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The Dam Busters (1955)

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The story of how the British attacked German dams in WWII by using an ingenious technique to drop bombs where they would be most effective.

Director:

Michael Anderson

Writers:

Paul Brickhill (book), Guy Gibson (based on Wing Comdr. Gibson's own account in "Enemy Coast Ahead") (as Wing Comdr. Gibson) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Todd ... Wing Commander Guy Gibson, V.C., D.S.O., D.F.C.
Michael Redgrave ... Doctor B. N. Wallis, C.B.E., F.R.S.
Ursula Jeans ... Mrs. Wallis
Basil Sydney ... Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris (now Marshal of the Royal Air Force) G.C.B., O.B.E., A.F.C.
Patrick Barr ... Captain Joseph (Mutt) Summers, C.B.E.
Ernest Clark ... Air Vice-Marshal The Hon. Ralph Cochrane (now Air Chief Marshal) G.B.E., K.C.B., A.F.C.
Derek Farr ... Group Captain J. N. H. Whitworth, D.S.O., D.F.C.
Charles Carson ... Doctor
Stanley Van Beers Stanley Van Beers ... Sir David Pye, C.B., F.R.S.
Colin Tapley ... Doctor W. H. Glanville, C.B., C.B.E.
Frederick Leister Frederick Leister ... Committee Member
Eric Messiter Eric Messiter ... Committee Member
Laidman Browne Laidman Browne ... Committee Member
Raymond Huntley ... Official, National Physical Laboratory
Hugh Manning Hugh Manning ... Official, Ministry of Aircraft Production
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Storyline

The British are desperate to shorten the length of WW2 and propose a daring raid to smash Germany's industrial heart. At first the objective looks impossible until a British scientist invents an ingenious weapon capable of destroying the planned target. Written by Dave Jenkins <david.jenkins@smallworld.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The story of the "bombs that had to bounce" - and the air-devils who had to drop 'em! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 July 1955 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Dambusters See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was used as inspiration for the final battle scenes in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977). Gilbert Taylor, Director of Photography and Stuart Freeborn, makeup supervisor for Star Wars also worked on this film. This was suggested by Alan Ladd Jr. when Lucus initially presented the idea to him for studio approval. "I'll shoot it like The Dam Busters". See more »

Goofs

When the planes attack the Eder dam, they fly over Waldeck Castle towards the the dam. In reality, by overflying the castle, directly towards the dam, you would fly almost directly along the length of the dam. You would have to bank almost 75 degrees to port to approach the wall the way its shown in the film. See more »

Quotes

BBC Announcer: [morning after the raid] This is London. The Air Ministry has just issued the following communique. In the early hours of this morning, a force of Lancasters of Bomber Command, led by Wing Commander G.P. Gibson DSO DFC, attacked with mines the dams of the Moehne and Sorpe reservoirs. These control two-thirds of the water storage capacity of the Rurh Basin. Reconaissance later established that the Moehne Dam had been breached over a length of 100 yards, and that the power station below had been ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

Prints distributed in the United States by Warner Brothers added a shot from showing an early model B-17 Flying Fortress crashlanding in a forest. See more »


Soundtracks

The Dam Busters
March
by Eric Coates
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
An exceptional movie on many levels
5 March 2008 | by richreed-1See all my reviews

First of all, it's a pretty darn good depiction of the factual events of Britain's destruction of German hydroelectric dams in WWII, including the sometimes single-handed efforts of Dr. Barnes Wallis, engineer, scientist and visionary, to convince British high command to implement his plan. Second, excellent footage of the AVRO Lancaster, Britain's premier heavy bomber of the war, at times yanking and banking at extreme low level. Third, it's a very good depiction of the combat crews and their emotions before and after the missions. Fourth, it's just a damn good movie, no pun intended.

The main plot is to develop a means of destroying the three main dams that power most of Germany's war industry in the Ruhr Valley, and then executing the plan. Sir Michael Redgrave's rendition of Wallis treats the audience to the same enthusiasm, exhaustion, disappointment and triumph that the man himself must have felt. A very interesting part of the movie is when, after finally winning over bureaucratic lethargy and getting his plans for the destruction of the dams approved, he now realizes his pet project will put young men in danger, and many, even possibly all, will die.

Richard Todd and a competent cast play the Lanc crews with a minimum of schmaltz. All depictions of the Lancasters are live footage with the exception of the few crash scenes, which are done using miniatures. Legend has it that George Lucas used footage and even duologue from this film for his Star Wars movies.

Warning: Todd's character, Wing Commander Gibson, has a black Labrador Retriever named "Nigger." In fact, they use the dog's name as a code word indicating success. Obviously, the word means something much different in the US today. The US version of the movie and the one seen on TV had "Trigger" dubbed in, but the DVD version uses the original duologue. It take a bit getting used to, and may be a distraction for some.

Look for future greats Robert Shaw and Patrick McGoohan in bit parts.


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