February 22, 2017


The Dam Busters – 1955 | 119mins | War | B&W


Plot Synopsis

The Dam Busters

Adapted by R.C. Sherriff from Guy Gibson’s book Enemy Coast Ahead, The Dam Busters is a docudrama following the conception and implementation of a new British weapon for smashing the German dams in the Ruhr industrial complex during World War II.

In 1942, Dr Barnes Wallis (Michael Redgrave) was possessed with a seemingly absurd idea – the creation of a revolutionary bouncing bomb to destroy the Ruhr dams and paralyse Germany’s heartland. This film describes the development of the bouncing bomb, showing Barnes Wallis shooting marbles across a bath tub of water as the idea begins to form, through to devising a particularly simple bombsight and altimeter that had to be developed. The film is a tribute to the genius of Barnes Wallis who fought persistent scepticism and disbelief from Whitehall that such a feat was possible. Major disappointments accompany the initial trials, the casing of the bomb has to be drastically re-designed, and it transpires that the aircraft will need to approach the dam considerably lower and faster than had been predicted.

A special Squadron 617 is formed and selected to carry out the attack on the dams harnessing the energy of the rivers Moehne, Eder and Sorbe, led by Wing-Commander Guy Gibson (Richard Todd) who is given responsibility for the sortie and intensive training. The climax of the film, the actual attack on the German dams is rather a disappointment due to some unimpressive special effects.

Production Team

Michael Anderson: Director
Erwin Hillier: Cinematography
Richard Best: Editing
Louis Levy: Music
Eric Coates: Music
Leighton Lucas: Music
WA Whittaker: Producer
Robert Clark: Producer
Robert Jones: Production Design
RC Sherriff: Script


Michael Redgrave: Dr Barnes Wallis
Ursula Jeans: Mrs Wallis
Charles Carson: Doctor
Stanley Van Beers: Sir David Pye
Colin Tapley: Doctor WH Glanville
Raymond Huntley: Official from Ministry of Aircraft
Patrick Barr: Captain Joseph Summers
Anthony Shaw: RAF Officer at trials
Basil Sydney: Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris
Derek Farr: Group Captain JNH Whitworth
Laurence Naismith: Farmer
Frank Phillips: BBC Announcer
Richard Todd: Wing Commander Guy Gibson
Brewster Mason: Flight Lieutenant RD Trevor-Roper
Anthony Doonan: Flight Lieutenant REG Hutchison
Nigel Stock: Flight Officer FM Spafford
Brian Nissen: Flight Lieutenant AT Taerum
Robert Shaw: Flight Sergeant Pulford

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