Third Reich-era classic. Young, vigor and aggressive German pilots battle their French arch-enemy during the Nazi campaign in the West, May-June 1940. Real aerial footage; close-ups on J-87 and other German hardware of the period; life cycle of a Stuka pilot on the frontlines; “Death for the Fatherland is so sweet” motto; French tanker from hell trying to humiliate captured pilots, and other assorted propaganda perks; Carl Raddatz as an archetypical Luftwaffe officer, role model for J-87 aces like Ulrich Rudel and others.
Goebbels noted in his diary after the "Stukas" preview: "New Ritter film, 'Stukas.' Quite good, with some wonderful air footage, but a typical Ritter production. He cannot lead people. Rather too noisy."
Howard K. Smith in "Last Train From Berlin" remarked sarcastically: "It was a monotonous film about a bunch of obstreperous adolescents who dived bombed things and people. The bombed anything and anybody. That's all the film was - just one bombing after another. Finally the hero got bored with bombing and lost interest in life - so they took him off to the Bayreuth music festival where he listened to a few lines of Wagner's music; his soul began to breathe again, he got visions of the Fuhrer and of guns blazing away, so he impolitely left right in the middle of the first act and dashed back and started bombing things again with the old gusto."
Length: 1 hour 31 min. German, occasional Czech subtitles.
Director: Karl Ritter
Writers: Felix Lutzkendorf, Karl Ritter
Theatrical release: June 27, 1941 (Germany)
Cast: Carl Raddatz - Hauptmann Heinz Bork; Hannes Stelzer - Oberleutnant Hans Wilde; Ernst von Klipstein - Oberleutnant "Patzer" von Bomberg; Albert Hehn - Oberleutnant Hesse; Herbert Wilk - Oberleutnant Günter Schwarz; O.E. Hasse - Oberarzt Dr. Gregorius; Karl John - Oberleutnant Lothar Loos; Else Knott - Krankenschwester Ursula; Marina von Ditmar - Junge Französin; Egon Müller-Franken - Oberleutnant Jordan; Guenther Markert - Oberleutnant Hellmers; Josef Dahmen - Feldwebel Traugott; Erich Stelmecke - Feldwebel Rochus.
Producer: Karl Ritter
Original Music: Herbert Windt
Cinematography: Walter Meyer, Heinz Ritter, Walter Roßkopf, Hugo von Kaweczynski
Editing: Conrad von Molo
Production Design: Anton Weber
Costume Design: Carl Heinz Grohnwald
Production Management: Wilhelm Karras - unit manager, Gustav Rathje - production manager, Fritz Schwarz - unit manager, Arthur Ullmann - unit manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director: Carl Merznicht - trainee assistant director, Conrad von Molo - assistant director
Sound: Werner Maas
Special Effects: Gerhard Huttula, Theo Nischwitz