7 Behind-The-Scene Facts About The 1969 Film “Battle Of Britain”

7 Behind-The-Scene Facts About The 1969 Film “Battle Of Britain” | World War Wings Videos

historycomestolife / YouTube

Though not well received at the time thanks to anti-war sentiments, the 1969 film Battle of Britain is still widely regarded as one of the best WWII films of all time. When you look at the care that went into the making of this film, it’s easy to see why. Check out these 7 mind-blowing facts from behind-the-scenes:

7. A former Luftwaffe ace became the film’s Technical Advisor

Adolf Galland (left) on an airfield in Southern Italy. | Bundesarchiv, Bild / Public Domain

In 1941, Adolf Galland of Germany became the youngest General of Flyers at just 29. He was a top ace with 104 kills and a reputation for bravery. Apparently, he was often at odd with Goring about how to handle air combat.

Having himself fought in the Battle of Britain, he was hired as the film adaptation’s technical advisor. Galland insisted on rewrites whenever he found Germans were being wrongly or stereotypically portrayed by the writers.

6. More ammunition was used in the film than in the actual battle

A Battle of Britain Air Observer. Unknown / Public Domain

The ammunition used were blanks of course, but due to the nature of filmmaking and the amount of times scenes were reshot (literally), the actual battle used considerably less.

5. Squadron Leader Evans was played by a real badass

Film scene: Upside down in a burning cockpit. | historycomestolife / YouTube

His burned face wasn’t just for the character. W. G. Foxley, who played Squadron Leader Evans, had been an RAF navigator. He was badly injured attempting to rescue a crew member when his bomber crashed in 1944, leaving him with several missing fingers, one eye, and many scars.

4. They did too good of a job painting the aircraft authentically

No CGI found here. | BossHossGT500 / YouTube

Sometimes authentic just doesn’t work in the film industry. The planes were so accurately painted that camouflage couldn’t be seen against the ground or sky. To compensate, they tried to film with clouds in the background.

3. Many of the extras had been actual victims of the Blitz

A building is on fire after a Blitz attack. | National Archives and Records Administration / Public Domain

Not only had many of the extras actually been through bombings, but some had to pull out of filming because of the traumatic memories.

2. Duxford Airfield destroyed one of its hangars for the film…twice

Duxford Airfield from the air. | Unknown / Public Domain

Today Duxford Airfield is a famous museum, but during the making of the movie, they agreed to let one of their decaying hangars be destroyed.

It didn’t blow on the first go, however. The special effects crew actually underestimated the amount of explosives. Luckily, they managed it on the second take.

1. 1969’s Battle of Britain’s aircraft collection created the 35th largest air force in the world

Behind the scenes of production. | Martin Pengelly / YouTube

This included:

  • 27 Spitfires (12 airworthy)
  • 6 Hurricanes ( 3 airworthy)
  • about 50 The Messerschmitt Bf 109s retired from the Spanish Air Force (17 airworthy) – These were actually all purchased by the production company
  • 32 Heinkels – The Heinkels and their crews were on loan from the Spanish Air Force – 2 were bought by production
  • 2 Junkers 52 on loan from the Spanish Air Force

Don’t Miss Out! Sign up for the Latest Updates