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The Dam Busters
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The Dam Busters (1955) More at IMDbPro »

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The Dam Busters -- True story of how the British attacked German dams in WW2 by using an ingenious technique to drop bombs where they would be most effective.

Overview

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7.4/10   6,680 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Paul Brickhill (book)
Guy Gibson (based on Wing Comdr. Gibson's own account in "Enemy Coast Ahead")
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Dam Busters on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
16 July 1955 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
The dramatic true-life story of the men who broke the Nazis' back! See more »
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
One of the great British war movies See more (89 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Michael Redgrave ... Doctor B. N. Wallis, C.B.E., F.R.S.

Ursula Jeans ... Mrs. Wallis
Charles Carson ... Doctor
Stanley Van Beers ... Sir David Pye, C.B., F.R.S.
Colin Tapley ... Doctor W. H. Glanville, C.B., C.B.E.
Frederick Leister ... Committee Member
Eric Messiter ... Committee Member
Laidman Browne ... Committee Member
Raymond Huntley ... Official, National Physical Laboratory
Hugh Manning ... Official, Ministry of Aircraft Production
Patrick Barr ... Captain Joseph (Mutt) Summers, C.B.E.
Edwin Styles ... Observer At Trials
Hugh Moxey ... Observer At Trials
Anthony Shaw ... R.A.F. Officer At Trials
Basil Sydney ... Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris (now Marshal of the Royal Air Force) G.C.B., O.B.E., A.F.C.
Ernest Clark ... Air Vice-Marshal The Hon. Ralph Cochrane (now Air Chief Marshal) G.B.E., K.C.B., A.F.C.
Derek Farr ... Group Captain J. N. H. Whitworth, D.S.O., D.F.C.
Laurence Naismith ... Farmer
Harold Siddons ... Group Signals Officer
Frank Phillips ... B.B.C. Announcer

Richard Todd ... Wing Commander Guy Gibson, V.C., D.S.O., D.F.C.
Brewster Mason ... Flt / Lt. R. D. Trevor-Roper, D.F.C., D.F.M.
Tony Doonan ... Flt / Lt. R. E. G. Hutchison, D.F.C. (as Anthony Doonan)

Nigel Stock ... Flying / Off. F. M. Spafford, D.F.C., D.F.M.
Brian Nissen ... Flt / Lt. A. T. Taerum, D.F.C.

Robert Shaw ... Flt / Sgt. J. Pulford, D.F.M.
Peter Assinder ... Plt / Off. G. A. Deering, D.F.C.
Richard Leech ... Squadron Leader H. M. Young, D.F.C.

Richard Thorp ... Squadron Leader H. E. Maudslay, D.F.C.
John Fraser ... Flight Lieutenant J. V. Hopgood, D.F.C.
David Morrell ... Flight Lieutenant W. Astell, D.F.C.
Bill Kerr ... Flight Lieutenant H. B. Martin, D.S.O., D.F.C., A.F.C. (now Wing Commander)

George Baker ... Flight Lieutenant D. J. H. Maltby, D.S.O., D.F.C.
Ronald Wilson ... Flight Lieutenant D. J. Shannon, D.S.O., D.F.C. (later Squadron Leader)
Denys Graham ... Flying Officer L. G. Knight, D.S.O.
Basil Appleby ... Flight Lieutenant R. C. Hay, D.F.C.
Tim Turner ... Flight Lieutenant J. F. Leggo, D.F.C.
Ewen Solon ... Flight Sergeant G. E. Powell
Harold Goodwin ... Wing Comdr. Gibson's Batman
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

John Breslin ... Crew member (uncredited)
Edward Cast ... Crew Member (uncredited)
Richard Coleman ... RAF Officer (uncredited)
Peter Diamond ... Tail Gunner (uncredited)
Gerald Harper ... Mocking RAF Officer (uncredited)
Arthur Howard ... RAF Pay Clerk In NAAFI (uncredited)
Lloyd Lamble ... Collins (uncredited)
Philip Latham ... Flight Sergeant (uncredited)

Patrick McGoohan ... Guard on Door (uncredited)
Jack McNaughton ... Waiter (uncredited)
Nina Parry ... Barnes Wallace's Daughter (uncredited)
Edwin Richfield ... RAF Officer (uncredited)

Directed by
Michael Anderson 
 
Writing credits
Paul Brickhill (book)

Guy Gibson (based on Wing Comdr. Gibson's own account in "Enemy Coast Ahead") (as Wing Comdr. Gibson)

R.C. Sherriff (screenplay) (as R. C. Sherriff)

Original Music by
Leighton Lucas (music score)
 
Cinematography by
Erwin Hillier (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Richard Best 
 
Casting by
Robert Lennard 
G.B. Walker 
 
Art Direction by
Robert Jones 
 
Makeup Department
Hilda Fox .... hairdresser (as Hilda Winifred Fox)
Stuart Freeborn .... makeup artist
 
Production Management
Robert Clark .... director in charge of production
Gordon Scott .... production manager
W.A. Whittaker .... production supervisor (as W. A. Whittaker)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
John Street .... assistant director
Frederic Goode .... assistant director: location (uncredited)
Jeremy Summers .... second assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Bill Beavis .... scenic artist (uncredited)
Peter Glazier .... assistant art director (uncredited)
Wallis Smith .... draughtsman (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Leslie Hammond .... sound recordist
Harold V. King .... recording director (as H. V. King)
Arthur Southgate .... dubbing editor
Eric Bayman .... boom operator (uncredited)
H. Blackmore .... dubbing crew (uncredited)
Len Shilton .... dubbing crew (uncredited)
Hugh Strain .... assistant boom operator (uncredited)
Jim Whiting .... sound camera operator (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
George Blackwell .... special effects
Gilbert Taylor .... special effects photography
 
Visual Effects by
Ronnie Wass .... optical effects (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Erwin Hillier .... aerial photography
Norman Warwick .... camera operator
Steve Birtles .... electrician (uncredited)
Bob Penn .... still photographer (uncredited)
Kelvin Pike .... clapper loader (uncredited)
Kelvin Pike .... focus puller (uncredited)
Ronnie Pilgrim .... still photographer (uncredited)
Val Stewart .... camera operator: second unit (uncredited)
Brian West .... clapper loader (uncredited)
Tony White .... focus puller: second unit (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Philip Barnikel .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Joan Warwick .... assembly cutter (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Louis Levy .... musical director
 
Transportation Department
Eddie Frewin .... unit driver (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Thelma Orr .... continuity
J.N.H. Whitworth .... technical adviser (as Group Captain J. N. H. Whitworth D.S.O. D.F.C.)
Daphne Paice .... production secretary (uncredited)
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies
  • A.V. Roe Ltd.  the producers wish to acknowledge also the valuable help received from (as Messrs. A.V. Roe & Co. Ltd.)
  • Air Ministry, The  the producers wish to acknowledge the extensive facilities accorded by (as the Air Ministry)
  • Associated British Studio Orchestra  music score performed by (as The Associated British Studio Orchestra)
  • IMS Film & Media Insurance  insurance
  • Members of 617 Squadron  they wish also to record their appreciation of the approval willingly given to the telling of this story by all those represented in it and by the next of kin of, who, from this or later operations, did not return (as the many members of 617 Squadron)
  • Members of the Royal Air Force  the producers wish to acknowledge the extensive facilities accorded by (as members of the Royal Air Force)

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
124 min | USA:105 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono | Mono (RCA Sound Recording)
Certification:
Australia:PG | Australia:G (DVD rating) | Canada:14A (Ontario) | Finland:K-16 | Iceland:L | Norway:12 | UK:U | USA:Approved (PCA #17528)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
This is one of the films that George Lucas used clips from to edit the rough cut of Star Wars (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 »
Goofs:
Revealing mistakes: 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 »
Quotes:
RAF Officer at trials:[after another failed test of the full-sized bomb] Well, it's a bad business isn't it?
Barnes Wallace:Yes, I'm afraid it is.
RAF Officer at trials:What are you going to do?
Barnes Wallace:I think I know the trouble, I must work on it again.
RAF Officer at trials:Well, here we are on the 22nd of April. The deadline date for the raid the 19th of May. That's barely four weeks.
Barnes Wallace:Give me a few more days. A week at most.
RAF Officer at trials:If you go and change the design. the factories will never do it in time...
Barnes Wallace:I shan't change the design. I must just strengthen the casing and try a new method of release.
[...]
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
The Dam BustersSee more »

FAQ

What happened to the other dams targeted?
How important was the raid?
What happened to the characters afterwards?
See more »
82 out of 87 people found the following review useful.
One of the great British war movies, 30 June 2004
Author: Quentin from British Columbia, Canada

Now that everyone has taken their shots at this magnificent movie, just a couple of comments about it to help put it into context. A) No we didn't see Russian prisoners of war trying to flee for their lives and drowning. We didn't in fact see anybody drowning. But this is war and people die in wars, it's the nature of the beast. B) Seen in its current setting, especially in North America, the use of the name Nigger for the Black Labrador may seem upsetting and racist, explaining why that section of the movie is left out sometimes. But back in Britain in those days, it would not have been regarded as so nasty and derogatory as it now seems here. It was actually a fair common name for Black Labs at the time - though not any more of course. C) Nope, the movie isn't entirely accurate in all aspects - many years after I first saw it back in the UK, a bomber pilot from those days told me that they used not a Lancaster but I think a Halifax to plough into the ground. D) Maybe it did glorify Guy Gibson, but he earned that Victoria Cross, if I recall, for all his diversionary flights to draw off the flak from the other aircraft, who must have felt like sitting ducks the way they had to drop every bomb at precisely the same spot and height, very low over the water. If the movie gives him credit for thinking up the overlapping spotlights, we can take that as artistic licence. Finally, anything which slowed down the German war machine was crucial to Britain. This movie did its best with hardly-developed special effects and produced an exciting and fine picture, made still during the days of rationing in England. I know because I was there at the time. I was just six when this movie was made in 1954 but it's still a real favorite of mine, not least because we were living on the shores of Lake Windermere, England's largest lake, in the English Lake District at the time, and they flew right in over our house for about six weeks that summer to film some parts of it. Remember the scene where after one of the practice runs, they were picking bits of tree out of the undercarriage of one of the aircraft? My father always used to remind that they clipped one of our trees in the filming one day and he used to claim that those bits of branch and foliage actually came from our tree. I guess they probably didn't really and they faked it a bit for the movie, adding that bit of dialogue into the script after the incident because it showed how low they flew. Quite why they showed it in the landing gear I'm not sure, because of course they wouldn't have been flying with their landing gear down, but it is effective in showing how low they flew both in the raid and in the filming. I've always loved this movie though - it's a beaut, as they say - not least because I grew up with Black Labradors. I wept like a baby when Nigger died. Have just watched it for about the zillionth time - have literally lost count. It's still a fine and fitting tribute to the men who gave their lives in the raid all those years ago.

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