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Malta Story (1953)

1942 and the island of Malta is battling for survival. The threat of invasion by Axis forces is increasing as air raids wear down its defence. Entering this maelstrom is Flight Lieutenant Peter Ross, an RAF photo-reconnaissance pilot.


Thorold Dickinson (idea), Peter De Sarigny (idea) (as Peter de Sarigny) | 4 more credits »




Credited cast:
Alec Guinness ... Flight Lt. Peter Ross
Jack Hawkins ... Air Commodore Frank
Anthony Steel ... Wing Commander Bartlett
Muriel Pavlow ... Maria Gonzar
Renée Asherson ... Joan Rivers (as Renee Asherson)
Hugh Burden ... Major Eden
Nigel Stock ... Giuseppe Gonzar aka Ricardi
Reginald Tate ... Vice Admiral Payne
Ralph Truman ... Vice Admiral Willie Banks
Flora Robson ... Melita Gonzar - Maria's Mum
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Manuel Bugeja Manuel Bugeja ... Maltese man riding horse and carriage (voice)


In 1942, Britain was clinging to the island of Malta since it was critical to keeping Allied supply lines open. The Axis also wanted it for their own supply lines. Plenty of realistic reenactments and archival combat footage as the British are beseiged and try to fight off the Luftwaffe. Against this background, a Royal Air Force reconnaissance photographer's romance with a local girl is endangered as he tries to plot enemy movements. Written by Derek Picken <dpicken@email.msn.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


NOW ! Another Great Performance in the ALEC GUINNESS Hall of Fame ! ...


Drama | History | War


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Did You Know?


Elements of the plot for this movie may have been inspired by the famous aerial reconnaissance pilot Adrian Warburton. He flew from Malta for a time and married a dancer who was stranded on Malta. Some of his exploits as a pilot were apparently exaggerated to explain some serendipitous discoveries of enemy vessels which otherwise might have tipped the Nazis off that their codes had been broken. See more »


The story takes place circa 1942, but all of Muriel Pavlow's and Renee Asherson's hair styles and clothing are strictly in the style of the early 1950s. See more »


Flight Lt. Peter Ross: Hello.
Maria Gonzar: Hello.
Flight Lt. Peter Ross: So... you weren't killed.
Maria Gonzar: No... I hardly ever am.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: MALTA 1942 See more »


Featured in Frances Farmer Presents: Malta Story (1959) See more »

User Reviews

Attractive Warlike movie set in Malta including breathtaking battles , romance and intense drama
27 April 2021 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Enjoyable warfare film with impressive battles and love stories , it results to be a clear-eyed and sincere tale of the siege of Malta by the Germans and Italians during WWII . As it is set in the hot , rocky Island Malta , near Sicily , that was a fundamental location -along with Cyprus , Alexandria , Gibraltar- for both , Axis Army and Allied Army . That's why it was really besieged and bombed by the Luftwaffe , serving the essential island in the North African campaign as point to attack or defend Rommel's Afrika Korps that are heading for El Alamein. Against this wartime background scenario in 1942, a Royal Air Force pilot, RAF, Sir Alec Guinnes in transit to El Cairo is assigned a dangerous mission of reconnaissance . As he has to take photographs the Axis Aviation , convoys and Nazi routs . Along the way ,the British flier carries out some serendipitous discoveries of enemy vessels and he has a crush on a Maltese native : the delicately touching Muriel Pavlow , but then things get worse , as Allied convoys attempting to access the island to deliver food are heavily bombed and the local population are suffering extreme hunger and penury . Now ! Another Great Performance in the Alec Guinnes Hall of Fame !

A decent and typical warfare story along with two love tales starred by two couples : Alec Guinnes-Muriel Pavlow and Anthony Steel-Renee Asherson . It depicts the severe hardship of the terrestrial and aerial combats , including daily bombings , food shortages , starving , famine suffered by local population and anything else . The picture blends real footage like actual air raid , adding authentic Maltese faces and reenacting aviation attacks with production design enough . Alec Guinnes gives a nice acting as the flier becomes involved with the defense of Malta . Alongside the main actors delivering workmanlike service types from Jack Hawkins , Anthony Steel and the two charming women : Muriel Pavlow and Renee Asherson , all of them delivering appropriate interpretations , there are also several prestigious secondaries giving brief but attractive performances , such as : Flora Robson , Nigel Stock, Ralph Truman, Michael Craig , Maurice Denham , Gordon Jackson, Richard O'Sullivan , Reginald Tate , Stuart Burge , Lee Patterson, Rosalie Crutchley , and Geoffrey Keen as a British soldier , subsequently usual Minister of Defence in James Bond movies , among others .

. Furthermore , it displays an atmospheric and adequate cinematography in black and white by Robert Krasker . As well as an evocative musical score by classy composer William Alwyn . The motion picture was competently directed by Brian Desmond Hurst , providing a nice filmmaking that is sharper than the storyline . Desmond Hurst brings brilliantly to life the island of Malta during war time , creating such moments as kiddies at play while bombing , close-up of native people and showing peculiar native roles .

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Release Date:

5 August 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Malta Story See more »

Filming Locations:

Malta See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

British Film-Makers See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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