Battle of Britain

Date: 1969
Director: Guy Hamilton
Production Company: Spitfire Productions

Stars: Michael Caine, Christopher Plummer, Susannah York, Edward Fox, Kenneth More, Robert Shaw, Ian McShane, Laurence Olivier, Trevor Howard
Location(s): Cambridgeshire, France, Gipuzkoa (Spain), Kent, London

Region(s): , , ,

Storyline:

The heroic “few” save Britain from the threat of the Luftwaffe.

Additional Information:

Stills by SJ.

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If you have any information regarding this film, any of the stills, or even better, some NOW shots please contact us.


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Looks like a French chateau. The scenes set on the AEF airfield in France were shot on the south side of Duxford airfield, Cambridgeshire, looking south towards the gently rising hills in that direction. Behind the camera viewpoints were the runway, hangars and camp on the north side. The Chateau was set dressing, possibly not even a full scale facade. To get comparison shots with proper perspective would probably need access to the set area, as it's not as obvious looking across from the public access on the IWM side of the runway. Much of the southern section of the airfield, probably including the set's location, has been returned to farmland and the M11 Motorway has severed the eastern end of the runway.

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The old southern taxiway is visible as crop marks in some GoogleEarth imagery, but the abandoned runway secton looks like it was completely obliterated. Great information from Mike Tighe. Adding to this information, Mike says that the set, including 'chateau' is visible in the background of the photo at http://www.panoramio.com/photo/3773965 showing the camera ship taxying at Duxford during production. The caption probably gives more details. Looking at the full size photo, the set is definitely in the area that reverted to farmland since 1968. (Photo taken from tower, pavement joint marks are visible on Google Earth, giving an approximate line towards the set's location.)

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An airfield, maybe North Weald, Essex.

The approach to Denton, Kent.

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Now, with phone box and bus shelter intact. SJ.

The Jackdaw, Denton, Kent.

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A new garden in front to prevent Plummer parking nowadays. SJ.

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The interior of the Jackdaw. Ron Lamberton tells us that the interior shot for the "Jackdaw" pub was actually "The Hoops" pub in Bassingbourne near Royston, Hertfordshire.

Still in Denton.

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Now. SJ.

Duxford, Hertfordshire.

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Now by Paul Brennan "taken from the top of Duxford's control tower last summer during the Flying Legends airshow. The area next to the double decker bus was the location of the hangar that was blown up during the filming."

Duxford.

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William Worthington provides a shot that he took last year showing the extensive development that has taken place to what is now a branch of the Imperial War Museum. The Ministry of Defence declared the site surplus to requirements in 1969 when the film was released. (RL)

The river Thames, London. The paddlers debate whether the attackers are Messerschmitts or 'Einkels.

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Paul Brennan identifies this location as the beach behind the Metropolitan Wharf, Wapping Wall, London E1. There are steps along side the Prospect of Whitby pub that take you down on to the beach. Unfortunately the weather in London was rubbish this morning.

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London in the blitz. This is Rephidim Street at the corner of Weston Street in London SE1. Ken Hoskins tells us "As 12 year old schoolboys we were up every night watching the filming and even had a searchlight in the grounds of the flats where we lived. Every morning my brother would come home from work and talk about the mess the film company made."

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McShane leaves a church. James White advises that the Air Raid, Ambulance Bell and Church Hall bombing scenes were located in SE1 near the New Kent Road flyover and this ties in with the Rephidim Street identification.

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And another shot of the church but it gets bombed in the film so perhaps a set or a street set aside for demolition.

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Another London street. Mike Tighe says: "Scenes each side of this still, showing a bomb damaged terrace were done in Dragon Steet, just off St Georges Way, Camberwell. The area was being cleared to make way for the Gloucester Grove estate and the film company just demolished and set dressed parts of the existing terraces before the bulldozers arrived. Dragon Road on the new estate is in the approximate location, but nothing remains for comparison shots. The church hall / community centre may be elsewhere."

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A country cottage.

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This may be Huelva Beach, Spain standing in for northern France. Actually, says Bob Yareham, author or "Movies made in Spain", it is Hondarribia, Guipozcoa in Spain. (RL)

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Atop an official Whitehall building, the cabinet war rooms I reckon. Any roof-inclined civil servant able to take a "now"?

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Jonathan G took the shot in March 2017 from 55 Broadway. As he says, "similar height but a bit too far west which I think adds weight to the suggested Cabinet War rooms location". It perhaps proves the point and certainly hold good for now. (RL)

Oops that seems to be heading for Trafalgar Square.

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Oops, no got that wrong. Heading over the square into St James' Park. SJ.

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Edward Fox parachutes into this suburban house's conservatory.

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A helpful sign saying Chilham. Just outside Canterbury.

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Plummer at an airbase. Spike Howells suggests; may be Duxford airfield and not Hawkinge. And Jim Emery agrees, "The building on the right in the background looks like the officers' mess, which is regularly hired out for functions these days.

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More at Hawkinge, Kent.

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York at Hawkinge too.

The corner of Surrey Street and Strand, London WC2, has since been rebuilt.

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Sometimes Aldwych, sometimes Strand, but definitely closed. SJ.

But this is the real old Aldwych tube station on Strand, often used for filming.

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Now. SJ.

And the interior stands in for many tubes. The cream and green tiling gives it away.

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Don't they know the War is over? With thanks to David and Christian from TfL for arranging access to the station. (RL)

Possibly Huelva, Spain. But no Google matches there. Looks Cornish on second thoughts.

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Richard Doust, sent this in: Le Port Hondarribia on the northern coast of Spain, about 10 miles east of San Sebastian. Photo pulled from Panoramio, so their copyright. The fishing harbour has been extended, but round quay on the right and the two breakwaters in the background confirm the location. And another one bites the dust. Well done Richard. Bob Yareham, author or "Movies made in Spain" confirms that it is Hondarribia, Guipozcoa in Spain. (RL)

Olivier at Bentley Priory, near Stanmore. Chris McDonnell tells us: Bentley Priory is being converted to housing but the main building as seen in the film is preserved and the ground floor is becoming the Battle of Britain museum, opening in 2013.

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Peter Wilton sent us a pic of Bently Priory, Stanmore, Middlesex. It's the bit on the right which is of interest.

It is interesting to see the changes that have been made to Bentley Priory since Peter Wilson's visit in 2012 (RL)

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A good comparative shot from Phil Marshall who only found our Website 24hrs AFTER taking the shot. I am sure he would have taken a few paces left had he known. (RL)

His view of the Italian Gardens. Bentley Priory is occasionally open to the public.

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Peter Wilton also took this one.