Jackson’s new WW1 film means further delay for Dambusters remake

Peter Jackson was in London this week promoting his new cinema project, using all his studio’s technical skills to bring new life to jerky film footage shot during the First World War. The Imperial War Museum apparently holds many hours of this material: it is being enhanced by Jackson and his team, and combined with audio interviews recorded in later years to make a full length feature film.

Everyone would agree that this is a very worthy venture, and that it will also showcase the cinematic techniques for which the Jackson team is justifiably famous. However, anyone with an interest in a certain other project which is supposed to be in his studio’s pipeline will feel more than a little deflated that this would now appear to be his priority. We are, of course, talking about the remake of the 1955 film The Dam Busters, which has now been on the cards for almost 15 (yes 15!) years.

This thought occurred to Zoah Hedges-Stocks, a journalist on the Daily Telegraph, who has noted the box office success achieved by a couple of recent Second World War-themed films:

“With both Dunkirk and Darkest Hour nominated for Oscars and making millions at the box office, cinema-goers appear to have rediscovered the power of a good Second World War movie,” her article begins. “But another big-budget, awards-worthy tale of wartime bravery was supposed to have been released before them both – Peter Jackson’s remake of the 1955 classic The Dam Busters.”

Hedges-Stocks goes on to explore the twists and turns taken by the remake in a 3,ooo word article which is an excellent summary of the sad story. It contains copious quotations from your always-humble correspondent, but that is not the only reason why it should be commended. As well as pointing out the continued public appetite for Second World War stories, she has placed the original film in its historical context.

Predictably, Jackson’s studio did not reply to the Telegraph’s email queries. One day, perhaps, they will tell us all what the hell is going on.

[NB: You may have to register with the Telegraph to read Hedges-Stocks’s article in full. However, you get one free Premium article a week, so bookmark this one for the future, if you’ve already used up your quota. It will be worth it, honest!]


17 thoughts on “Jackson’s new WW1 film means further delay for Dambusters remake

  1. Patricia Desmier (née Spafford) January 25, 2018 / 9:33 pm

    Such a shame that this remake is further delayed,especially as there are so many of our heroes who have passed away into the great beyond lately.I should love to see this get the go ahead before time overtakes those who are left.💙

  2. Jim Crawford January 26, 2018 / 12:10 am

    Has no other studio shown any interest in doing a re-make? Jackson may have certain “rights” for a re-make but why is’nt any interest shown elswhere?

  3. richard hickmott January 26, 2018 / 9:09 am

    I read this the other day. It has proved (yet again) my damning words as regards Jackson and his apathy towards the Dam Busters remake.

    Concur with Jim Crawford, I wish someone with a genuine respect for those who participated in the Dams raid would take the project over…. before we all die!

    I guess Jacko would demand too much money to make the project worthwhile. A crying shame.

  4. Dom Howard (Great Nephew of Cyril Anderson) January 26, 2018 / 9:43 am

    One would have thought this being the 75th Anniversary he / the studio would have thought more about this, or are they waiting till there is no one in living memory who would be able to point out mistakes…. Missed 70th, Missed 75th ………. wonder if it will be made for the 100th!!! … I might still be around!!!

    • richard hickmott February 1, 2018 / 10:41 am

      Concur. Can’t see this remake will EVER get made as long as Jacko is pulling the strings. He seems to talk the talk but so far has yet to crawl, let alone the walk.

  5. Vic Jay January 26, 2018 / 10:06 am

    Maybe Peter Jackson will now have time to consider if a remake of a classic is the best use of his talents. There are some terrific stories about Bomber Command that would make great movies, and I for one am becoming a little tired of the media’s focus on the Dambusters. It is ironic that, in his memoirs, Guy Gibson mentioned the resentment felt by some members of Bomber Command at the perceived hero worship of the ‘scarf-flapping glamour boys’ of Fighter Command.

    • richard hickmott February 1, 2018 / 10:48 am

      Vic – a couple of points:

      1) “Maybe Peter Jackson will now have time to consider if a remake of a classic is the best use of his talents”. He first announced the remake in circa 2006. How much more time does he need to ‘consider’?

      2) Gibson wrote his memoirs. That’s as well as (allegedly) writing ‘Enemy Coast Ahead’… and his junket to the US, toe-dipping in politics and a desk job, in just over a 12 month period before his sad demise.

  6. JAMES RENWICK January 26, 2018 / 11:32 am


  7. Mohne all the time . January 26, 2018 / 2:24 pm

    I agree here with Dom Howard ..The last thing Jackson would want is to be criticised by Dambuster veterans (2), Mary Stopes-Roe (Barnes Wallis’s daughter) , and many Dambuster relatives and Dambuster fans who may not like the changes that he would make to the film to make it more PC for the generation of today . I feel that by the time it is made (if ever) there will be no audience with any interest at all .. Take Dunkirk and the new Churchill film, the only people you hear talk about it or even want to go and watch it are people who have a knowledge of who and what they are . I would bet my old pit cap that this will never be re-made in my life time .. and to be honest I would be pleased ..

  8. James O'Fee January 26, 2018 / 9:41 pm

    I don’t see what the problem is,at least he is doing work on our military history,we have enough talent in this country to do this sort of work but they don’t,i also think the important people IE: bomber command won’t mind after all they waited what 70 yrs for a campaign medal and monument (which they had to pay for themselves, shamefull to the 55,000 aircrew that were killed), still we got a nice statue of Nelson Mandella by canary wharf.I hope when the film is made it is accurate considering the Uk played major roles in the war it is a shame that more Uk personell don’t produce more movies to commemorate the true bravery of our fallen I think you’ll be surprised how many people would appreciate it being made particularly veterans. [EDITED]

  9. Chris Bagley January 28, 2018 / 7:48 pm

    One question, Where are the Lancasters for the film coming from?

  10. Andy April 9, 2018 / 9:53 pm

    There have been several full sized none flying lancs made for the film, at present they are stored in New Zealand, where they were made.

  11. Geoff Carruth May 22, 2018 / 7:28 pm

    Why not just ditch Jackson and find someone who really cares about the story, it deserves to be told again.

  12. Herman August 18, 2018 / 7:07 pm

    Can’t see the point of remaking it. You only have to watch Dunkirk to see what a travesty results when a WW2 story is subjected to PC revision. You aren’t even allowed to know that “the enemy” are German! And all the press attention seems to be on Gibson’s dog. I’m a dyed in the wool WW2 history freak, if I can’t be bothered, I’m sure there’s a small audience for this one.

  13. JS September 24, 2018 / 4:02 am

    Really sad to see how people take the history today… Jackson wants to make a movie of a real hero story about man of courage,. And the man who flew these damraids deserve a new movie to be told another 75 years!! I was last week in a village in holland “Den Ham” where they still honouring one of these dambusters called: “les knight” the man who cracked the ederdam and i was proud to could be there! He was killed on 15 september 43 this man is after 75 years in holland still be honoured for his heroic actions! I hope the movie will be made and the dambusters still go on for another 75 years!!

  14. RdS October 3, 2018 / 12:30 pm

    According to Ian Nathan’s book on Peter Jackson it’s just a case of the financing not coming through.

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