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Customer Review

80 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great film restored to it's full glory (Special Edition), 24 May 2004
This review is from: The Battle Of Britain (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD] (DVD)
I have always been a fan of this film and have been impatiently waiting for a DVD release for some time. When I found out that MGM were releasing this film on DVD, I was delighted followed by some irritation when I found out the RRP (£19.99), as the film was out in the US for $8. Yet another special edition second disc of bits and pieces with a hiked up price tag.
I hereby apologise to MGM for such unkind thoughts, because this edition is superb. The US version is in mono, where this release has 5.1 & DTS (it is excellent) and for fans of William Walton (they only used about 5 minutes of his score in the original film, Ron Goodwin supplying the rest), the soundtrack with the full Walton score as an alternative. The picture has also been restored and has a full anamorphic 2.35:1 picture.
It is a well worn cliché, but in summer 1940, Britain stood alone, facing the might of the Luftwaffe and the German army which had swept all aside. The Battle of Britain is one of the pivotal moments in the history of this country, and I believe that this film does it justice. The cast are excellent but particularly Laurence Olivier as Hugh Dowding and Robert Shaw as Squadron Leader Skipper. The film has been well researched and manages to weave all aspects of the battle into the film.
Some of the special effects are a little bit dated, but this was made 35 years ago, and they do not detract from the story. But what makes this film convincing are the real aircraft used to make it. Various reports suggest that when assembled, the aircraft were anywhere between the 11th and 35th biggest air force in the world. The aerial battles are just excellent, and the shots of bombers and fighters in formation over the real life locations in 1940, give a powerful sense of authenticity. When I think about scenes like the flight of Me109’s breaking to attack a flight of Spitfires, and compare it to the awful unrealistic Battle of Britain CGI scenes used in Pearl Harbour (which was an awful film in itself), I cannot help but think that this film is something special. I have read reviews from some “rivet counters” who state that the German Bombers are not authentic. This is true as the aircraft were built by CASA in Spain for the Spanish Air Force after the war, but you do not notice.
I cannot recommend this film enough and at last the DVD version lets us see it in all its glory.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 May 2010 17:07:31 BDT
Remember watching this at the age of 8 in the now defunct Penn Cinema, Wolverhampton. It is still an incredible film 40 years on. Think the film studio etc did an incredible job getting the ex Spanish Bf109's and Heinkel He-111's together creating some of the most realistic battle scenes ever. Unless somebody wants to put the German aircraft back into production, those used are as close to reality as they'll ever get.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Jul 2010 09:28:11 BDT
I couldn't agree more. The main problem with the film is the lack of other types of German aircraft such as the Me110, Ju88 and Do17, all of which were used in large numbers over Britain. The Stuka Ju87 gets a mention and the model work (for the time) is brilliant. Also there are Hurricanes and Spitfires (naturally) but not even a mention of the Defiant, Gladiator or Blenheim night fighter aircraft which also defended our island but are now mainly forgotten.
However, these are minor niggles in an otherwise excellent film and, in my opinion, one impossible to make today using computers rather than real aircraft.
One point not mentioned (and nothing to do with the film as such) is that political tension between Spain and the UK was at a high point (over the Gibraltar question) and a film company borrowed half the Spanish air force (the He111 and Me109s were Spanish front line aircraft at the time)!

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Aug 2010 18:49:04 BDT
Yes, the Gladiator was in service with 247 Squadron, but it was obsolete even then and its rôle in the battle of Britain was negligible.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Mar 2011 01:31:30 GMT
Bedinog says:
Obviously the big problem here was the lack of any airworthy examples of the other aircraft mentioned by Greg Heathcliffe, and I suspect budget constraints would prevent even prop replicas being built.
As you say, Greg, only niggles.
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Location: Stirling, United Kingdom

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