6.9/10
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24 user 19 critic

The Sound Barrier (1952)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, War | 21 December 1952 (USA)
Fictionalized story of British aerospace engineers solving the problem of supersonic flight.

Director:

David Lean

Writers:

Terence Rattigan (story), Terence Rattigan (screenplay)
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ralph Richardson ... J.R.
Ann Todd ... Susan
Nigel Patrick ... Tony
John Justin ... Philip
Dinah Sheridan ... Jess
Joseph Tomelty Joseph Tomelty ... Will
Denholm Elliott ... Chris
Jack Allen Jack Allen ... 'Windy'
Ralph Michael Ralph Michael ... Fletcher
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Storyline

Tony successful fighter pilot during World War II marries into the family of a wealthy oil magnate who also designs airplanes. The movie traces the company's attempt to break the sound barrier, as well as tensions between father and daughter. Lots of footage of early 50s jet aviation in Great Britain as well as shots of the Comet airliner, world's first jet passenger plane. Written by Henry Brugsch <henry@g0gku.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Jet Packed Excitement! Jet Packed Danger! Jet Packed Romance! The Greatest Adventure Story of Our Time! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 December 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Breaking Through the Sound Barrier See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£250,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)| Mono (Sound Recording of the breaking of the sound barrier made by John W. Davies - afterwards known in the industry as Jack Sound.)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

With this movie, Sir Ralph Richardson became the first actor to win the New York Film Critics Award for Best Actor, who didn't also go on to win an Oscar nomination. See more »

Goofs

When Susan tells her husband she is pregnant, she tells him the baby is due around Christmas, but when the child is born, the weather is warm and sunny, suggesting the child is anything but a December baby. See more »

Quotes

Philip Peel: Will?
Will Sparks: What?
Philip Peel: Is it possible that at the speed of sound, the controls are reversed?
Will Sparks: At the speed of sound, Philip, anything's possible. Why?
Philip Peel: During the war once, I put a Spitfire into a flat-out dive. No particular reason, just youthful high spirits. I think now that I hit the sound barrier. I remember that the more I pulled on the stick, the harder the nose went down. The same thing happened this morning.
Will Sparks: You're not supposed to do a high Mach number!
Philip Peel: I know, but I did. Both times, I had the ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, immediately after the human actors, are listed four British aircraft: The de Havilland COMET The Vickers-Supermarine ATTACKER The de Havilland VAMPIRE 113 The Vickers-Supermarine SWIFT Rolls-Royce 'Avon' Engine See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Bit Part (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Daddy Wouldn't Buy Me a Bow-Wow
(uncredited)
Written by Joseph Tabrar
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fast-moving, impressive film has an almost documentary approach...
7 May 2010 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

BREAKING THE SOUND BARRIER is the U.S. title for this film which I missed seeing when originally released. It was a pleasure seeing it for the first time tonight on TCM. RALPH RICHARDSON once again plays a father who was emotionally distant from his son (DENHOLM ELLIOT) and daughter (ANN TODD) and shows more concern for the progress of scientific investigation in solving the problem of supersonic flight than the welfare of individuals who sacrifice their lives to please him. He shows more constraint here as the father than he did in THE HEIRESS a few years previous.

Under David Lean's direction, the film moves briskly through a series of events involved in breaking the sound barrier through jet propulsion at a time when the aircraft industry was making great strides after WWII.

While the characters are fictional, so are the events depicted, since a British airman was not the first to break the sound barrier--something that American pilot Chuck Yaeger was quick to point out when he was invited to attend the world premiere of the film in London. It was broken by an American pilot as early as 1947.

Tension between Richardson and his children helps make the fictional story more compelling and the acting by RALPH RICHARDSON, NIGEL PATRICK (as Ann Todd's pilot husband) and ANN TODD is excellent.

Summing up: Interesting from many viewpoints despite being a bit too talky with a good background score from Malcolm Arnold.


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