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

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Film opens with Barnes Wallis and his children apparently playing "ducks and drakes" with the aid of a tin bath brim full of water . Subsequent events show that this is far from the case . The story unfolds of the dedicated scientist (Barnes Wallis) devoting all the time he has (including family time) to develop a totally new 5 ton bomb . His initial struggles with an uninterested ministry are graphically portrayed . When he asks for a Wellington bomber to test his bomb the irate minister says "They are worth their weight in gold,What possible justification can I give for such a request" . . . Barnes simply says "You could tell them I designed it". The scene shifts to RAF Scampton and a weary Guy Gibson and his crew just completing a tour of 30 sorties over Germany. Just as they are looking forward to well earned leave , Gibson is asked to form a new squadron . By now Barnes is dropping near full sized bombs off Reculver but they are bursting rather than bouncing over the sea. Again and again Guy Gibson travels down to the Kent coast only to see yet another failure. Wallis then asks if the bombers could fly at just 60 feet rather than the 150 feet originally requested. Guy points out that the altimeters are not accurate enough to fly at such low level without crashing. But later Gibson is watching a show in London and the spotlights focusing on the star on stage give him the answer. Lights set to converge on the ground at 60 feet mounted in the nose and tail of the Lancaster bombers. The raid is now on but while the crews of 617 squadron are being breifed , Gibson's faithful dog Nigger is run over. Not a good omen for the coming attack. Poignant scenes of the very young looking bomber crews sitting around waiting for the off culminating in Gibson saying "My watch says its time to go". Dramatic scenes of crews driving out to their dispersed lancasters and then engines starting and serried ranks of these huge 4 engined bombers lining up to take off. The low level flight to the dams commences with some beautiful shots of the Lancs. skimming over the moonlight Channel. "Enemy coast ahead" and with a flurry of flak the bombers are twisting and turning their way to their target. Meanwhile Barnes Wallis is seen in the ops room at Scampton monitoring the progress of the raid. All is silent and all eyes are on a special phone that will bring news of the raids progress. 617 Squadron are now well on their way but suddenly get caught by AA guns over a city. One Lancaster is shot down exploding as it hits the ground.

Finally the planes arrive over the Mohne lake looking very peaceful in the moonlight. The bombers can only attack one at a time so Gibson makes the first run. He levels out, The bomb aimer raises his simple wooden "coat hanger" bombsight while the Navigator watches the lights coming together on the lake surface as the bomber approaches 60 feet. "Bomb gone"! Then a howl from Merlin engines being thrashed at full power to get away from the explosion. . For such an old film the dam bomb bursts are well done. In turn the Lancs take turns in making their runs ,one failing to pull up after its bomb went over the dam wall exploding under its tail. Each run is reported back to Scampton and the small group of officers waiting around the silent telephone. Suddenly it rings and morse code can be heard. But time and time again the code word for success is not heard. Back at the dam the flak has become murderous so Gibson and another pilot fly their lancasters in formation with another making its bomb run. The escorting Lancs flick their landing lights on and off to draw the guns from the attacking bomber which releases its bomb destroying the Mohne dam. The remaining bombers fly on to the Eder dam where their success is repeated and back at base the group awaiting around the phone celebrate wildly as the news of the raids success comes through the morse beeping phone. The film closes with the surviving bombers wearily landing and the tired crews flopping out . Guy Gibsom meets up with Wallis who is distraught over the numbers of bombers lost. Guy tells him to turn in and rest however before Guy can do so "He has some letters to write". .An excellent film. .
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