Original Vintage Movie Posters - SimonDwyer.Com

Battle of Britain

2020 marks the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain which took place between July and October 1940. The 15 September 1940 was officially named Battle of Britain day.

To remember this period in recent history, we are showcasing a small number of posters this month, most of them actually printed during the war years.

Spitfires and Hurricanes are two of the most famous icons of this period and appear in propaganda posters of the day as well as the biopic classic, First of the Few, renamed Spitfire for the US release in 1942. A more modern film classic, Battle of Britain, features Michael Caine and Trevor Howard in action in the skies above Britain.

But there are also posters with lesser recognised aspects of the conflict. Wings and the Woman, 1942, follows the work of the women pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary who ferried RAF planes all over the country and were a critical part of the war effort. We have posters featuring the extraordinary contribution of the refugee Polish fighter pilots whose skill and bravery was legendary. And we have wartime propaganda posters for the British public, asking them to 'Dig a Victory Garden', 'Make do and Mend' or, most famously from 1939, just 'Keep Calm and Carry on'.

This Month's Showcase

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Battle of Britain Original Vintage Movie Poster  
Title Year Nominal size Condition Price
Battle of Britain 1969 UK quad - 40"x30" Fine/Near Mint on linen £625
Notes: Starring Michael Caine, Battle of Britain is probably best remembered for having some of the best aerial fight sequences ever filmed. They were even filmed using the correct machinery - Spitfires and Hurricanes that were owned by the RAF and Messerschmitts and Heinkels owned by the Spanish air force. This is a rare country-of-origin poster from the first UK release in 1969, linen backed in superb condition.
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Dam Busters Original Vintage Movie Poster  
Title Year Nominal size Condition Price
Dam Busters 1955 UK quad - 40"x30" Very Good/Fine on linen £345
Notes: Country-of-origin UK quad for this very British tale of heroism and ingenuity in the allied efforts to destroy the german dams in WW2. This is from the 1960's re-release featuring a duotone version of the original full colour artwork from the 1955 first release (these now fetch £8,000+). linen backed in excellent condition with light overall wear.
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Dam Busters Original Vintage Movie Poster  
Title Year Nominal size Condition Price
Dam Busters 1955 UK quad - 40"x30" Fine £8,995
Notes: One of the rarest and most sought after posters from any of the leading war films, the first release UK quad for the Dam Busters has reached almost mythical status. This is a country-of-origin UK quad for this very British tale of heroism and ingenuity in the allied efforts to destroy the German dams in WW2. This is folded in excellent condition with minor archival tape repairs to the crossfolds.
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Dam Busters Original Vintage Movie Poster  
Title Year Nominal size Condition Price
Dam Busters 1955 US 3 sht - 41" X 81" Fine on linen £445
Notes: The Dam Busters is the story of the "bombs that had to bounce" - and the air-devils who had to drop 'em! Amazing men, amazing machines An amazing film and the ultimate soundtrack. This poster is from the film's first release, linen backed in excellent condition.
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Dover Patrol (Ltd edition Spitfire print) Original Vintage Movie Poster  
Title Year Nominal size Condition Price
Dover Patrol (Ltd edition Spitfire print) 2000's 25" X 18" Near Mint/Mint £65
Notes: Limited edition print (#709/850) by John Young, signed in pencil by the artist. Rolled in superb condition.
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Propaganda - Back them up! Hurricane Original Vintage Movie Poster  
Title Year Nominal size Condition Price
Propaganda - Back them up! Hurricane 1942 UK DC - 20" x 30" Fine £525
Notes: Ron Jobson artwork on this 1942 poster showing RAF Hurricanes co-operating with the Russian air force. Lightly folded in excellent condition with some yellowing of the paper with age and archival tape reinforcement on the back.
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Propaganda - Back Them Up! Lancasters Original Vintage Movie Poster  
Title Year Nominal size Condition Price
Propaganda - Back Them Up! Lancasters 1942 UK DC - 20" x 30" Fine £595
Notes: The Back Them Up! campaign that ran in Britain during the darkest days of WW2 covered all areas of the armed forces, including infantry, tanks, navy and the air force but it's the air force posters that are by far the most sought after now. This one shows Lancasters bombing a German industrial target, folded in excellent condition.
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Propaganda - Back Them Up! Spitfire Original Vintage Movie Poster  
Title Year Nominal size Condition Price
Propaganda - Back Them Up! Spitfire 1942 UK DC - 20" x 30" Fine £1,295
Notes: With artwork by Frank Wootton, this 1942 image of a spitfire is the most sought after image of the 'Back Them Up!' poster campaign that ran in Britain through the war years of the 1940's. This example has been adapted to highlight the North African campaign in Libya. Folded in superb original condition.
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Propaganda - Keep Calm and Carry On Original Vintage Movie Poster  
Title Year Nominal size Condition Price
Propaganda - Keep Calm and Carry On 1939 UK DC - 20" x 30" Near Mint £7,995
Notes: This is a very rare and important piece of British history, printed in 1939 when the threat of invasion by the all conquering Nazis was a very real possibility. This design was printed in secret and intended for distribution only if the Germans landed on British soil. Thankfully this never happened and, like all paper in the 1940's, stocks were taken from storage, pulped and recycled in the austerity years after the war. It was almost completely forgotten until one was rediscovered in 2000 by the owner of a bookshop, whereupon the design became the centre of a worldwide marketing phenomenon, appearing on everything from mugs to T-shirts. There were believed to be only two survivors until a stash of fifteen appeared on the BBC Antiques Roadshow in 2012 and six more appeared from another significant estate find of a hoard of wartime posters in 2014. They remain incredibly rare with under forty known examples in the world. Undoubtedly the most poignant of any wartime poster in British history, it has recently also become one of the most iconic motivational themes of all time and is consequently increasingly sought after. Rolled in superb condition.
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Propaganda - Plant a Victory Garden Original Vintage Movie Poster  
Title Year Nominal size Condition Price
Propaganda - Plant a Victory Garden 1943 US - 22" x 28" Fine on linen £295
Notes: Victory Gardens were a huge success in the US with over 20 million households planting vegetables and fruit at home to help boost food production during the war. This poster was produced during 1943 to publicise the initiative. It has been linen backed with the main artwork in excellent shape. There is staining around the border where it was taped up for display but this does not distract from the overall presentation.
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Propaganda - Poland First to Fight Original Vintage Movie Poster  
Title Year Nominal size Condition Price
Propaganda - Poland First to Fight 1940's 12" x 16" Fine/Near Mint £195
Notes: One of a series of posters produced in Britain during the war years that highlighted the contribution and the sacrifices made by the Polish community. This one focuses on the Polish spitfire pilots whose extraordinary bravery and skill made them legends. Lightly folded in superb condition.
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Propaganda - Use it up - wear it out - make it do Original Vintage Movie Poster  
Title Year Nominal size Condition Price
Propaganda - Use it up - wear it out - make it do 1943 22" x 28" Fine on linen £295
Notes: Wonderful British WW2 propaganda poster in excellent condition. Dating from 1943, this original wartime poster urged the British population to be thrifty with scarce resources. Superb condition on linen.
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Propaganda - Wings for Victory Original Vintage Movie Poster  
Title Year Nominal size Condition Price
Propaganda - Wings for Victory 1943 UK DC - 20" x 30" Near Mint £695
Notes: Superb Frank Wootton artwork of RAF Lancasters features on this official wartime propaganda poster from HMSO. Dating from 1943, this is in exceptional folded condition and is a very rare survivor from the height of WW2.
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Reach for the Sky Original Vintage Movie Poster  
Title Year Nominal size Condition Price
Reach for the Sky 1957 Belgian - 14"x22" Near Mint £65
Notes: The true story of airman Douglas Bader who overcame the loss of both legs in a 1931 flying accident to become a successful fighter pilot and wing leader during World War II. This poster is from the film's first release, folded as originally issued. This is from the first release in Belgium, rolled as issued.
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Reach for the Sky Original Vintage Movie Poster  
Title Year Nominal size Condition Price
Reach for the Sky 1957 US 1 sht - 27"x41" Fine/Near Mint on linen £565
Notes: The true story of British airman Douglas Bader who overcame the loss of both legs in a 1931 flying accident to become a successful RAF fighter pilot and wing leader during World War II. This poster is from the film's first release with superb artwork by Nistri, linen backed in excellent condition.
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Spitfire (The First of the Few) Original Vintage Movie Poster  
Title Year Nominal size Condition Price
Spitfire (The First of the Few) 1942 US 1 sht - 27"x41" Fine on linen £3,995
Notes: In part, the story of how the most famous plane in the world was designed and partly a morale boosting film for the British public during the dark days of the war, this is one of the most important films of the conflict. Made during WWII, this 1942 British made movie was called The First of the Few in the UK and Spitfire in the USA. By the late 1920's aircraft designer R.J. Mitchell feels he has achieved all he wants with his revolutionary mono-planes winning trophy after trophy. But a holiday in Germany shortly after Hitler assumes power convinces him that it is vital to design a completely new type of fighter plane and that sooner or later Britain's very survival may depend on what he comes to call the Spitfire. Leslie Howard and David Niven are superb in this defining piece of history. This poster is from the film's first release, linen backed in superb condition with airbrushing to borders.
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Spitfire (The First of the Few) Original Vintage Movie Poster  
Title Year Nominal size Condition Price
Spitfire (The First of the Few) 1942 US 1/2 sht - 28"X22" Fine on linen £725
Notes: In part, the story of how the most famous plane in the world was designed and partly a morale boosting film for the British public during the dark days of the war, this is one of the most important films of the conflict. Made during WWII, this 1942 British made movie was called The First of the Few in the UK and Spitfire in the USA. By the late 1920's aircraft designer R.J. Mitchell feels he has achieved all he wants with his revolutionary mono-planes winning trophy after trophy. But a holiday in Germany shortly after Hitler assumes power convinces him that it is vital to design a completely new type of fighter plane and that sooner or later Britain's very survival may depend on what he comes to call the Spitfire. Leslie Howard and David Niven are superb in this defining piece of history. This poster is from the film's first release, Linen backed with minor retouching.
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Spitfire (The First of the Few) Original Vintage Movie Poster  
Title Year Nominal size Condition Price
Spitfire (The First of the Few) 1942 US insert - 14"X36" Very Good/Fine on linen £525
Notes: In part, the story of how the most famous plane in the world was designed and partly a morale boosting film for the British public during the dark days of the war, this is one of the most important films of the conflict. Made during WWII, this 1942 British made movie was called The First of the Few in the UK and Spitfire in the USA. By the late 1920's aircraft designer R.J. Mitchell feels he has achieved all he wants with his revolutionary mono-planes winning trophy after trophy. But a holiday in Germany shortly after Hitler assumes power convinces him that it is vital to design a completely new type of fighter plane and that sooner or later Britain's very survival may depend on what he comes to call the Spitfire. Leslie Howard and David Niven are superb in this defining piece of history. This poster is from the film's first release, linen backed with retouching to borders.
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story of one fighter / Historia Jednego Mysliwca Original Vintage Movie Poster  
Title Year Nominal size Condition Price
story of one fighter / Historia Jednego Mysliwca 1958 Polish - 22" x 33" Near Mint £695
Notes: Polish produced account of the role played by polish Spitfire pilots in the second world war. The poster has stunning artwork by Swierzy and is rolled in superb condition.
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Target for tonight Original Vintage Movie Poster  
Title Year Nominal size Condition Price
Target for tonight 1941 US 1 sht - 27"x41" Fine on linen £395
Notes: Wartime propaganda documentary featuring real life footage of The RAF planning and implementing a night raid on Germany in World War II, concentrating on a low level mission by a Wellington bomber on an oil storage facility by the Rhine. First release from 1941, linen backed with retouching to folds and borders.
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Wings and the Woman Original Vintage Movie Poster  
Title Year Nominal size Condition Price
Wings and the Woman 1942 US 1 sht - 27"x41" Fine on linen £395
Notes: Released in 1942, this was a morale boosting and, in many ways feminist, film for the wartime British public. The story of flyer Amy Johnson who won the hearts of the British public in the 1930s with her record-breaking solo flights around the world. Amy died in active service in 1941 ferrying an aircraft with the Air Transport Auxiliary. This poster is from the film's first release, linen backed with retouching to folds.
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