15 September marks the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain
This year sees the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain which took place between July and October 1940. To mark the occasion, film experts from MetFilm School, based at the world-famous Ealing Studios, which top Battle of Britain films they would recommend to entertain and enlighten us in the run-up to the commemoration on 15th September.
“I think the national celebration for the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain is going to be a little subdued due to Coronavirus restrictions.
“But, with the ability to watch almost any film we want to see these days online, or via streaming services, we thought we’d share what we consider the best Battle of Britain inspired films to watch while staying home.
“It was a tricky job. Narrowing the selection down to just 10 (plus one recent noteworthy film, Lancaster Skies by our graduate Callum Burn) was really difficult, but I think we’ve come up with a decent offering.
“Our top picks include British classics, box office hits, Hollywood musicals, non-traditional choices and… one from the Czech point of view.”
1. Battle of Britain (1969) – probably the most famous one with a barrel load of famous names including Sir Laurence Olivier, Michael Caine, Christopher Plummer and a young Ian McShane. IDMB info
2. Dark Blue World – 2001 Told from the perspective of Czech pilots who fought for the RAF during the war. Foreign language filmstarring Tara Fitzgerald and Charles Dance IDMB info
3. The First of the Few (Spitfire) 1942 – stars David Niven and Leslie Howard who plays the inventor of the Spitfire. In 1943, just two days before the US release of the film Howard died when his civilian aircraft was shot down by the Luftwaffe. IDMB Info
4. Hope and Glory – 1987 – Directed by John Boorman and based on his own experiences of growing up in the Blitz. It’s the story of Bill, a young boy living in London as he experiences the exhilaration of World War II. During this time Bill learns about sex, death, love, hypocrisy, and the faults of adults as he prowls the ruins of bombed houses. IDMB Info
5. Bedknobs and Broomsticks 1971 – one for the whole family and not really about the Battle of Britain but rather what happens to some evacuees when they leave London due to the Blitz.
An apprentice witch, three children and a cynical magician conman search for the missing component to a magic spell to be used in the defence of Britain in World War II. Starring Angela Lansbury, David Tomlinson and Roddy McDowell. IDMB Info
6. Mrs Miniver – Made in 1942 and won 6 Oscars including Best Picture, it tells the story of a family through the early part of the war. IDMB Info
7. The One That Got Away – True story about a German pilot shot down in 1940 who became the only Axis POW to escape during the war. IDMB Info
8. Reach For The Sky – classic British war film about Douglas Bader who lost both his legs in a flying accident but went on to be a pilot in the Battle of Britain, got shot down in 1941 and then escaped from a POW camp before finally ending up in Colditz. IDMB Info
9. Their Finest – not specifically about the Battle of Britain but set during it, the film sees Gemma Arterton join the Ministry of Information in order to create a moral boosting film about Dunkirk. IDMB Info
10. Tonight & Every Night – 1945 musical film starring Rita Hayworth set during the Battle of Britain and the Blitz about a Theatre that refuses to miss a single performance. IDMB Info
11. Lancaster Skies – 2019 This noteworthy feature film was made by MetFilm School graduate, Liam Burn. It tells the story of Douglas, a broken, solitary, Spitfire Ace who must overcome his past to lead a Lancaster bomber crew in the pivotal aerial war over Berlin, in 1944. IDMB info