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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

User Rating:
7.4/10   6,730 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:
Steady, Steady....... Bomb Gone! 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:
Continuity: When Barnes Wallis starts to pull the black out across it is clearly daytime outside he stops and walks through the french windows then suddenly it,s night time and dark.See more »
Quotes:
Capt. Joseph Summers, CBE:How'd you get on?
Barnes Wallace:It's hopeless.
Capt. Joseph Summers, CBE:What happened?
Barnes Wallace: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.
Barnes Wallace:There is, Mutt.
Capt. Joseph Summers, CBE:What?
Barnes Wallace:Let's take the whole thing straight to Bomber Command.
Capt. Joseph Summers, CBE:Harris?
Barnes Wallace: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.
[...]
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The 100 Greatest War Films (2005) (TV)See more »
Soundtrack:
The Dam BustersSee more »

FAQ

How important was the raid?
How heavy were the RAF's casualties?
What happened to the characters afterwards?
See more »
32 out of 35 people found the following review useful.
Steady, Steady....... Bomb Gone!, 17 October 2004
Author: CustardChucker from Bristol, UK

I personally went to school in the town where the Raids were monitored from (Grantham) by Wallis and Harris. There is hardly any memorabilia recording this local fact, and no-one would ever know. I know of RAF Scampton too, which I believe has closed down some years ago. For Lincolnshire, the Dams Raid is remembered poignantly, as the 617 Squadron, who now fly Tornados

in Scotland, was formed and trained there. They practised on the Derwent Reservoir near Sheffield, and the Eyebrook Reservoir in Leicestershire.

Sir Barnes Wallis thought in innovative ways, and the fact that this 'far out' idea of bouncing bombs on a lake, actually breached two dams is an engineering marvel. To do so under heavy flak is beating the odds. Wallis and 617 Squadron collaborated again with the Tallboy and Grand Slam 'earthquake' bombs, which destroyed many important railway viaducts and tunnels, as well as sinking the Tirpitz.

Richard Todd, after the film, moved 3 miles from Grantham. Maybe the film was the reason for this.

The film is one of few about RAF Bomber Command, and is a good portrayal of the danger involved. 41% of crew were killed (55,000). After early 1944, the loss rate rapidly decreased, as the Luftwaffe had been destroyed, so from 1940-3 I would guess 60-70% of crew were killed, for the whole campaign. It may be higher. The RAF didn't even know the Germans had excellent radar until early 1942. The film is about team work and working under stress - your immediate future depended on 6 other people. Many things could go wrong along the way. It is also about strong resilience to new ideas. i.e. The RAF could have had jet planes before 1939 if they'd have developed Whittle's ideas in the 1930s, instead of foolishly waiting 10 whole years until 1941. Whittle was then humiliated after the war by forcing him to give all his designs to the Americans, who didn't waste any time in treating the idea as their own.

When I first saw the film, I thought the special effects were weak and I was astonished a bomb bounced in the first place. When older and seeing it again, you can empathise more with the RAF crews and the skill and daring they would need. It focuses on one story line, and does not have American accents mysteriously appearing from nowhere. I think at the time Guy Gibson was about 25. Imagine yourself having that responsibility at 25.

Many of the 'Upkeep' mines that were bounced, completely missed the targets. Certainly for the Eder dam, there was just one mine left, and was dropped in the right place and destroyed the dam in 'one go'. The film gives the impression many were exploded to breach the dam, but actually a single one did the 'job'.

The Germans are never shown, and I would love to have known what they thought seeing this strange sight of bombs skimming the water's surface. I think Spielberg would have enjoyed making this film, but half of it would have been about the Germans. If the dams had been breached six months earlier, when a water pumping system had not been installed, the Germans would have been seriously up the creek with no paddles. The Ruhr Industry would have been unable to function at all. Do not underestimate what hypothetical difference the dams breach could have made to the Germans in their biggest industrial area.

Do women enjoy the film too, or is all the technical wizardry just for the male audience?

Why did Pink Floyd use it in their film 'The Wall'? Carling Black Label used the lake scenes many times in notorious adverts.

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