12th Jun2018

‘The Dam Busters: Collector’s Edition’ Blu-ray Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Richard Todd, Michael Redgrave, Ursula Jeans, Basil Sydney, Patrick Barr, Ernest Clark, Derek Farr, Charles Carson, Stanley Van Beers, Colin Tapley, Raymond Huntley, Hugh Manning | Written by R.C. Sherriff | Directed by Michael Anderson


Many of the classic World War 2 movies are based on real-life battles and events that led to the victory by the allied forces. The Dam Busters is one of the most famous of these, and now with a collector’s edition release to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the raid itself, we can look back and see how the film still holds up.

Focusing on Dr. Barnes N. Wallis (Michael Redgrave) and the men who flew the raid, The Dam Busters provides a dramatized version of just what it took to destroy the Ruhr Dams. A raid that although it seemed impossible, was managed through the creation of the bouncing bomb.

When looking at the style of Michael Anderson’s 1955 classic, The Dam Busters is a movie that shows more of a focus on the build-up to the raid, rather than the raid itself. While we do get to see the attack on the dams, they aren’t filmed in a way as to focus on the action, the focus is more on if the bomb itself worked and what impact it had.

While a bouncing bomb may not sound so revolutionary in these modern times, the way it was designed and actually used was. Created so it would bounce along the water, then cling to the dam as it sank, it would then explode and use the force of the water to maximise damage to the dam itself. An impressive engineering feat, it is still celebrated as one of the most important events of the war.

Even though the bomb is the focus, that doesn’t mean that the human element of the story is forgotten. Most of the focus is on Wallis and his struggles to get the bomb to work, but the film also takes time to introduce the men who had to fly the raid. They all played their part of course, with Wing Commander Guy Gibson (Richard Todd) providing a key way for the bombers to fly as low as they needed to.

Gibson of course also provides some of the controversy for the film, with the naming of his dog. This version of the film is fully uncut, and it is understandable that the remake of the film may change the dog’s name. The dog’s name shouldn’t overshadow the importance of the animal to the events though, as is shown in the film.

In this collector’s edition of The Dam Busters, there are plenty of special features, and this includes a documentary featuring the people who took part in the raid. This is a nice touch as it adds to the impact of the film and reminds us that the film is based on true events. Also included is a documentary on Dr Barnes N. Wallis, and the footage of the bouncing bomb being tested. These are all worth a watch to show the similarities between the movie and what happened in real-life.

The Dam Busters is one of those war movies that is a must-see. It is interesting that a remake is on its way, and it will be even more interesting to see what they focus on. A film that shows one of the most impressive inventive moments of World War 2 that helped shape the course of the war, and to further emphasise what these men and others did in the war, and how their bravery should never be forgotten.

***** 5/5

The Dam Busters: Collector’s Edition is available on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK now from Studio Canal.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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