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The Dam Busters (1955)

Approved | | Drama, History, War | 16 July 1955 (USA)
2:42 | Trailer

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The story of how the British attacked German dams in WWII by using an ingenious technique to drop bombs where they would be most effective.



(book), (based on Wing Comdr. Gibson's own account in "Enemy Coast Ahead") (as Wing Comdr. Gibson) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mrs. Wallis
Stanley Van Beers ...
Sir David Pye, C.B., F.R.S.
Doctor W. H. Glanville, C.B., C.B.E.
Frederick Leister ...
Committee Member
Eric Messiter ...
Committee Member
Laidman Browne ...
Committee Member
Official, National Physical Laboratory
Hugh Manning ...


The British are desperate to shorten the length of WW2 and propose a daring raid to smash Germany's industrial heart. At first the objective looks impossible until a British scientist invents an ingenious weapon capable of destroying the planned target. Written by Dave Jenkins <david.jenkins@smallworld.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The dramatic true-life story of the men who broke the Nazis' back! See more »


Drama | History | War


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 July 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Dambusters  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is one of the films that George Lucas used clips from to edit the rough cut of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) (which utilizes many features of the finale of this film quite closely, notably the briefing, the ground staff waiting for news, the troika formation of the attacking aircraft and so on). In Addition, the following exchange from this film is reproduced almost verbatim (with the exception of the characters' names) in "Star Wars": Gibson: "How many guns d'you think there are, Trevor?" Trevor: "I'd say there's about 10 guns - some in the field and some in the tower". See more »


The Lancaster shown flying over the Derwent Reservoir is not a Dam Busters aircraft, in that it has bomb-bay doors and a mid-upper turret, both missing from the AVRO Lancaster Mk.IIIs Type 464 (Provisioning) aircraft used in Operation Chastise. See more »


Capt. Joseph Summers, CBE: How'd you get on?
Doctor B. N. Wallis, C.B.E., F.R.S.: It's hopeless.
Capt. Joseph Summers, CBE: What happened?
Doctor B. N. Wallis, C.B.E., F.R.S.: Nothing. I walked up and down Whitehall. In and out of offices. Up and down stairs. Sat outside rooms. I felt like a peddlar trying to sell clockwork toys.
Capt. Joseph Summers, CBE: I wish there was something I could do.
Doctor B. N. Wallis, C.B.E., F.R.S.: There is, Mutt.
Capt. Joseph Summers, CBE: What?
Doctor B. N. Wallis, C.B.E., F.R.S.: Let's take the whole thing straight to Bomber Command.
Capt. Joseph Summers, CBE: Harris?
Doctor B. N. Wallis, C.B.E., F.R.S.: Yes! You're one of the few men that really know him. If he sees the films and gets interested... Well, it'll only need one word from him.
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Referenced in The 100 Greatest War Films (2005) See more »


The Dam Busters
by Eric Coates
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Don't forget Star Wars!
7 February 2004 | by See all my reviews

I plowed through the most recent 5 user reviews of this movie, burrowing past the recitations of historical minutiae and the quibbles about its 50 year old (un)special effects, and thought to myself that everyone missed the point.

Yes, the effects are crude -- the film was made in 19-fricking-54, people! Yes, it gets some of the historical details wrong -- it's entertainment, people! The real point is that it's a fantastic yarn, told with great skill and excitement. When I first saw it (as a teen, before Star Wars) I was glued to the screen. I still am today. And evidently, I'm not alone because in 1977 a certain geeky film maker from Northern California stole a large portion of Dam Busters, mixed in a heapin' helpin' of Hidden Fortress, and peppered it all with a dash of Laurel & Hardy & Flash Gordon, calling it Star Wars.

So I'm giving props where props are due. Don't miss this classic.

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