Breaking the Sound Barrier (The Sound Barrier)
Breaking the Sound Barrier (The Sound Barrier) (1952)

Breaking the Sound Barrier juxtaposes the history of jet aviation with an intensely personal fictional story. Ralph Richardson plays a wealthy aircraft manufacturer, stubbornly determined to develop a jet that will travel faster than the… More

Directed By:
Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: July 22, 1952
DVD Release Date: May 27, 2008
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Critic Score: 80% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
David Denby
New Yorker

The aerodynamic issues in the movie may now be antiquated, but the excitement and beauty of early jet aviation are still irresistible.

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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader

Public excitement over jet travel helped make David Lean's 1952 British feature a big hit, though its science doesn't wash and its majestic aerial sequences are uneasily wedded to a starchy familial drama.

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Daniel Etherington

A great British film that celebrates technological achievement while also questioning the virtues of such achievement.

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Bosley Crowther
New York Times

This must be said about this picture: it soars far above its clumsy tag and it comes pretty close to being the most exalting of contemporary films.

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Variety Staff

Technically, artistically and emotionally, this is a topflight British offering.

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TV Guide

Richardson, in his understated way, is powerful, if not frightening, as an airplane manufacturer obsessed with breaking the sound barrier.

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Geoff Andrew
Time Out

Unfortunately, Terence Rattigan's script, while solidly structured, never probes beyond the basic conceit that an obsession which works towards the glory of mankind in general may wreak havoc on private lives.

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Empire Magazine

It's an interesting scientific-military soap opera, acted with stiff upper-lip restraint by a great cast, but Lean's visual sense really comes into play in the aerial sequences.

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Emanuel Levy

Ralph Richardson gives a brilliant performance in this British fact-based drama directed by David Lean.

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