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4.6 out of 5 stars38
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 18 March 2012
The owner (Ralph Richardson) of an aircraft company is determined to break the sound barrier. To this end, despite the trepidation from his daughter (Ann Todd), he recruits his son in law (Nigel Patrick) as a test pilot for his program in spite of the dangers. Thirty years before THE RIGHT STUFF, David Lean directed this fictionalized story from a screenplay by Terence Rattigan (SEPARATE TABLES) which was both a critical and popular hit in its day. While Oscar winner Jack Hildyard's (BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI) aerial footage is spectacular, the narrative itself is a rather hoary piece with the daredevil pilot heroics and the waiting wives. What the film does convey very well is the excitement that those pilots and aircraft engineers must have felt during the transition from propeller planes to the jet travel. Richardson's tightly wound performance was greatly admired when the film came out, he won the New York Film Critics award for best actor. But today, the technical inaccuracies (not to mention that Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in 1947) preclude the film from being anything more than a curio and it's probably one of Lean's least seen films. The underscore is by Malcolm Arnold. With John Justin (THIEF OF BAGDAD), Denholm Elliott and Dinah Sheridan.

The Optimum DVD via Great Britian is a pristine transfer in its appropriate 1.33 aspect ratio.
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on 7 March 2010
I have given this product 3 stars only because although the film itself is top notch with a wonderful story brilliantly acted by a strong cast and plenty of aviation action, the sound on this particular transfer is quite appalling. Studio Canal seem to have a problem with audio when they (so called) "remaster" these older films and one is left wishing that they had left well alone. There is a constant "pulsing" on the soundtrack, most evident when the background music is playing long sustained notes, which is extremely intrusive and distracting. It starts on the chimes of Big Ben at the "London Films" ident logo and continues throughout the whole film.

This is one of two recent purchases of Studio Canal DVDs (the other being "Hobson's Choice") which have this same audio defect. I have an old VHS recording of this film and the sound is far superior than this DVD; it being an older, non-digital version.

If you can find this film released by any other company than "Studio Canal" then go for it but as for this particular version, leave well alone. I will definitely not be buying any more DVDs made by Studio Canal.

Amazon are in no way at fault here; they delivered the product quickly and well packaged, as always. My only gripe is with Studio Canal and their very poor sound processing.
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on 17 February 2009
I was given a mission from my dad to find this on dvd as he hadn't seen the film since he was a kid. Needless to say it turned out to be the best xmas present ever (as you know dads are notoriously difficult to buy for). Quality was perfect and it brought back a lot of memories for him. He would definitley recommend for others born around the 1940's with an interest in aeroplanes.
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on 16 May 2015
Writer Rattigan himself served in the RAF and has used aviation in the story line of other drama notably The Flare Path. As with most of his work surfaces are deceptive, his craft as a writer so complete that it is not noticed. Beneath the 'some blighter pranged my kite' interplay serious themes arise. The film opens with a still life image as of a Nash war painting: a crashed Nazi aeroplane downed by the superior technology of the Spitfire ascending overhead like a lark.
Propeller aircraft are already being replaced by jets. Ralph Richardson plays the designer so driven to break the sound barrier he becomes a spectre within his own family. In this quest he appears unmoved by the loss of his son and his chief test pilot. The story focus is on the relationships between the designer and his family and the men and women aiming to break the barrier. There is some anachronism in the role of men who find themselves unable to explain the determination to reach and break through this limit at any cost and the women who provide a home base for them to set out from, and possibly return to.
The tension is high as Rattigan and Lean combine script and visual tautness at times referencing horror and thriller genres. Ultimately the struggle is not only within and between characters but against science, malevolent or benevolent? In the closing scenes we see a delta wing aircraft on the designer's desk , is this the beginning of civil Concorde, Space Shuttle or a military machine to deliver intercontinental nuclear armageddon?
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on 28 February 2001
David Lean's film follows one man's dream to build the first supersonic jet. Ralph Richardson is excellent as the obsessed aircraft designer who is willing to risk all,including his family, to achieve his goal. David Lean focuses on Richardson's powerfully destructive ego,keeping the film aloft with some intense flight scenes as the new jet is test-piloted. 'The Sound Barrier' is a great film about one man defying nature and public belief. It is a reminder of what can be achieved and that the laws of science are there to be broken. A must see for all David Lean fans!
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VINE VOICEon 15 June 2008
The DVD version of "Breaking the sound barrier" 1952, a David Lean production, that I watched is disk one of "The World War Collection" May 27, 2008; this is funny as it has nothing to do with a war.

Originally produced by London Films. Copyright 1952 British Lion Film Corporation Ltd. at Shepperton. With the co-operation of the Ministry of Supply and the Director and Members of the Society of British Aircraft Constructors.

The film itself had Great Briton 1952 typed all over it. We get lots of footage of different 50's jets (The de Havilland COMET, The Vickers-Supermarine ATTACKER, the de Havilland VAMPIRE 113, and The Vickers-Supermarine SWIFT Rolls-Royce `Avon' Engine.)

The basic Story and Screenplay by Terence Rattigan is of a father and owner of an aircraft industry. He wants to have the mysterious and unknown sound barrier broken. His excuse is "because it is there." It appears to his daughter that he is rather callus and will sacrifice the lives of his own son (Denholm Elliott who played Dr. Marcus Brody in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) and son-in-law to accomplish his goal. Will father and daughter come to terms or understanding of each other's world or will the daughter save her son from a similar fait in the insatiable clutches of her father.
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on 15 March 2009
Vintage 50's aircraft - for aviation buffs only - this is a must, to see classic footage of vintage Supermarine and DH jets.
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on 12 November 2010
Long before "The Right Stuff" the British did their own take on breaking the sound barrier in this film released in 1952. As it WAS made in 1952, five years after Chuck Yeager actually did break the barrier in real life, "The Sound Barrier" is pure fiction and technologically plain wrong in it's plot device that posits that at the barrier the controls of an aeroplane are reversed. Of course, they are NOT. But it makes for a good movie and if you are a fan of early British jet aircraft there are plenty to see in this film - the Comet, Vampire, Attacker, and Swift all make guest appearances.

So, if you suspend belief over the technical issues it is still an entertaining film and well worth getting. The big bonus is that it is a RESTORED copy - excellent quality film AND the sound must have been remastered too because all the voices and music were crisp and clean.
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on 21 January 2016
What a fantastic british film, simlple story line, fine acting, emotional another great film by David Lean britains greatest film director. I wish we could make these sorts of films today in Britain but we dont have the directors of Leans standing and everything is hollywood special effects rubbish.
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on 18 May 2016
Great film for nostalgia of a time gone by. I was 11 when this was released and, although dated, technically suspect and factually incorrect in places, it was an absorbing watch. The restored version is first class in both sound and picture quality and a fine addition to my DVD collection.
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