Stunt Pilots and Aerial Camera Crew for Battle of Britain


The nod for Best Movie Stunt for 1969 goes to the stunt pilots and aerial camera crew of Battle of Britain (1969) for making quite possibly the best combat aerial sequences ever put on celluloid. In order to accomplish this task, the production team put together the largest fleet of aircraft ever used for a feature film.  There were so many actual aircraft used in the flying sequences that many films since have used the stock footage from this film to complete their aerial footage.Battle_of_Britain

A B-25 Mitchell bomber, owned and piloted by Jeff Hawke and his co-pilot Duane Egli, was converted into a camera plane. Cameras were fitted into the nose, tail, dorsal and belly turrets, the nose being fitted with an optically perfect dome. The plane was painted in many bright colors so it would look different from all angles and would be easily seen by other planes. It was nicknamed the “Psychedelic Monster”. Eventually flown back to USA it sat derelict for many years in New Jersey before being restored back to flying condition in Florida. Flown in air shows for many years as “Chapter XI”, referring to the high cost of flying, but later repainted as “Lucky Lady”.BATTLE

According to the book written about the making of the movie the production crew used more ammunition (blanks of course) to film the movie – due to the fact that directors re-shoot scenes numerous times – than were actually used in the real battle.  It’s also interesting to note that during the real war, Frank Capra made a documentary on the Battle of Britain for his “Why We Fight” series.battle 2

Battle of Britain was directed by Guy Hamilton for United Artists.

Things to look up (go to IMDB page):

  • Battle of Britain
  • Guy Hamilton
  • Spitfire Productions
  • Jeff Hawke
  • Duane Egli
  • Harry Saltzman