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The Dam Busters

As a record of a British operational triumph during the last war, The Dam Busters [adapted from Paul Brickhill's Enemy Coast Ahead] is a small slice of history, told with painstaking attention to detail and overflowing with the British quality of understatement.

As a record of a British operational triumph during the last war, The Dam Busters [adapted from Paul Brickhill’s Enemy Coast Ahead] is a small slice of history, told with painstaking attention to detail and overflowing with the British quality of understatement.

This is the story of the successful raid on the Ruhr dams, when a small fleet of British bombers, using a new type of explosive, successfully breached the water supplies, which fed the Ruhr factories and caused desolation and havoc to the German war machine.

For more than 90 minutes, the film is devoted to the planning and preparation, and very absorbing material this proves to be. The reconstruction of the raid and the pounding of the dams is done with graphic realism. The aerial photography is one of the major technical credits.

The production is a personal triumph for Michael Anderson. Michael Redgrave, particularly, gives a vividly human portrayal of Dr Barnes Wallis the scientist while Richard Todd makes a distinguished showing as Guy Gibson the RAF commander.

1955: Nomination: Best Special Effects

The Dam Busters

UK

  • Production: Associated British. Director Michael Anderson; Producer Robert Clark, W.A. Whitaker; Screenplay R.C. Sherriff; Camera Erwin Hillier; Editor Richard Best; Music Eric Coates, Leighton Lucas; Art Director Robert Jones
  • Crew: (B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1955. Running time: 125 MIN.
  • With: Richard Todd Michael Redgrave Ursula Jeans Derek Farr Patrick Barr John Fraser
  • Music By: