Biopic of RAF Group Captain Douglas Bader who, after having lost both legs, flew a British fighter plane during WW2.



(book), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Douglas Bader
Muriel Pavlow ...
Thelma Bader
Lyndon Brook ...
Johnny Sanderson
Lee Patterson ...
Mr. Joyce
Nurse Brace
Michael Warre ...
Harry Day
Sydney Tafler ...
Robert Desoutter
'Woody' Woodhall (as Howard Marion Crawford)
Jack Watling ...
Anne Leon ...
Sister Thornhill
Charles Carson ...
Air Vice-Marshal Halahan


The true story of airman Douglas Bader who overcame the loss of both legs in a 1931 flying accident to become a successful fighter pilot and wing leader during World War II. Written by E.A. Milne <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


10,000,000 Americans Have Thrilled to This Stirring Story in Reader's Digest! See more »


Biography | Drama | War


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Release Date:

27 July 1956 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

Vainqueur du ciel  »

Box Office


£380,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TCM Print)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)


(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Richard Burton was the first choice for the lead but he dropped out when he was offered the lead in Alexander the Great (1956) at what Lewis Gilbert describes as "three or four times the salary". See more »


When Douglas Bader is promoted and sent to command 242 Squadron at Coltishall, the Hurricanes bear the squadron code letters "SD". These were the actual code letters of 501 Squadron which flew Hurricanes in the Battle of Britain. The 242 Squadron codes were in fact "LE". See more »


[Bader finds out that 242 squadron has not received replacements for the spares and tools they lost when they pulled out of France]
Warr. Off. West: We've applied for replacements through the usual channels, Sir.
Bader: And?
Warr. Off. West: Well, the usual channels appear to be clogged.
Bader: *Are* they? Well, We'll ruddy well *unclog* 'em!
See more »


Featured in Cinema of Unease: A Personal Journey by Sam Neill (1995) See more »


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User Reviews

Absorbing if re-written account of Douglas Bader.
4 January 2002 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

The credits advise that some events and depictions of people/events have been altered for story telling purposes , so this film is not a strictly accurate history of Douglas Bader. Also played down somewhat is Baders arrogance and foolhardiness which lead to his disability in the first place. Still as a inspiration for disabled people and as an almost factual account of Baders life and as film entertainment , it's pretty good. Made reasonably close to the war years it is able to capture the feeling of those years quite well. It is a trifle 'stiff upper lip - what ?' but Kenneth More as usual turns in a good performance. Focusing mainly on Baders attempts, and resulting achievements in war time flying, after a crash means both lower legs have to be amputated. Quite gritty and not too sentimental this offering from director Lewis Gilbert stacks up well against similar films of the time.

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