U certificateThe Dam Busters is a Film programme that first aired in 1954 and has been classified a U certificate.

The Dam Busters is a 5 star programme

Image for the Film programme "The Dam Busters"

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The Dam Busters (1954)

Directed by
Michael Anderson Jr.

One of the finest films about the Second World War, Michael Anderson's classic takes some beating. A pretty straightforward re-enactment of the bouncing bomb raid on the Ruhr valley in 1943, it's well told, has some solid performances, good FX for its time, very little sloppy romance and a tremendously stirring soundtrack.

Richard Todd excels as Wing Commander Guy Gibson, the man who led the famous raid by 617 Squadron, while Michael Redgrave is convincing if a little bit too bumbly as boffin Barnes Wallis, the gifted inventor of the unique bomb. Look out also for super little cameos from Bill Kerr (as Flight Lt HB Martin) and Robert Shaw (as Flight Sgt. J Pulford).

The Dam Busters has not had the easiest of rides of late. Those who believe the raid was a sideshow and morale booster during hostilities complain that Anderson's 1955 film hypes up the operation, making it a turning point during the war. And in these PC times, "Nigger!" - the actual radio signal indicating a dam had burst - has been edited out for TV broadcast.

Away from that controversy, there's plenty of trivia for movie and aircraft buffs to enjoy: the film includes one of the first (uncredited) roles by Patrick McGoohan. He's briefly seen as a guard on a door. And although Avro Lancaster bombers were used for the filming, it's been suggested that the later Avro Lincoln bombers may have used as set-dressing.

Anoraks aside, all in all, it's an essential, top-notch film to watch.

Written by ,

Genre: Film

Production Year: 1954

5/5 Stars

Classification: U Certificate

Production Country: UK

Filmed in Black and White


Image for Michael RedgraveMichael Redgrave...Dr. Barnes N. Wallis
Ursula Jeans...Mrs. Wallis
Charles Carson...Doctor
Stanley Van Beers...Sir David Pye
Colin Tapley...Dr. W.H. Glanville
Frederick Leister...Committee Member
Eric Messiter...Committee Member
Laidman Browne...Committee Member
Raymond Huntley...Official at National Physical Laboratory
Hugh Manning...Official at Ministry of Aircraft Production
Patrick Barr...Capt. Joseph Summers
Edwin Styles...Observer at trials
Hugh Moxey...Observer at trials
Anthony Shaw...RAF Officer at trials
Basil Sydney...Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris