BFI page on The Dam Busters

The British Film Institute is a treasure trove of material for anyone interested in the history of cinema, and much of it is now online. Check out, for instance, its page on Michael Anderson’s classic film, and you will find links to stills, other stuff about the cast and crew, and a wonderful, slightly sniffy, contemporary review from the BFI’s own Monthly Film Bulletin, which ends:

The film is over-long (the flying sequences include some repetition) and the music score is, regrettably, very blatant; but despite these drawbacks, a mood of sober respect is maintained.

Little did the reviewer know how popular the ‘blatant’ musical score would become.

My favourite piece of Dam Busters trivia derives from the scene shown above, showing on the left the great Robert Shaw, later to star in no less a movie than Jaws, where he ends up meeting a spectacularly gory end. Here he plays flight engineer Sergeant John Pulford, which means he gets to sit alongside Richard Todd, playing Guy Gibson, for a large section of the film but has very few words to say. Their on-screen interaction is thought to be a pretty accurate reflection of the real life relationship between Pulford and Gibson.

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2 thoughts on “BFI page on The Dam Busters

  1. Marianne Smits-Jansen October 18, 2010 / 10:24 am

    Last night the Documentary “Dambusters Declassified” was shown on BBC2, very interesting, this sheds a new light on the story. I think when a new film is being made, that this documentary should be taken into account, in order to show a really correct view of what happened at the time.
    Although many people were killed as a result of the bombing of the dams, I am still happy it happened, if this bombing had not taken place, we in The Netherlands (and more countries in Western Europe) would have suffered for many more months, and this would have killed many more people in our country. The Germans started this awful war, almost every single person in Germany was a “Hitler fan”, there were only very few people who were against him! So this is an omission even in Martin Shaw’s documentary Dambusters Declassified”.
    Marianne Smits-Jansen
    Roermond, The Netherlands.

  2. Marianne Smits-Jansen October 18, 2010 / 11:26 am

    I am not sure what you mean when stating “your comment is awaiting moderation”. Do you mean moderation by you, or do you mean that I have to change what I wrote? Not one word of what I wrote is untrue, I was 12 years old when we were liberated by the British army in september 1944, as a child I’ve seen Jewish people being arrested, and deported by German military, and I know they were murdered thereafter in one of the concentration camps. I will never forget these terrible years from May 1940 until 25-09-1944, the day Helmond (near Eindhoven) was liberated. So I don’t think there is any probability of me changing my comments.
    Marianne Smits-Jansen
    Roermond, The Netherlands.
    ma.smits@hetnet.nl

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