Prepare for an uplifting voyage through “Britain’s finest hour” as Film Media presents 303 Squadron, the powerful and true story of No.303 (Polish) Fighter Squadron, the forgotten legends of the Battle of Britain and their incalculable contribution towards Britain’s World War II’ victory. 303 Squadron’s hotly anticipated UK premiere arrives in London’s IMAX theatre at The Science Museum on Thursday 8th November and in cinemas nationwide from Friday 9th November across the UK and Ireland.
Three years in the making and hot on the heels of its smash hit Box Office success in Poland, which has seen over 1.5 million cinema admissions since its September release, 303 Squadron is the authentic and historically accurate portrayal of how the Polish pilots of 303 Squadron turned the tide in the most seminal battle of World War II and paved the way to victory. Now, some 78-years on from the Battle of Britain dubbed “Britain’s finest hour”, the long-awaited release of 303 Squadron coincides poignantly with the centenary of the RAF, Polish Air Force, Polish Civil Aviation and the reclaiming of Poland’s Independence (11th November) which also marks Remembrance Sunday.
Based on the best-selling novel1 by Arkady Fiedler, 303 Squadron brings together some of the UK’s finest acting talents together with the strongest ensemble Polish cast ever seen in this extraordinary tale of gallantry, patriotism and glory. Directed by Denis Delic and produced by Film Media S.A’s Jacek Samojlowicz (The Foreigner, Out of Reach, 1939 Westerplatte), 303 Squadron is the true tale of the RAF’s hastily assembled No.303 (Polish) Fighter Squadron. Put together in the summer of 1940, as Britain faced the most concerted military threat in its history, this was a unit made up exclusively of Polish airmen. After failing to stop the Nazis overwhelm their homeland, the Polish pilots made their way across the Channel to continue their war. Initially they were underestimated and ridiculed, but as the shortage of experienced British airmen became critical and in the face of the growing Luftwaffe onslaught, they were soon corralled into frontline duty and supplied with Hurricanes. Unparalleled in their formidable combat flying skills, they quickly proved their worth in the Battle of Britain, shooting three times more Luftwaffe planes than any other allied squadron and achieving the best Kill/Loss Ratio (126:8) in the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force Fighter Command’s history.
The feature film focuses heavily on colourful pilot Jan "Donald" Zumbach (Maciej Zakościelny). Believing his beloved (Jagoda played by Polish actress Anna Prus) is missing back home in an occupied Poland, Donald embarks on a passionate love affair with Victoria Brown, played by Downton Abbey’s Cara Theobold, a pre-war actress and assistant to intelligence officer, Thomas Jones, played by Andrew Woodall (The Count of Monte Cristo, Solo: A Star Wars Story). The private lives and characters behind the legendary squadron, stationed at RAF Northolt in West End Road, Ruislip, are explored, capturing the imagination not just for their courage and prowess in the sky, but for their flamboyance and charm. Romantic and attentive, these refugees from a defeated Poland are an instant hit with the British women. Despite being grossly underestimated by dismissive senior commanders in the RAF played by John Kay Steel (Brave, Third Contact, Perfect Dark Hero) and also Kirk Bar ker (Arthur & Merlin, The Girl’s Guide to Depravity), their camaraderie and fighting spirit remains undaunted and they triumph over adversity in this ultimate feel-good film.
Producers of 303 Squadron worked meticulously to bring back to life the stories and characters from 78 years ago. Working alongside historians, the result is a true-to-life and accurate depiction of events, from historical facts to characters, costumes and production sets. HRH Prince Michael of Kent, who was also a consultant for Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, consulted on the making of 303 Squadron and invited producers and actors for a private meeting at Kensington Palace during its production.
Slick and stunning aerial dogfight scenes, created by Director of Photography, Waldemar Szmidt, Special Effects Producer, Art Borowiec and Art Fiction, ensure a palpitating, edge-of-your-seat ride, which can only be truly appreciated on the big screen.
303 Squadron stars a wealth of Polish talent which includes Maciej Zakościelny, Piotr Adamczyk, Anna Prus, Jan Wieczorkowski, Antoni Królikowski, Marcin Kwaśny and Krzysztof Kwiatkowski alongside a stellar British cast which includes Cara Theobold (Downton Abbey, Abesentia, Crazyhead), John Kay Steel (Brave, Third Contact, Perfect Dark Hero), Andrew Woodall (The Count of Monte Cristo, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Kirk Barker (Arthur & Merlin, The Girl’s Guide to Depravity) and Stephen Billington (Braveheart, Resident Evil, Coronation Street).
Director Denis Delic said: “Films offer the incredible gift of transporting us to a different time and place. 303 Squadron is a story that shows the resilience, honour, loyalty, and fighting spirit of men fighting for their patriotism. No matter how hard we try to be different and without fault, it shows we are all alike, and that humanity universally remains the same. It is a true underdog story that was begging to be told and I am overjoyed that we can finally share it with the rest of the world.”
The UK premiere in London’s IMAX 3D theatre at The London Science Museum on Thursday 8th November and will be attended by cast and crew who will participate in a Q&A following the screening.