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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