7.3/10
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Reach for the Sky (1956)

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

Director:

Lewis Gilbert

Writers:

Paul Brickhill (book), Lewis Gilbert (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

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From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kenneth More ... Douglas Bader
Muriel Pavlow ... Thelma Bader
Lyndon Brook ... Johnny Sanderson
Lee Patterson ... Turner
Alexander Knox ... Mr. Joyce
Dorothy Alison ... Nurse Brace
Michael Warre Michael Warre ... Harry Day
Sydney Tafler Sydney Tafler ... Robert Desoutter
Howard Marion-Crawford ... 'Woody' Woodhall (as Howard Marion Crawford)
Jack Watling ... Peel
Nigel Green ... Streatfield
Anne Leon Anne Leon ... Sister Thornhill
Charles Carson ... Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding
Ronald Adam ... Air Vice-Marshal Leigh-Mallory
Walter Hudd ... Air Vice-Marshal Halahan
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Storyline

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 <eamilne@bitmailer.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Valor That Soars Beyond the Limits of Man's Endurance...Drama That Probes Beneath the Surface of Wartime Emotions See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French | German

Release Date:

27 July 1956 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

Vainqueur du ciel See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£380,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM Print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bader's legs were amputated one above the knee and one below. Despite this, frequently during the film you see More's legs bending at both knees especially during the first golfing scene See more »

Goofs

The scenes set in the days leading up to the onset of the Second World War feature late model Mark XVI Spitfires with 'teardrop' canopies, four-bladed propellers and cannon in the wings. In addition, the serial number on one aircraft (VT151) was an unused number from a block allocated to Gloster for a batch of Meteor F Mk 4's. (The serial can't be V7151 either, as this was an unused number from a block allocated to Gloster for a batch of Hawker Hurricanes - Gloster being part of the Hawker group). See more »

Quotes

Bader: If I can't take my squadron with me, I'm not so sure I want to go.
Air Vice-Marshal Leigh-Mallory: You'll do as you're told.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally released in Great Britain at 135 minutes; cut by 12 minutes before the American premiere. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Ultimate Film (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Is the Sweetest Thing
(uncredited)
Written by Ray Noble
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Absorbing if re-written account of Douglas Bader.
4 January 2002 | by alembicSee 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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