Angels One Five (1952)

Drama, War
Jack Hawkins, Michael Denison, Andrew Osborn, Cyril Raymond
The story of a RAF fighter squadron at the height of the Battle of Britain.
  • 30 Apr 1954 Released:
  • N/A DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • Derek N. Twist (screenplay), Pelham Groom (from an Writer:
  • George More O'Ferrall Director:
  • N/A Website:

All subtitles:

Sadly no memorable quotes section.9/10
Just watched this film again, really good fun. I've recently bought a WW2 computer Flight Simulator called IL-2 and afterwards I just had to go flying and shoot down some bally Huns, Tally Ho!

Shame there are no memorable quotes listed as this film has lots. My favourite is just after the Ops bunker takes a direct hit, the roof has fallen in and there is concrete dust everywhere. People slowly start dusting themselves off, one of the WAAF's (Foster) timidly comes up to SqLdr Clinton and offers him a cup of tea.

Foster: Tea sir ? It's a bit gritty, sir...

SqLdr Clinton: (looks at the tea in amazement for 5 seconds) Foster, that's an inspiration ! Remind me to have you promoted.

B&W...RAF give Johnny Hun a jolly good spanking... :)10/10

Any film that contains such immortal lines as " They've really caught us with both pairs of trousers at the cleaners this time!" definitely deserves a 10.
Repeat viewer is captivated.8/10

I don't know why I can't stop watching this film. It certainly has its moments of high "corn," although the British have never been as dedicated to the requisite happy ending as American filmmakers, which is again the case with this one. I think it's the peek into life at an English aerodrome during World War Two that keeps me coming back again and again to view this picture. In my opinion ANGELS ONE FIVE is a kind of mini war classic.
Intriguing ground-based RAF film not quite sure of its way6/10
SERIOUS SPOILERS -- be warned!

This is a slightly off-beat Battle of Britain film: due either to deliberate decision or budgetary constraint, it focuses on those left behind on the ground when the Spitfires and Hurricanes take off -- the maintenance 'erks', the wives and sisters, the commanders and non-flying officers, and of course the 'Ops Room', with its radar plots and terse jargon. 'Angels One Five' -- friendly aircraft proceed to 15,000 feet...

This would be less disconcerting if the film were openly shot as a study of the ground crews of an aerodrome; but it's not. It has its share of airborne sequences, and like its main protagonist, T.B.Baird -- whose unfortunate initials instantly gain him the nickname of 'Septic' -- the viewer constantly assumes that the *real* action in the skies is just about to begin. Labouring under a sense of injustice with which we are by and large induced to sympathise, Baird can't wait to get out of the Ops Room and onto more active duties. But when he does seize an unauthorised chance to fly in defence of the station itself and 'bags' an enemy aircraft, he commits a potentially lethal error; there is a very effective sequence deflating his heroics when it becomes clear just what he has done.

The film often seems to work to subvert our expectations in this way, sometimes to comic and sometimes to shocking effect: when Baird finally gets into the air, all seems set for a conventional finale, with the defeat of the Luftwaffe ahead and promotion for our hero after the sad demise of his flight commander. But there is nothing so glorious in store. The same ignominious ambush that brought his leader down proves to have mortally wounded both Baird and his plane -- and the last we witness of his fate, from the Ops Room as always, is the gradually ebbing radio transmissions that mark his end. With another aircraft nursing him down and all resources at base turned to tracking his path, we automatically await a last-minute triumph over disaster... and are caught yet again off-balance.

With a record like this, the film ought to be outstandingly original in its impact: yet, somehow, it isn't. Individual scenes are noteworthy indeed, but overall it left me with a strangely unsatisfactory impression. Its only real claim to 'shape' would be as Baird's own story, but its focus is too general for that -- yet it spends too much of its time following Baird to make sense as a story of the station at RAF Neetham itself. The end result seems to be a film without a clear idea of where it's going and missing some central sense of purpose.

It's not a story of the futility of war; it's not a story of heroic sacrifice; it's not the story of one individualist coming to acknowledge the contributions of his colleagues; it's not a story of the horrors of responsibility in wartime. But while avoiding all these perhaps cliched themes, it doesn't really come up with an overarching narrative of its own. The material has potential, but somehow the outcome is less effective than it might have been.
Bandits at twelve o'clock!9/10

Typical fare for post-war British cinema-goers - stiff upper lips versus the might of the Nazi war machine.

Told over a few short weeks in 1940, the plot follows Pilot Officer 'Septic' Baird (John Gregson) as a fledgling Hurricane pilot posted to an operational squadron during the Battle of Britain. 'Septic' struggles stoically in the face of his boisterous comrades, an earnest would-be girlfriend and impossible numbers of enemy raiders. The Station Commander (Jack Hawkins) puts a human face on the RAF hierarchy, burdened by the knowledge that the fate of the nation really does depend on the skill of his young pilots. 'The few' eventually grasp victory but it doesn't come cheap.

Admittedly wooden by today's standards but, through films like this, a whole generation built up their Saturday afternoon understanding of the RAF's 'finest hour'.