2 September 2014
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The Dam Busters (c) Rex


Cinemas across the UK, Tuesday September 4.


(1955) Dr Barnes Wallis creates a revolutionary new bouncing bomb to destroy the Ruhr dams and flood Nazi Germany's industrial heartland. Wing Commander Guy Gibson and his 617 Squadron take on the task.

Read the full synopsis on BFI Screenonline.


Michael Anderson


R.C. Sherriff


  • Richard Todd ((Wing Commander Guy Gibson))
  • Michael Redgrave (Dr. Barnes N. Wallis)
  • Derek Farr (Group Captain J.N.H. Whitworth)
  • Ursula Jeans (Mrs Wallis)
  • Basil Sydney (Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris)

  • Full cast and credits on BFI Screenonline.


Adapted from Guy Gibson's own book Enemy Coast Ahead, Michael Anderson's docudrama captures the tension and bravery of this audacious raid on the centre of Nazi Germany's industrial complex, and the quintessentially English combination of inventiveness and dogged determination.

Anderson had made his name as an assistant director, and had directed only a few small features before being offered The Dam Busters. With key actors in place, he spent two years researching the story and the principal characters.

This approach explains the documentary feel of much of the film, especially in the detail of the bureaucratic obstacles to Barnes Wallis's plan.

The decision was made to shoot the film in black and white, in order to allow the integration of original footage of the bomb trails, and to preserve a 'gritty', documentary-style reality.

Read the full analysis on BFI Screenonline.


On paper "The Dam Busters" is exciting but the film works brilliantly in allowing the suspense to slowly build as the viewer invests their hopes and fears into this remarkable story. The reward is a slick conclusion that rattles along at a pace that would put many Hollywood blockbusters to shame.

Read the full review at BBC Movies.

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