Dam Busters, The (Blu-ray) (1954)

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Released 6-Nov-2014

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category War Featurette-The Dam Busters: 617 Squadron Remembers (56:28)
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1954
Running Time 125:06
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Michael Anderson
Ass British Pic Corp
Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Michael Redgrave
Ursula Jeans
Richard Todd
Stanley Van Beers
Patrick Barr
Basil Sydney
Ernest Clark
Derek Farr
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music leighton lucas

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 2.0 mono
French DTS HD Master Audio 2.0 mono
Italian DTS HD Master Audio 2.0 mono
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     The Dam Busters is the classic British war film released in 1955 about the bombing of three Ruhr Dams on the night of 16/17 May 1943 by Lancasters of the specially formed 617 Squadron under the command of Wing Commander Guy Gibson (Richard Todd). To destroy the dams required a special bouncing bomb, and the film starts in the spring of 1942 with the invention of the bomb by Dr. Barnes Wallis (Michael Redgrave) and continues with his struggles to perfect his experiment and to gain Air Ministry support. The film then switches to the selection and training of 617 Squadron and culminates in the mission.

     The Dam Busters is a great film, well made and well-acted. The film was made at a time when they could use real Lancaster bombers for many of the flying sequences which is a treat for those interested in WW2 aircraft, and models are only used where necessary. Certainly, in the attack on the dams the film shows its age but without modern CGI the attack is tense and exciting and the film was nominated for an Oscar for special effects, but lost out to The Bridges at Toko-Ri. The very stiff upper lip shown by all the characters also places the film in an earlier era of filmmaking, as does the dog named “Nigger”, but the story is so compelling and the main characters so interesting it really does not matter.

     Sixty years after its release The Dam Busters remains superb example of British filmmaking.

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Transfer Quality


     The Dam Busters is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, close to the original 1.37:1 theatrical ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     The DVD of The Dam Busters has been around for a while and was reviewed on this site here. The reviewer noted “a more-or-less continuous smattering of small marks and scratches throughout, which for the most part are likely to be only a minor distraction, particularly if you are engrossed in the story. There are also some larger marks such as that at 113:02, and few long vertical scratches such as the one beginning at 42:10. Film grain is evident throughout and is particularly noticeable in the aerial shots.”

     In this Blu-ray most of the small marks have been removed although some vertical scratches are still evident, such as at 28:50 or 41:00, as is the grain in flying sequences with real aircraft. There was also some motion blur, such as the bomb drop at 20:09. Yet, the film is always watchable and the blacks were mostly solid, the shades of greys good. Detail varied, but was mostly fine.

    There are subtitles available in English for the hearing impaired, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     Audio is a choice between English, French or Italian DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono.

     Dialogue was always clear and easy to understand. Effects where understandably flat although the aircraft engines and flak during the attack on the dams were acceptable. Other than an occasional slight hum with some engines the audio was clean. There was no surround or subwoofer use.

     The original score by Leighton Lucas is seldom heard. The more noticeable theme is the Dam Buster’s March by Eric Coates.

     Lip synchronisation fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


The Dam Busters: 617 Squadron Remembers (56:28)

     Presented by Max Arthur, author of Dambusters, this 2010 documentary utilises interviews with five members of 617 Squadron, archive and film footage. Items covered include the formation and training of the squadron, the character of Guy Gibson (rather different than portrayed in the film), the raid itself and the losses incurred. This is an insightful and real, and an excellent addition to the Blu-ray.


    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     There is not currently a Region A US release of The Dam Busters and the Region B UK “Special Anniversary Edition” has the same extra as ours, although listed as having LPCM 2.0 audio.


     The Dam Busters is a classic British war film, now almost 60 years old. The Blu-ray video is an improvement over the previous DVD release, the audio is acceptable and there is an excellent documentary added to the package.

     As an aside: the DVD, which is still available, is rated G while this Blu-ray is rated PG!

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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