6.8/10
1,559
25 user 19 critic

The Sound Barrier (1952)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, War | 21 December 1952 (USA)
Fictionalized story of British aerospace engineers solving the problem of supersonic flight.

Director:

David Lean

Writers:

Terence Rattigan (story), Terence Rattigan (screenplay)
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ralph Richardson ... J.R.
Ann Todd ... Susan
Nigel Patrick ... Tony
John Justin ... Philip
Dinah Sheridan ... Jess
Joseph Tomelty ... Will
Denholm Elliott ... Chris
Jack Allen ... 'Windy'
Ralph Michael Ralph Michael ... Fletcher
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Storyline

Tony successful fighter pilot during World War II marries into the family of a wealthy oil magnate who also designs airplanes. The movie traces the company's attempt to break the sound barrier, as well as tensions between father and daughter. Lots of footage of early 50s jet aviation in Great Britain as well as shots of the Comet airliner, world's first jet passenger plane. Written by Henry Brugsch <henry@g0gku.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE SOUND BARRIER Tells Actual Story of Gripping Film and How SOUND BARRIER WAS BROKEN See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 December 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Breaking Through the Sound Barrier See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP250,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)| Mono (Sound Recording of the breaking of the sound barrier made by John W. Davies - afterwards known in the industry as Jack Sound.)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The flying sequences under the direction of Anthony Squire, were based at the Vickers aerodrome at Chilbolton near Nether Wallop in Hampshire. Squire managed to secure one of the last airworthy Avro Lancaster bombers for the task. The cameramen were positioned in the front and rear turrets while Squire conducted proceedings from the central astrodome. The Lancaster was replaced by a Vickers Valetta after all, but Squire had fallen asleep due to an oxygen supply failure. Luckily as he recalled, "They all woke up on the way down, like people in a fairy wood, but I didn't bother with the Lancaster again." See more »

Goofs

When Susan tells her husband she is pregnant, she tells him the baby is due around Christmas, but when the child is born, the weather is warm and sunny, suggesting the child is anything but a December baby. See more »

Quotes

Susan: Must it always be a fight?
John Ridgefield: Well, I think it must. It wasn't for nothing we were given so many weapons to fight with.
Susan: Such as?
John Ridgefield: Imagination, for one.
Susan: Which some people would call vision, don't they?
John Ridgefield: Yes, some people do.
Susan: I suppose another weapon is courage.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, immediately after the human actors, are listed four British aircraft: The de Havilland COMET The Vickers-Supermarine ATTACKER The de Havilland VAMPIRE 113 The Vickers-Supermarine SWIFT Rolls-Royce 'Avon' Engine See more »


Soundtracks

With Sword and Lance
(uncredited)
Music by Hermann Starke
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Intelligent and informative film, despite some limitations
9 July 2018 | by adrian-43767See all my reviews

I first watched THE SOUND BARRIER on TV in 1975, and liked it immensely, finding it both informative and intelligent in its presentation- It keeps the viewer interested to the end, no doubt because David Lean's direction is very good, at times even inspired, and it is helped by extremely competent cinematography and a credible screenplay. Sir Ralph Richardson is superb as JR, a man obsessed with building ever better aircraft in competition with de Havilland and other companies, to the point of driving his son (well played by Denholm Eliott) and his son in law (Nigel Patrick) to their deaths. I also liked John Justin as the pilot who finally breaks the sound barrier. Ann Todd, who was married to David Lean at the time, somehow does not seem right for the part. I would have liked to see Vivien Leigh or Kay Walsh in that part, as both conveyed their emotions more readily and in greater depth. The technical aspects are succintly but clearly presented, and the discussion about the telescope and how what you see there is from 700,000 light years, and more, ago, certainly makes me realize my insignificance, every time I see THE SOUND BARRIER. David Lean had just come from making three masterpieces. BRIEF ENCOUNTER, GREAT EXPECTATIONS and OLIVER TWIST, and this is a transitional film, which already carries some signs of the epic that would emerge with the superlative THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI, and be continued with LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, DR ZHIVAGO, RYAN'S DAUGHTER and, just before his death, PASSAGE TO INDIA. Recommended. 7/10


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