The Dam Busters
Available on our box set: THEIR FINEST HOUR - 5 BRITISH WWII CLASSICS.
An epic war story of World War II. Scientist Dr. Barnes Wallis believes World War II can be shortened by destroying the Ruhr dams, thus paralyzing the enemy's industrial nerve center. In spite of the difficulties caused by the critical situation at the time, he works steadily to perfect a special bomb of his own invention for the purpose. Air Ace Wing Commander Guy Gibson is chosen to form, train and lead the hand-picked squadron. Flying at tree-top level they cross the Rhine and attack the first dam - Moehne. The bombers seem unable to maintain the accuracy essential for success - then suddenly the masonry begins to crumble. The final attack scene inspired the attack on the Death Star in the first Star Wars film.
- "The Dam Busters, based on a true story, is equally exceptional, a marvelous picture chronicling efforts to destroy three dams in Germany's Ruhr Valley, whose hydro-electric might is vital to the Nazi's raw steel factories. The Dam Busters is a terrific and in many ways unique picture. Its hero is a late-middle-aged scientist who's neither cute and doddering nor irascible and eccentric. As presented here, Wallis is a quiet family man who's not even a genius particularly. Indeed, it's his determination to get it right, to apply his talent for physics to aid the war effort that makes him so heroic. That the film avoids the usual cliches about such characters (so prevalent in contemporary American sci-fi), that it uses real science and makes it accessible within the context of a war movie is almost miraculous. Redgrave is a joy to watch.... The Dam Busters also does a great job capturing the little details of squadron life, especially the nervous hours preceding a dangerous mission. The structure, look, and even some of the dialogue of the finale was echoed more than 20 years later for the attack on the Death Star in Star Wars."
- "One of the truly great war films."
- "Michael Anderson'sThe Dam Busters is an inherently inspiring true story, told in a reassuringly straightforward manner. There's no cloying sentimentality or self-congratulatory worthiness here, just honest British endeavour, innovation and determined stiff upper-lipped-ness. Excellent. A triumph of British ingenuity, the story The Dam Busters served to highlight the best of the war effort in a wonderfully celebratory fashion. "
- "This is a motion picture which must be seen. Redgrave as Dr. Wallis turns in one of the finest performances you'll see this year, anywhere. Richard Todd and the rest of the supporting cast are also excellent."
- "The production is a personal triumph for Michael Anderson. Michael Redgrave, particularly, gives a vividly human portrayal of Dr Barnes Wallis the scientist while Richard Todd makes a distinguished showing as Guy Gibson the RAF commander."
- "Director Michael Anderson’s The Dam Busters (1955) has a strong claim to be the greatest British war film ever made. It tells the true story of the courageous 617 Squadron delivering Operation Chastise, a covert mission to destroy Germany’s Ruhr dams by dropping a bouncing bomb that skimmed across the water on May 16 1943. Anderson and screenwriter RC Sherriff (Journey’s End) were acutely aware of the sacrifice involved – witness the subdued return of exhausted airman and the poignant sight of empty spaces in the mess hall. It is this that makes The Dam Busters one of the greatest of all war films; patriotic but ultimately reflective, it delivers exciting action sequences and a touching tribute to heroism without ever losing sight of the true toll of conflict."
Awards & Recognition
Best British Film
Best British Screenplay