6.7/10
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Pursuit of the Graf Spee (1956)

The Battle of the River Plate (original title)
A true WW2 story: the British Navy must find and destroy a powerful German warship.
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Nominated for 3 BAFTA Film Awards. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Captain Bell - H.M.S. Exeter
...
Commodore Harwood-H.M.S. Ajax
...
Captain Hans Langsdorff - 'Admiral Graf Spee'
...
Captain Woodhouse - H.M.S. Ajax
...
Captain Parry - H.M.N.Z.S. Achilles
...
Captain Dove - M.S. Africa Shell
Lionel Murton ...
Mike Fowler
...
Mr. Millington Drake - British Minister, Montevideo
Peter Illing ...
Dr. Guani - Foreign Minister, Uruguay
...
Captain McCall - R.N., British Naval Attache, Buenos Aires
...
Lieutenant Commander Medley R.N.
John Chandos ...
Dr. Langmann - German Minister, Montevideo
Douglas Wilmer ...
M. Desmoulins - French Minister, Montevideo
...
Ray Martin
...
Captain Varela - Uruguayan Navy
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Storyline

In the fall of 1939, the German heavy cruiser (referred to as a pocket battleship) Graf Spee seems to have command of the Atlantic. In the first three months of World War II, she was responsible for sinking 9 ships. The British sent three cruisers commanded by Commodore Henry Harwood to confront her. The battle took place on December 13, 1939 and the British came out on top. The Graf Spee headed for the neutral harbor of Montevideo, Uruguay. They were given only a short time to effect repairs and the British did their best to make them believe a British fleet of 6 or 8 ships awaited them. Rather than chance the loss of his men, the German captain ordered the Graf Spee scuttled. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The tremendous story of the victory over the Graf Spee. See more »


Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

November 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pursuit of the Graf Spee  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(VistaVision)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Suez Crisis officially marked the end of the UK as a world power just before this film was released. See more »

Goofs

The German Navy had no capacity to refuel and resupply alongside and underway. The seamanship required was exclusive to the US and its allies at least through the 1970's. See more »

Quotes

Captain McCall - R.N., British Naval Attache for Buenos Aires: [McCall is telephoning the British Ambassador in Buenos Aires to try to spread a rumour] An emergency has arisen over the 'Graf Spee'.
British Ambassador in Buenos Aires (Voice): Careful, McCall - security.
Captain McCall - R.N., British Naval Attache for Buenos Aires: I know, sir, but this is most urgent. I have just heard by Admiralty code...
British Ambassador in Buenos Aires (Voice): This isn't a scrambler, you know.
Captain McCall - R.N., British Naval Attache for Buenos Aires: ...that two of our capital ships...
British Ambassador in Buenos Aires (Voice): Are you MAD, McCall? I'm going to hang up!
Captain McCall - R.N., British Naval Attache for Buenos Aires: Sir, I must insist - in this case urgency overrides security.
British Ambassador in Buenos Aires (Voice): 'Urgency overrides security?' Well, well, well, go on, go on.
Captain McCall - R.N., British Naval Attache for Buenos Aires: Both these capital ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

H.M.S. Jamaica as H.M.S. Exeter See more »

Connections

Featured in The Story of Making the Film They're a Weird Mob (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

Cabalgata de los Gauchos
(uncredited)
Music by Brian Easdale
Lyrics by Manuel Salina
Performed by April Olrich (dubbed by Muriel Smith)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Historical and epic battle between the Graf Spee and British cruisers
23 October 2006 | by See all my reviews

This is a splendid British film concerning historic deeds during WWII , the naval battle in the South Atlantic between British cruiser squadron of three ships and the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee , Dic 1939 . The main and secondary cast are stunningly incarnated by a magnificent plethora of English actors . The film contains a colorful and glimmer cinematography by Christopher Challis and an atmospheric musical score . The movie is well produced by Archers production and professionally directed by Emeric Pressburger and Michael Powell . The motion picture will appeal to warlike genre buffs and British classic movie fans . Rating : Better than average .

The film is based on true events , these are the following : Though the British cruisers were no match for the battleship , Admiral Sir Henry Harwood (Anthony Quayle) launched an attack to Graf Spee (with 6 cannons,280 mm) . German fire seriously damaged HMS Exeter (commanded by John Cregson as captain Bell) with cannons 203mm , put half of HMS Ajax (captain Woodhouse played by Ian Hunter)'s guns out of action , and then damaged Achilles (cannons 152 mm) , but the cruisers did sufficient damage to the German ship to make its captain break off and run for shelter in Montevideo , Uruguay . The British followed and waited in international waters outside the neutral port . The Uruguay government ordered the Germans to leave after 72 hours . The British cruisers called Royal and Renown were near from Montevideo and Langsdorff (Peter Finch) didn't wait possibilities to vanquish . Hitler , reluctant to risk the Graf Spee being sunk by heavier British warship which were sailing for the River Plate , ordered the captain to scuttle the vessel . He did so 17 Dec 1939 and three days later shot himself .


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