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Breaking the Sound Barrier (1952)

The Sound Barrier (original title)
Fictionalized story of British aerospace engineers solving the problem of supersonic flight.



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Complete credited cast:
John Ridgefield
Susan Garthwaite
Tony Garthwaite
Philip Peel
Jess Peel
Joseph Tomelty ...
Will Sparks
Christopher Ridgefield
Jack Allen ...
'Windy' Williams
Ralph Michael ...


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


They lived and loved, like the jets they flew - fast and dangerous! See more »


Drama | Romance | War


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Release Date:

21 December 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Breaking Through the Sound Barrier  »

Box Office


£250,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The new British de Havilland Comet, the world's first jet airliner, was featured in this film. It's first appearance was when Tony and Susan land in Cairo and the BOAC Comet is behind them with registration number G-ALYR. However when they leave for London on the BOAC Comet it has the registration number G-ALZK. Also, the scene at the plant after Tony's death must have been filmed at the de Havilland plant. When Susan walks through the plant you can clearly see three Comets on the production line. See more »


John tells Tony when they are in the observatory that the Andromeda galaxy is 700,000 light years away. In fact, it is 2.54 million light years away. See more »


Tony Garthwaite: What's so ruddy peculiar about the speed of sound? We all know exactly what it is, don't we? 750 miles per hour at ground level. Now if we go slower than that we can hear ourselves going, and if we go faster we can hear ourselves coming. It's a mere matter of acoustics.
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 »


Referenced in The Bit Part (1987) See more »


Daddy Wouldn't Buy Me a Bow-Wow
Written by Joseph Tabrar
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User Reviews

A haunting memory
6 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I saw "The Sound Barrier" in 1952 and it had a great impact on this young moviegoer. The opening sequence on an abandoned air base and the theme music have stayed with me for 50 years. Apparently this film is not available in the USA at present, but I hope it will return to our shores. The technical side of the movie may be less relevant now, when men and women fly far beyond the speed of sound and far beyond the earth's atmosphere. But the story of the characters is what I remember best: the closeness of the small band of test pilots and their loved ones, how they are inspired by the promise of supersonic flight, and how they react when things go wrong.

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An American version of the sound barrier colt8
An American version of the sound barrier colt8
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