychological effect on the Germans since it is the first time in history Berlin has been bombed from the air. Enraged, German leader Adolf Hitler orders London to be razed. The city bears the brunt of attack as wave after wave of German bombers arrive, some dropping incendiaries at night. Given a respite, the Royal Air Force is able to repair their airfields and installations such as the radar picket stations. For the first time, large RAF fighter units guarding London can engage the enemy. The city is also at the extreme end of German fighter escort range for their bombers.
The climactic air battle of 15 September 1940 arrives. In an underground bunker, British ground control personnel carefully monitor the approaching enemy via radar and provide targets for their fighters. Intense combat over the London sky follows, with both sides taking heavy losses. In the end, the Royal Air Force proves too much of a challenge. Unwilling to sustain further losses, Hitler cancels Operation Sea Lion, the invasion of the British Isles. Two German sentries, who had earlier seen a French port teeming with Kriegsmarine and landing craft, now observe a deserted dock.
As the campaign draws to a close at the end of 1940 and the words of Winston Churchill resound: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few"
The Battle of Britain has a large all-star international cast. The film was notable for its attempt to accurately portray the role of the Germans, with participants in the battle including Adolf Galland and Robert Stanford Tuck involved as consultants. Subtitled German-speaking actors were utilized, a departure from other English language British films in the postwar period, where Germans were often played by Anglophone actors.
- Laurence Olivier as Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief RAF Fighter Command.
- Trevor Howard as Air Vice-Marshal Sir Keith Park, Air Officer commanding No. 11 Group RAF.
- Patrick Wymark as Air Vice-Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory, Air Officer commanding No. 12 Group RAF.
- Christopher Plummer as Canadian fighter pilot, Squadron Leader Colin Harvey. Since Plummer is Canadian, he asked for his character's RAF uniform to display the "Canada" shoulder flashes.
- Michael Caine as Squadron Leader Canfield
- Ralph Richardson as the British ambassador to Switzerland, Sir David Kelly.
- Robert Shaw as an unnamed Squadron Leader, referred to as "Skipper": RAF slang for a commanding officer. The only other appellation he is known by is his call sign, "Rabbit Leader".
- Susannah York as Section Officer Maggie Harvey, Colin's wife.
- Ian McShane as Sergeant Pilot Andy
- Kenneth More (who had portrayed Douglas Bader in Reach for the Sky 12 years before) as Group Captain Barker, Station Commander at RAF Duxford.
- Edward Fox as Pilot Officer Archie.
- Michael Redgrave as Air Vice-Marshal Evill
- Harry Andrews as Churchill's Military Envoy
- Bill Foxley as Squadron Leader Evans
- Curd Jürgens as Baron von Richter, a role inspired by Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop. Ribbentrop had been Ambassador to Great Britain 1936-38. When Ralph Richardson as the British Ambassador in Switzerland, David Victor Kelly, argues with von Richter over Hitler's appeal to reason, Richardson tells von Richter that von Richter's years in England had left him none the wiser.
- Hein Riess as Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe [N 1]
- Manfred Reddemann as the cigar-chomping Major Falke, a role inspired by wartime Luftwaffe ace Adolf Galland, who at the age of 30 was to become the youngest man to hold the rank of general in the Luftwaffe. One scene in the film is said to have been based on a meeting between Galland and Göring: when Göring asks Falke what he needs, Falke answers: "A squadron of Spitfires!" [N 2]
- Wilfried von Aacken as Gen. Osterkamp
- Karl-Otto Alberty as Gen. Jeschonnek (Luftwaffe chief of staff) (as Karl Otto Alberty)
- Helmut Kircher as Boehm
- Alexander Allerson as Major Brandt
- Paul Neuhaus as Major Föehn
- Dietrich Frauboes as Field Marshal Milch (Inspector General, Luftwaffe)
- Malte Petzel as Colonel Beppo Schmid (Luftwaffe Intelligence)
- Alf Jungermann as Brandt's navigator
- Peter Hager as Field Marshal Albert Kesselring
- Wolf Harnisch as General Fink (as Wolf Harnish)
- Rolf Stiefel as Adolf Hitler
The film required a large number of period aircraft. In September 1965 producers Harry Saltzman and S. Benjamin Fisz contacted former RAF Bomber Command Group Captain Hamish Mahaddie to find the aircraft and arrange their use. Eventually 100 aircraft were employed, called the "35th largest air force in the world". With Mahaddie's help, the producers located 109 Spitfires in the UK, of which 27 were available although only 12 could be made flyable. Mahaddie negotiated use of six Hawker Hurricanes, of which three were flying. The film helped preserve these aircraft, including a rare Spitfire Mk II which had been a gate guardian at RAF Colerne.
During the actual aerial conflict, all RAF Spitfires were Spitfire Mk I and Mark II variants. However, only one Mk Ia and one Mk IIa (the latter with a Battle of Britain combat record) could be made airworthy, so the producers had to use seven other different marks, all of them built after the battle. To achieve commonality, the production made some modifications to "standardise" the Spitfires, including adding elliptical wingtips, period canopies and other changes. To classic aircraft fans, they became known as "Mark Haddies" (a play on Grp. Capt. Mahaddie's name). A pair of two-seat trainer Spitfires were camera platforms to achieve realistic aerial footage inside the battle scenes. A rare Hawker Hurricane XII had been restored by Canadian Bob Diemert, who flew the aircraft in the film. Eight non-flying Spitfires and two Hurricanes were set dressing, with one Hurricane able to taxi.
A North American B-25 Mitchell N6578D, flown by pilots John "Jeff" Hawke and Duane Egli, was the primary aerial platform for aviation sequences. I t was painted garishly for line-up references and to make it easier for pilots to determine which way it was manoeuvring. When the brightly coloured aircraft arrived at Tablada airbase in Spain in early afternoon of 18 March 1968, the comment from Derek Cracknell, the assistant director, was "It's a bloody great psychedelic monster!" The aircraft was henceforth dubbed the Psychedelic Monster.
For the German aircraft, the producers obtained 32 CASA 2.111 twin-engined bombers, a Spanish-built version of the German Heinkel He 111H-16. They also located 27 Hispano Aviación HA-1112 M1L 'Buchon' single-engined fighters, a Spanish version of the German Messerschmitt Bf 109. T he Buchons were altered to look more like correct Bf 109Es, adding mock machine guns and cannon, redundant tailplane struts, and removing the rounded wingtips. The Spanish aircraft were powered by British Rolls-Royce Merlin engines, and thus almost all the aircraft used, British and German alike, were Merlin-powered. [N 3] After the film, one HA-1112 was donated to the German Luftwaffenmuseum der Bundeswehr, and converted to a Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-2 variant, depicting the insignias of German ace Gustav Rödel.
Two Heinkels and the 17 flyable Messerschmitts (including one dual-controlled HA-1112-M4L two-seater, used for conversion training and as a camera ship), were flown to England to complete the shoot. In the scene where the Polish training squadron breaks off to attack, ("Repeat, please"), the three most distant Hurricanes were Buchons marked as Hurricanes, as there were not enough flyable Hurricanes. In addition to the combat aircraft, two Spanish-built Junkers Ju 52 transports were used.
Filming in England was at Duxford, Debden, North Weald and Hawkinge, all operational stations in 1940 — one surviving First World War "Belfast" hangar at Duxford was blown up and demolished for the Eagle Day sequence. Some filming also took place at Bovingdon, a former wartime bomber airfield.
Another early scene was the Dunkirk recreation which was shot at the beachfront in Huelva, Spain. [N 4] To reflect the cloudless skies of summer of 1940, many upward-facing shots were filmed over Spain, while downward-facing shots were almost all below the clouds, over southern England, where farmland is distinctive. However 1940 camouflage made it difficult to see the aircraft against the ground and sky, so a cloud background was used where possible. Only one Spitfire was relocated to Spain to stand in for the RAF defenders. After filming began, the English weather proved too unreliable and filming was moved to Hal Far and Luqa Airfields in Malta to complete the aerial sequences.
Location filming in London was carried out mainly in the St Katharine Docks area where older houses were being demolished for housing estates. Partly demolished buildings represented bombed houses and disused buildings were set on fire. St Katharine Docks was one of the few areas of London's East End to survive The Blitz. Many extras were survivors of the Blitz. Aldwych tube station, used as a wartime air-raid shelter, was also used as a filming location. Almost all the period equipment from the London Fire Brigade Museum was used in the film. The night scenes of wartime Berlin were filmed in San Sebastian, Spain. The scenes at RAF Fighter Command were filmed at RAF Bentley Priory, the headquarters of Fighter Command. Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding's original office, with the original furniture, was used.
Aircraft models 
Permission was granted to the producers to use the Royal Air Force Museum's Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive-bomber (one of only two that survive intact). The 1943 aircraft was repainted and slightly modified to resemble a 1940 model Ju 87. The engine was found to be in excellent condition and there was little difficulty in starting it, but returning the aircraft to airworthiness was ultimately too costly for the filmmakers. Instead, two Percival Proctor training aircraft were converted into half-scale Stukas, with a cranked wing, as "Proctukas". To duplicate the steep dive of Ju 87 attacks, large models were flown by radio control.
To recreate airfield scenes in the film, with the limited number of period aircraft available for the film, large scale models were used. The first requirement was for "set decoration" replicas. Production of full-size wood and fibreglass Hurricanes, Spitfires and Bf 109s commenced in a sort of production line set up at Pinewood Studios. A number of the replicas were fitted with motorcycle engines to enable them to taxi. Although most of these replicas were destroyed during filming, a small number were made available to museums in the UK.
The other need was for models in aerial sequences, and Art Director and model maker John Siddall was asked by the producer to create and head a team specifically for this because of his contacts in the modelling community. [N 5] A test flight was arranged at Lasham Airfield in the UK and a model was flown down the runway close behind a large American estate car with a cameraman in the rear. This test proved successful, leading to many radio-controlled models being constructed in the band rehearsal room at Pinewood Studios. Over a period of two years, a total of 82 Spitfires, Hurricanes, Messerschmitts and He 111s were built. Radio-controlled Heinkel He 111 models were flown to depict bombers being destroyed over the English Channel. When reviewing the footage of the first crash, the producers noticed a trailing-wire antenna; this was explained by an added cutaway in which the control wires of a Heinkel are seen shot loose.
Historical accuracy 
The film is generally faithful to events and although merging some characters, it sticks to the orthodox view — that the Germans threw away tactical advantage by switching bombing from RAF airfields to London in revenge for RAF raids on Berlin. Some later scholarship has cast doubt on one or another aspect of the orthodox view, arguing either: (a) that the switch to bombing London was made not for reasons of revenge but because the Germans thought they had already defeated RAF Fighter Command, or (b) that accelerated British aircraft production meant that the prospect of a German victory was never likely (this view seems doubtful, however, in part because the key issue was the number of available pilots).
The film includes a sequence which relates the events of 15 August 1940, in which the Luftwaffe attempted to overwhelm fighter defences by simultaneous attacks on northern and southern England, the Luftwaffe reasoning that "even a Spitfire can't be in two places at once." North East England was attacked by 65 Heinkel He 111s escorted by 34 Messerschmitt Bf 110s, and RAF Driffield was attacked by 50 unescorted Junkers Ju 88s. Out of 115 bombers and 35 fighters sent, 16 bombers and seven fighters were lost. As a result of these casualties, Luftflotte 5 did not appear in strength again in the campaign. [N 6]
The Robert Shaw character "Squadron Leader Skipper" is based loosely on Squadron Leader Sailor Malan, a South African fighter ace and No. 74 Squadron RAF commander during the Battle of Britain. The scene in the operation room in which the British listen to their fighters' wireless transmissions is for dramatic reasons only. In reality, the operations room received information by telephone from the sector airfields. The scenes at the end, where the RAF pilots are seen suddenly idle and left awaiting the return of the Luftwaffe raids are more licence; the fighting fizzled out through late September, although daylight raids continued for some weeks after the 15 September engagement. 31 October 1940 is regarded as the official end on the British side.
The confrontation between Dowding and Keith Park, on one side, and Trafford Leigh-Mallory on the other is fictitious, though there were undoubted tensions between the two sides. The film doesn't mention that, following the Battle of Britain, Dowding and Park were replaced by Sholto Douglas and Leigh-Mallory, despite Dowding and Park having demonstrated that Leigh-Mallory's "Big Wing" theories were unworkable.
One omission is at the end of the film, when casualties are listed. The film does not mention losses by Corpo Aereo Italiano, an Italian expeditionary force that took part, nor is its participation mentioned during the film. One anomalous entry in the list of pilots who served with the RAF is a pilot described by the credits as Israeli, (a Jewish pilot from the British mandate in Palestine) although the state of Israel was only created in 1948.
There was no attempt to recreate tracer rounds.
Göring's train in the film is Spanish rather than French (the RENFE markings are just visible on its tender), and the steam locomotive shown did not come into service on Spanish National Railways (RENFE) until 1951.
The role of Falke was inspired by Adolf Galland, a famous ace during the Second World War, who did ask the Reichmarshall Göring for "an outfit of Spitfires for my squadron". Galland, however explained in his autobiography that his request was only a way to upset Göring, because he was "unbelievably vexed at the lack of understanding and stubbornness with the command (i.e. Göring) gave us orders we could not execute". Personally, Galland did feel that the Spitfire was more manoeuvrable than the Bf 109, which he felt made it more suitable as a defensive fighter, but he also states that "fundamentally I preferred the ME-109." 
During filming, Galland, who was acting as a German technical advisor, took exception to a scene where Kesselring is shown giving the Nazi salute, rather than the standard military salute. Journalist Leonard Mosley witnessed Galland spoiling the shooting and having to be escorted off the set. Galland subsequently threatened to withdraw from the production, warning "dire consequences for the film if the scene stayed in." However, when the finished scene was screened before Galland and his lawyer, he was persuaded to accept the scene after all.
Musical score 
As recounted in Mervyn Cooke’s A History of Film Music (2008), the film has two musical scores. The first was written by Sir William Walton, and conducted by Malcolm Arnold. However, the music department at United Artists objected that the score was too short. As a result, a further score was commissioned from Ron Goodwin. Producer S. Benjamin Fisz and actor Sir Laurence Olivier protested against this decision, and Olivier threatened to take his name from the credits. In the end, one segment of the Walton score, titled "The Battle in the Air"', which framed the climactic air battles of 15 September 1940, was retained in the final cut, as well as a few bars of his March rather clumsily edited into the final scene before the credits roll. The Walton score was played with no sound effects of aircraft engines or gunfire, giving the "Battle" sequence a transcendent, lyrical quality.
Prime Minister Edward Heath retrieved Walton’s manuscript from United Artists in 1972, presenting it to the composer at Walton’s 70th birthday party held at 10 Downing Street. Tapes of the Walton score were believed lost forever until being rediscovered in 1990 from the sound mixer’s garage. Since then the score has been restored and released on compact disc. The option to watch the film with the complete Walton score was included on the Region 2 Special Edition DVD of the film, which was released in June 2004.
Very little attention has been paid to the comparative quality of the scores produced for the film. Walton's music was composed with considerable help from Malcolm Arnold, who was responsible for producing the orchestrations. Aside from the undoubted originality and impact of "The Battle in the Air" sequence, much of Walton's score is derivative, including references to Wagner's 'Siegfried', and a main march which follows a well-worn template: Walton himself admitted that he had basically revamped his "Orb and Sceptre" march several times over.
By contrast, Ron Goodwin's score, which has always been regarded as a poor relation, encapsulates the atmosphere of the film perfectly: For the opening theme, Goodwin composed the "Aces High March" in the style of a traditional German military march in 6/8 time. The march places heavy emphasis on the "oom-pah" sound of tubas and lower-pitched horns on the first and second beats and has the glockenspiel double the horns in the melody. Because of the great length of this sequence, which shows a Luftwaffe general's inspection of a Heinkel squadron in occupied France, the Aces High has three separate bridges between choruses of the main theme, one of which recurs several times in a gently sentimental variation. Despite its origin in a representation of a tyrannical threat to democracy, the march has become a popular British patriotic tune, like the "Dambusters March", an adaptation was first played by a British military band in 1974 by the Corps of Drums of the Royal Pioneer Corps and is now  frequently played at military parades and by marching bands in Northern Ireland. American radio personality and convicted Watergate conspirator G. Gordon Liddy has used the march as bumper music on his syndicated radio programme.
The remainder of the score is distinctive in its careful underpinning of the visual action and musical characterisation of the opposing sides, each of which is retains its own thematic material.
The film was the most popular movie selling reserved tickets at the British box office in 1970. The Battle of Britain currently scores 63% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Both a hardcover and paperback book on the making of the movie were published in 1969.
The use of actual aircraft in flying sequences has led to a number of subsequent productions utilising stock footage derived from Battle of Britain including the following, albeit incomplete list of productions:
- The scene of a damaged Heinkel bomber emitting smoke and losing altitude was used in the Adolf Hitler: My Part in his Downfall (1972).
- Short clips from the main "Battle in the air" sequence were used in the Baa Baa Black Sheep television series (1976–1978).
- A fragment of the soundtrack of one of the dogfights is used on the album The Wall (1979) by Pink Floyd, right at the start of the track "Vera".
- Footage of Bf-109s exploding and crashing into the English Channel was inserted into the opening "Skeet Surfing" music video in the parody film Top Secret! (1984).
- "Newsreel" footage shown in the cinema in the film Hope and Glory (1987) was air combat footage from Battle of Britain.
- Some of the Stuka footage was re-used in the BBC drama series No Bananas (1996).
- Footage from the film was incorporated in the Czech film Dark Blue World (2001).
- Much aerial footage was cut into the American film Midway (1976), with Spitfires and Hurricanes masquerading as F2A Buffaloes and F4F Wildcats.
- Aerial sequences from the film would once again help to depict the Battle of Midway in the television mini-series War and Remembrance (1988)
- Some footage and out-takes were used for the 1988 ITV mini-series Piece of Cake, an aerial drama about a fictional Second World War RAF fighter squadron in 1940.
- The BBC drama First Light (2010) makes significant use of footage from the film.
The formative strategy war-game Empire was notably inspired by the RAF Fighter Command scenes in Battle of Britain in which staff move counters representing friendly and enemy aircraft and ships over the large map of Britain, from which tactical decisions are made by the air commanders.
Dinky Toys produced a pair of diecast model aircraft based on the film. A Spitfire Mk II (Dinky Toys 719) in 1/65 scale and Junkers Ju 87B Stuka (Dinky Toys 721) in 1/72 scale were released in special boxes with Battle of Britain logo on the box and photographs from the film included.[N 7] 
See also 
- According to a booklet publicising the movie, Riess had allegedly once met Göring himself during the war. alland himself acted as a technical adviser for the movie.
- In his autobiography, Galland said he actually told Göring, "I should like an outfit of Spitfires for my squadron."
- The Merlin in the Spanish-built variant, is not an "inverted" engine like the actual Bf 109E's Daimler-Benz DB-601, so the nose profile of the "Spanish Messerschmitts" is distinctly different.
- Only later did the directors find out this was where The Man Who Never Was deception had been carried out, in which the Germans were deceived by counterfeit documents purporting that the Allies were to invade Sardinia rather than Sicily, planted on a drowned man dressed as Royal Marines "Major Martin", allowed to wash up on the beach in 1943.
- Modellers included Mick Charles, Jack Morton and Chris Ohlson. Siddall was told by production that the models would not get any credit because they didn't want it generally known that models were used in the film.
- The film's producers did not have access to real or replica Bf 110 or Junkers Ju 88 aircraft, so the Junkers were not mentioned and the Heinkels are described as unescorted.
- One of the first examples of "tie-in" merchandising.
- Tino Balio, United Artists: The Company The Changed the Film Industry, Uni of Wisconsin Press, 1987 p 272
- "Big Rental Films of 1969", Variety, 7 January 1970 p 15
- at 1:36 "Battle of Britain - Finale" youtube.com. Retrieved: 27 March 2011.
- Mosley 1969, p. 33.
- Hankin 1968, p. 48.
- Mosley 1969, p. 100.
- Galland 1953, p. 22.
- Hankin 1968, p. 49.
- Schnepf 1970, p. 25.
- Schnepf 1970, p. 45.
- MacCarron 1999, p. 80.
- Mosley 1969, p. 75.
- Crump 2007, p. 73.
- Mosley 1969, p. 56.
- "Junkers Ju-87 G2 494083/8474M." RAF Museum. Retrieved: 26 September 2010.
- Rudhall August 1988, p. 35.
- Rudhall May 1988, p. 10.
- Robinson 1987, p. 19.
- "Document 32." Battle of Britain Historical Society. Retrieved: 20 August 2011.
- Deighton, Len. Fighter: The True Story of the Battle of Britain. New York: Ballantine Books, 1979. ISBN 0-06-100802-8.
- Galland 2005, pp. 28–29.
- Mosley 1969, p. 105.
- Mosley 1969, pp. 122–123.
- (R.P.C. Corps of Drums)
- "Paul Newman, Britain's favourite star." Times [London, England], 31 December 1970, p. 9 via The Times Digital Archive. Retrieved: 11 July 2012.
- Bright, Walter. "A Brief History of Empire." Walter Bright's Classic Empire website, Kirkland, 2000.
- "Dinky Battle of Britain ad." flickr.com, 26 May 2011. Retrieved: 1 December 2011.
- Cooke, Mervyn. A History of Film Music. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-521-01048-1.
- Crump, Bill. "Bandits on Film." FlyPast October 2007.
- Galland, Adolf. Die Ersten und die Letzten (The First and the Last) (in German). Munich: Franz Schneekluth-Verlag Darmstadt, First edition, 1953. ISBN 978-2-905643-00-1.
- Galland, Adolf. The First and the Last: Germany's Fighter Force in WWII (Fortunes of War). South Miami, Florida: Cerberus Press, 2005. ISBN 1-84145-020-0.
- Hankin, Raymond. "Filming the Battle." Flying Review International, Vol. 24, no. 2, October 1968.
- MacCarron, Donald. "Mahaddie's Air Force." FlyPast September 1999.
- Mosley, Leonard. Battle of Britain: The Story of a Film. London: Pan Books, 1969. ISBN 0-330-02357-8.
- Prins, François. "Battle of Britain: Making an epic." FlyPast August 2009.
- Robinson, Anthony. RAF Squadrons in the Battle of Britain. London: Arms and Armour Press Ltd., 1987 (republished 1999 by Brockhampton Press). ISBN 1-86019-907-0.
- Rudhall, Robert. "The Battle of Britain: The Movie, Part one: Opening Shots." Warbirds Worldwide, Number 5, Volume Two, No. 1, May 1988.
- Rudhall, Robert. "The Battle of Britain: The Movie, Part two: Lights, Camera's,(sic) Action." Warbirds Worldwide, Number 6, Volume Two, No. 2, August 1988.
- Schnepf, Ed, ed. "The Few: Making the Battle of Britain." Air Classics Vol. 6, No. 4, April 1970.
- Battle of Britain at the Internet Movie Database
- Battle of Britain at the TCM Movie Database
- Battle of Britain at AllRovi
- Battle of Britain at Rotten Tomatoes