The true story of Dr Barnes Wallis (Michael Redgrave), whose invention of the 'Bouncing Bomb' is greeted with scepticism in the Second World War. However, RAF Wing Commander Guy Gibson proves the bomb's worth in a daring mission to destroy the German Ruhr Dams. Also starring Richard Todd and Ursula Jeans.
Something of a cult item among British war movies (and brilliantly spoofed a few years back by a lager ad), The Dam Busters
turns a minor World War II incident into a saga of heroic stiff-upper-lippery in the classic British style. A bombing raid is proposed on a strategically vital Ruhr dam, but its position is inaccessible. Enter eccentric inventor Dr Barnes Wallis (Michael Redgrave in best daffy professor mode) who comes up with a genius idea--a bomb that will bounce on water like a skimmed pebble. Naturally the top brass pooh-pooh it, but gallant Wing Commander Guy Gibson (Richard Todd) is persuaded, and between them flyer and boffin forge ahead. The touches of carefully understated emotion now verge on self-parody, but it's hard not to get caught up in the narrative sweep, especially when the bombers take off on their mission and Eric Coates' stirring march hits the soundtrack. The modelwork, state-of-the-art for its early 1950s period, still looks impressive, and the death of Gibson's beloved black Labrador (embarrassingly called Nigger) is a three-hanky moment to rival the shooting of Bambi's mum. --Philip Kemp
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.