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Breaking the Sound Barrier (1952)
"The Sound Barrier" (original title)

 -  Drama | Romance | War  -  21 December 1952 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 856 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 10 critic

Fictionalized story of British aerospace engineers solving the problem of supersonic flight.

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Title: Breaking the Sound Barrier (1952)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
John Ridgefield
Ann Todd ...
Susan Garthwaite
Nigel Patrick ...
Tony Garthwaite
John Justin ...
Philip Peel
...
Jess Peel
Joseph Tomelty ...
Will Sparks
...
Christopher Ridgefield
Jack Allen ...
Windy Williams
Ralph Michael ...
Fletcher
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Storyline

Tony successful fighter pilot during World War II marries into the family of a wealthy oil magnate who also designs airplanes. The movie traces the company's attempt to break the sound barrier, as well as tensions between father and daughter. Lots of footage of early 50s jet aviation in Great Britain as well as shots of the Comet airliner, world's first jet passenger plane. Written by Henry Brugsch <henry@g0gku.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Jet Packed Showmanship See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 December 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Breaking Through the Sound Barrier  »

Box Office

Budget:

£250,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

With this film, Ralph Richardson became the first actor to win the New York Film Critics Award for Best Actor who didn't also go on to win an Oscar nomination. See more »

Goofs

When Sue tells her husband she is pregnant, she tells him the baby is due around Christmas. But when the child is born, the weather is warm and sunny, suggesting the child is anything but a December baby. See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, immediately after the human actors, are listed four British aircraft: The de Havilland Comet, the Vickers-Supermarine Attacker, the de Havilland Vampire, and the Vickers-Supermarine Swift. See more »


Soundtracks

With Sword and Lance
(uncredited)
Music by Hermann Starke
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User Reviews

 
Fast-moving, impressive film has an almost documentary approach...
7 May 2010 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

BREAKING THE SOUND BARRIER is the U.S. title for this film which I missed seeing when originally released. It was a pleasure seeing it for the first time tonight on TCM. RALPH RICHARDSON once again plays a father who was emotionally distant from his son (DENHOLM ELLIOT) and daughter (ANN TODD) and shows more concern for the progress of scientific investigation in solving the problem of supersonic flight than the welfare of individuals who sacrifice their lives to please him. He shows more constraint here as the father than he did in THE HEIRESS a few years previous.

Under David Lean's direction, the film moves briskly through a series of events involved in breaking the sound barrier through jet propulsion at a time when the aircraft industry was making great strides after WWII.

While the characters are fictional, so are the events depicted, since a British airman was not the first to break the sound barrier--something that American pilot Chuck Yaeger was quick to point out when he was invited to attend the world premiere of the film in London. It was broken by an American pilot as early as 1947.

Tension between Richardson and his children helps make the fictional story more compelling and the acting by RALPH RICHARDSON, NIGEL PATRICK (as Ann Todd's pilot husband) and ANN TODD is excellent.

Summing up: Interesting from many viewpoints despite being a bit too talky with a good background score from Malcolm Arnold.


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