DAMBUSTERS: Guy Gibson actor remembers much loved film

Richard Todd as Guy Gibson  Image: Optimum Releasing
Richard Todd as Guy Gibson Image: Optimum Releasing

In 1955 The Dam Busters became a box office smash and – to this day – it remains rated as one of the finest British films of all time.

Starring Richard Todd as Wing Commander Guy Gibson and Michael Redgrave as Barnes Wallis, it brought Operation Chastise to the big screen.

The Dam Busters film poster

The Dam Busters film poster

It was the most popular film at the British box office on the year of its release, and much of its success is down to its realism.

Work on the film began less than 10 years after the Second World War had ended, with many of the horrors of conflict still fresh in the nation’s psyche.

But that, according to Todd, only added to his power.

Sadly the Irish-born actor passed away in his Lincolnshire home in 2009, aged 90.

But a year earlier, he shared his memories of the film with the Boston Standard, claiming that using a number of former soldiers as actors created the realism.

“It’s the reason the film’s so good and so authentic,” said Todd, who, himself participated in the D-Day landing.

“The parts were played by people who knew what it was like.

“The film was much loved because it struck a chord with the audience who were suffering the aftermath of war.

“Then over the years people began enjoying it as entertainment.”

The Dam Busters movie was based on the 1951 book of the same name by Paul Brickhill, and 1946’s Enemy Coast Ahead, penned by Guy Gibson.

The film’s climactic ending has its own place in pop culture history, having inspired the famous Death Star attack in Star Wars: A New Hope and a series of Carling Black Label adverts.

A modern remake of the film has been announced.

It will be produced by three-time Oscar winner Peter Jackson, and the script has been penned by Stephen Fry.

The project, however, is currently said to be on hold, something which would certainly bring a smile to the face of Todd.

He told The Standard: “You can’t remake The Dam Busters. There is only one Dam Busters, which was a much loved and well remembered film.

“This remake idea is just to make money for people who already have a good idea in front of them.”