Last month, distributor StudioCanal released a pimped-to-the-gills Blu-ray / DVD edition of Michael Anderson’s 1955 war epic The Dam Busters, to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the raid described in the film. In it, you see the preparations and eventual execution of “Operation Chastise”, in which Lancaster bombers with specifically designed bouncing bombs managed to breach several dams in Germany, temporarily crippling German industry.
It’s a dry film for most of its running time, detailing the design and testing of the bombs, people trying to convince the upper echelons about the raid’s possible effectiveness and risks… But in its finale, the actual raid happens, and whoa!! I remember seeing it as a kid and being totally floored. The sequence was filmed using real Lancaster bombers combined with (at the time) groundbreaking special effects, and is said to have been a major influence on many other films, including the original Star Wars.
Films about war are often difficult to like though, or resemble an endurance test. War being hell, you get treated to the immeasurable suffering on both sides, or worse: you get an insultingly stupid jingoistic hero tale.
The good ones do shine though. So let’s make that the subject of this week: what is your favorite war film, or film about war? What attracted you to it? Did it show the best of humanity or the worst of it?
Chime in, in the comments below, and HAVE YOUR SAY!!