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THE DAM BUSTERS, 1955
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  MOVIE POSTERTHE DAM BUSTERS, 1955
Movie Reviews

Director: Michael Andersen

Stars: Richard Todd and Michael Redgrave

Review by Russell Hill

SYNOPSIS:

A heroic mission to destroy three German dams is proposed which would bring the Nazi's to their knees.

REVIEW:

With its iconic theme tune which was composed by Eric Coates, I already knew about The Dam Busters because it had been parodied in advertisements. Up until around six years ago when I was studying at University, I had never seen it but was very glad when my lecturer showed it one day. Afterwards, I was amazed that I had never seen it before and was very glad that I attended class that day.

Telling the real-life story of 617 Squadron which was led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson (who is played in the film by Richard Todd), The Dam Busters portrays how an initial idea by the scientist and inventor Dr Barnes Wallis (Redgrave) of a bomb which could bounce on water could destroy three of Germany's dams and help the Allies. Although Dr Barnes Wallis tests his bouncing bomb idea many times, he somehow finds the best design at the last minute. However, will Wing Commander Guy Gibson be able to train his men to execute this madcap idea and destroy the Mohne, Sorpe and Ada dam?

The film does follow the stylistic traits of other British war films which were released at the time. The male characters are seen as heroes and it seems that they have attended public school. However, this is what other British films were like during the 1950's and it would be unfair to criticise it for this aspect.

Apart from being incredibly well-scripted, The Dam Busters has inspired other filmmakers. The scenes of 617 Squadron inside the Lancaster Bomber cockpits inspired George Lucas because it gave him an idea about how scenes inside the Millennium Falcon could be shot.

The historical accuracy of the film is not entirely true to real events. Although two of the three dams were penetrated, it does not show how many people died. Many members from 617 Squadron never returned, whereas hundreds of people died because their towns and cities were flooded after the Dams were destroyed. Although any portrayal of mass deaths in great detail would have ruined the climax of the film, a contemporary version should show just how many people lost their lives.

A truly great British war film which shows how much we owe to those who gave their lives in conflict, The Dam Busters remains one of the best war films of all time.

ACTORMichael Anderson
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ACTORMichael Redgrave
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ACTORUrsula Jeans
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ACTORCharles Carson
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ACTORStanley Van Beers
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ACTORColin Tapley
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ACTORFrederick Leister
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ACTOREric Messiter
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THE DAM BUSTERS, 1955