Battle of Britain (film)

1969 film by Guy Hamilton

Battle of Britain is a 1969 war film portraying 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 LionAdolf Hitler's plan to invade Britain.

Directed by Guy Hamilton. Written by James Kennaway and Wilfred Greatorex.

Reichsmarschall Hermann GoeringEdit

  • [Watching a massive Luftwaffe bomber force heading for England] My God, if we lose the war now... they'll tear our arses asunder!
  • I have promised the Fuehrer that we will clear the skies and completely destroy the RAF. I expect my orders to be obeyed!
  • [To his officers, upon learning of the Battle of Britain's failure and Operation Sea-Lion's cancellation] You have let me down! You have betrayed me!

Group Captain BarkerEdit

  • [briefing RAF senior officers assigned to oversee ground control stations] Or, in other words, beware of the Hun in the sun- who, for reasons best known to himself, has confined his recent attacks to our Channel convoys. However, this won't last forever. But it has given us time to pull ourselves together and train people like you. Now, as fighter controllers, you'll be joining an organization which, thank the good Lord, was not rushed up hastily yesterday. It'll be a pain in the neck to the enemy when he comes. It's the joker up our sleeves. [points to chalkboard] Now, the RDF chain shows us where they are. The information is passed to Group. Group scrambles the necessary squadrons, and you, at Sector level, guide our chaps to the interception. It's been tried and tested. It works, so don't blame the system if you're no good. [details map] Now, clearly, 11 Group here will bear the brunt of the battle, as those of you who are posted there will find out, to your discomfort. Twelve Group is our second line of defense, and covers the industrial Midlands and the North. Thirteen Group, Scotland and the Northeast, and 10 Group, the west of England. More than half the Fighter Command squadrons are stationed here at 11 Group, near the coast, where we expect the invasion, and also able to protect London, which is as far as the bombers can get with fighter escort. But I think we can leave strategy to those with egg on their hats.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh C.T. DowdingEdit

  • [Narrating a letter he has written] To the permanent Secretary of State for Air... Sir, I have the honour to refer to the very serious calls which have recently been made upon Fighter Command in an attempt to stem the German invasion of the Continent. I hope and believe that our armies may yet be victorious in France and Belgium, but we have to face the possibility that they may be defeated. In this case, I presume that there is no one who would deny that England should fight on, even though the remainder of the continent of Europe is dominated by the Germans. I must therefore request that not one more fighter be sent across the Channel. If the home defence is drained away in desperate attempts to remedy the situation in France, defeat in France will involve the final, complete, and irremediable defeat of this country. I have the honour to be, sir, your obedient servant, H.C.T. Dowding.


[An RAF Spitfire does a barrel roll over a column of retreating soldiers and civilians; a group of weary British Army soldiers are not impressed]
British Soldier: Who the 'ell's he tryin' to kid?
[Later, the Spitfire lands and its pilot is revealed to be Jamie; his squadron leader saw him perform the barrel roll]
Squadron Leader Harvey: What the hell was that? One wrong twitch and you'd have been spread all over a field like strawberry jam. Never again, clear?
Jamie: I thought it might buck up the civilians!
Harvey: Oh, for God's sake, Jamie! Give your brain a chance!

[In neutral Switzerland, Baron von Richter is meeting with the British ambassador to Switzerland.]
Baron von Richter: Sir David, I'm again instructed to inform you that the Fuehrer wishes to avoid further bloodshed. England is not our natural enemy, and he offers guarantees for the British Empire if you give Germany a free hand in Europe. Goering and his Luftwaffe would like to flatten London, as a prelude to invasion.
Sir David Kelly: [Adding sugar to tea] It's two lumps you take, isn't it?
Von Richter: What's left of your army abandoned its weapons at Dunkirk. You're defenseless and just playing for time! We know the moves you're making in Washington. And we know the Americans won't be drawn in. Their embassy in London gives you two weeks.
Kelly: So what's stopping you?
Von Richter: Look, David; the Fuehrer is being very reasonable. He offers guarantees-
Kelly: Experience shows the Fuehrer's "guarantees" guarantee nothing.
Von Richter: What about Churchill? After our last appeal, what do we hear? "We will fight them on the beaches." With what?
Kelly: Winston gets carried away sometimes.
Von Richter: [Smugly] With liquid courage. That's what they tell me.
Kelly: [Coldly] Clearly, you don't know him.
Von Richter: David, we are not asking for anything. Europe is ours! We can walk into Britain whenever we like!
Kelly: If you think we're going to gamble on Herr Hitler's "guarantees", you're making a grave mistake. All those years in England seems to have left you none the wiser. We're not easily frightened. Also we know how hard it is for an army to cross the Channel. The last little Corporal who tried came a cropper. [Rising from his chair, Sir David faces Baron von Richter, visibly angry] So don't threaten or dictate to us until you're marching up Whitehall! And even then we won't listen!
[Seeing the offer he has come to make is refused, von Richter goes to leave, pausing at the door.]
Von Richter: Heil Hitler.
[As von Richter leaves the embassy, Sir David's wife enters his office with a cup of tea. He looks up at her, sitting behind his desk.]
Kelly: It's unforgivable. I lost my temper. [Stirs his tea absentmindedly] And the maddening thing is that he's right. We're on our own. We've been playing for time. And it's running out!

[A RAF ground-crew sergeant approaches Simon as he climbs out of his Spitfire; Simon forgot to drop his landing gear when he first came in to land]
RAF Sergeant: Undercarriage lever a bit sticky, was it, sir?
Simon: [relieved] Well, yes, as a matter of fact, it was!
RAF Sergeant: Well, I wouldn't tell the CO that, sir. Not if I were you.
[Simon heads for the squadron headquarters office, passing Pilot Sergeant Andy and Pilot Officer Archie, who are sitting outside.]
Andy: You can teach...
Andy and Archie: Monkeys to fly better than that!

[Air Chief Marshall Sir Hugh Dowding is meeting with a senior civil servant who is involved with the planning of Britain's defense against the coming German air campaign.]
Senior civil servant: Damn it, man, we've got 650 planes!
Air Chief Marshall Sir Hugh Dowding: And they have... 2,500 aircraft, haven't they?
Senior civil servant: But, they've got to cross the Channel first! And we have radar! Churchill puts great faith in radar.
Dowding: It's vital, but it won't shoot down aircraft.
Senior civil servant: [Mildly annoyed] Well, I must say, you don't exactly exude a spirit of optimism.
Dowding: God willing we will hold out, Minister.
Senior civil servant: I see. So I'm to tell the cabinet, that you're trusting in radar and praying to God, is that right?
Dowding: [chuckles] More accurately the other way round. Trusting in God and praying for radar. But the essential arithmetic is that our young men will have to shoot down their young men at the rate of four to one, if we're to keep pace at all.

[A group of German bomber crewmen taken as prisoners have been brought to a bombed airfield]
Squadron Leader Skipper: Where are you taking those vultures?
RAF NCO: Officers to the mess, NCOs to the guard room, sir.
Squadron Leader Skipper: Like hell you are. They're responsible for all that [turning and gesturing to the ruined field], get 'em to clear it up!
RAF NCO: But, what about the officers, sir?
Squadron Leader Skipper: Give 'em a bloody shovel!

[A group of boys wading on the Thames River are watching a formation of German Heinkel bombers approach London]
Boy 1: Messerschmitts!
Boy 2: 'Einkels!
Boy 1: Messerschmitts!
Boy 2: No they ain't, they're 'Einkels!

[Reichsmarschall Goering hears out his senior officers on the current progress of the air campaign, but dismisses the effectiveness of sending fighters ahead to thin out the British aircraft screen ahead of the bomber force]
Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering: From now on, the fighters shall stay with the bombers.
Luftwaffe officer: And lose the advantage of speed and surprise?
Goering: You will obey orders! The invasion cannot begin until we have cleared the skies. [walks off but turns around] Come, my friends - I have chastised you enough. I am here to help. Anything you need? Föehn? [Major Föehn stands at attention] Falke?
Major Falke: [snaps at attention] Yes, Herr Reichsmarschall. Give me a squadron of Spitfires. [Goering is suddenly embarrassed at hearing the remark and walks away]

[A fighter pilot from the RAF's Polish squadron is shot down while his squadron is intercepting a German bomber formation with fighter escort. His parachute descends, landing in an English farmer's field. The pilot greets the farmer, speaking in heavily-accented English that makes him sound like a German.]
Polish RAF Pilot: Goot- af-ter-noon.
[The farmer stares at the pilot for a moment, then raises his pitchfork.]
Farmer: "Good afternoon" my arse, you Boche bastard. [Gesturing with his pitchfork[ Come on, put your hands up.
Polish RAF Pilot: [Confused] Why?
Farmer: [Gesturing again] Come on, put 'em up!
Polish RAF Pilot: I'm a Polish pilot, I'm fighting on your side!
Farmer: Cor blimey- get 'em up! Let's go!
[The Polish RAF pilot gives up and raises his hands; scowling, the farmer takes him prisoner and marches him across the field, keeping his pitchfork raised.]




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