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  1. "The Dam Busters" (1955) is most likely a film you've never before heard of, but if you don't know the story it tells, it is a film almost as compelling as one which accurately recalls the Normandy Invasions, or more contemporary to us, "The Imitation Game." The Dam Busters is very British, and seems as though it makes every attempt to reenact the incredible bombing of three German dams without embellishment - there are, I suppose, some dramatic additions and certainly some suppositions made, but they're kept to a bare minimum, and the film is executed with a stark, minimalist style that - at least for the first half - can even come off as being a bit dry. But the story itself is so important that everyone should know about it, and the only better way to learn about it would be to read a non-fiction book (and that would be *really* dry). The final 45 minutes of this film is action-packed, but not gratuitously - it's just a reenactment of an amazing mission carried out in WWII by the British, and the cinematographic effects of the actual mission are flat-out *great*. This film is an absolute must for anyone falling into one of these categories: 1) People with an interest in WWII 2) Historians 3) Fans of documentaries, even though this isn't a documentary (in fact, I suppose it couldn't really be called "non-fiction," but it's as close as you can come to that, while still being a movie made to entertain audiences (as opposed to pure education)). While I can't blanket-recommend the movie to everyone, because it is indeed dry in the first half, as they're working out the details of the mission, recruiting the troops, selling the plan to the bureaucrats, etc., for those in one of the above-three categories, I can recommend it without reservation. However, there is an unfortunate warning I must issue which will take up a disproportionate amount of this post, and there's no easy way to say it, so I'm just going to say it: There is a shocking (by our time's standards) use of the "N" word - not used in any type of directly derogatory way, but used in a remarkably casual fashion: It's the name of a black lab, a dog that today, we could easily name "Blackie" or "Midnight." And, as a result of this dog's unfortunate name, it's also a "code word" in the mission (which is mentioned only once in the film). It's shocking watching people use this word with no more reaction or emotion than saying "Fido" or "Rover" - it stands out like a sore thumb, but in the film's defense, it just does not appear to be meant as anything insulting - I know of some French sayings that incorporate a similar word that have been around for hundreds of years, and are still used today without any thought or malice by the person speaking them, although a general awareness is certainly coming over French (and almost certainly British) society. If this offends you - and I don't think it should, because it's not meant to - then stay away from The Dam Busters. It's such a minor part of the movie, but I'd be negligent if I didn't mention it - more disturbing to me is the fact that I do not remember one, single person of color in the entire film. I hate this characteristic in old films, but there's no point in boycotting them, because that will achieve nothing - my personal philosophy about 20th-century racism is to acknowledge, to mourn, to atone if you can, and to never go back there again. I must stress: This is but one example of millions, and is no more racist than society was in general, so if you boycott this, it would be consistent to boycott almost everything in the world before a certain era. Oh! I completely forgot about what might be the most interesting thing to today's audiences: Star Wars paid direct homage to this film in the final attack scene of the Death Star, when the Jedi fighters fly into the seam of the Death Star before shooting. This is not supposition on my part; it's a stated fact - my guess is that George Lucas remembered the actual attack - and "The Dam Busters" very well when he made Star Wars. That alone is reason enough to watch the film, and it's not a subtle reference; it's a screamingly obvious tribute.
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