The Dam Busters
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A much-loved British classic, Michael Anderson's 1954 drama captures the tension and bravery of an audacious raid on the centre of Nazi Germany's industrial complex, and the quintessentially English combination of inventiveness and dogged determination. Split into two distinct sections, the film deals first with the fraught, but ultimately successful development of a new weapon by Dr. Barnes N. Wallis (Michael Redgrave). The second and pacier section deals with the mission itself during the British raid on the Ruhr Dams, and its associated costs for the enemy and for the British airmen. Adapted by R.C. Sherriff from Paul Brickhill's book Enemy Coast Ahead and featuring superlative special effects photography by Gilbert Taylor (to say nothing of Eric Coates' stirring theme tune), The Dam Busters was Britain's biggest box-office success of 1955. Shot in black and white to allow the integration of original footage of the bomb trails, the film boasts a 'gritty', documentary-style reality.
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Top customer reviews
This much loved film does an excellent job of summarising the main events of this remarkable story, especially considering that in 1954, when it was made, most of the details of Operation Chastise, as it was formally known, were still classified.
The film incorporates genuine footage of some of the preliminary testing with a little scrubbing by the censors. Curiously, they missed one important bit and there is one sequence where the backwash produced by the spinning bomb (back spun to produce lift through the Magnus effect) is visible. That was one of the most highly classified aspects of the project.
With a great story, good acting and excellent photography, this film is a treasure.
Don't get me wrong this is a fantastic story, very close to what happened minus some literary license. The special effects are not fantastic, but easily overlooked by the accomplishments of the men involved in the bouncing bomb. This is a great movie, but the quality of the conversion to DVD is a disservice to the people involved with the film, the people involved in the actual bouncing bomb, and Sir Barnes Wallis himself. I would have given it 1 star based on the video quality alone, however if the video quality were on par with what I'm familiar with, it would have been 5 stars. I can't wait for a US region Blu-Ray to be available on Amazon.
Although this film has one of my favorite English actors, Richard Todd, in the a staring roll as a Lancaster Wing Commander of the 617 Squadron, he makes his appearance 20 minutes into the movie. The picture is in B & W and has not been restored by re-mastering. Therefore, the quality is fair at best even in a Blue Ray Player and far below my expectations. Special effects of the bombing runs are also sub-rate. If you look closely you will find Robert Shaw playing Todd's co-pilot in his credited first roll? At the least I would wait for the re-mastered version to appear before I bought this movie.
Those familiar with Star Wars may notice a similarity between the X-wing approach to the drop zone and the bomber approach to the dam. ("The Dam Busters" was made in 1955.)
If shown on TV, the original film is often shortened. (They often leave out the minor story of the pilot's pet dog.)
The film got one Oscar nomination.
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