The Sound Barrier

The Sound Barrier

David Lean (1952)

U Certificate


Our Score
Terence Rattigan's script was Oscar-nominated, but the main honours in this David Lean film are shared between the stunning aerial sequences and the fine performance by Ralph Richardson as an aeroplane designer driven by the goal of producing the first craft to outstrip the speed of sound. The film is an illustration of Bernard Shaw's dictum that history is made by unreasonable people or, at least, by those single-minded enough to pursue their visions, regardless of the emotional cost to their families or themselves. Not one of Lean's masterpieces, but a solid enough effort.


An aircraft manufacturer risks alienating his friends and family in a single-minded attempt to prove planes can exceed the speed of sound. David Lean's drama, written by Terence Rattigan and starring Ralph Richardson, Ann Todd, Nigel Patrick, Dinah Sheridan and Denholm Elliott.

Cast & Crew

John Ridgefield Ralph Richardson
Susan Garthwaite Ann Todd
Tony Garthwaite Nigel Patrick
Phillip Peel John Justin
Jess Peel Dinah Sheridan
Will Sparks Joseph Tomelty
Christopher Ridgefield Denholm Elliott
Windy Williams Jack Allen
Fletcher Ralph Michael
ATA officer Vincent Holman
Controller Douglas Muir
Controller Leslie Phillips
Test Bed operator Robert Brooks Turner
Peter Makepeace Anthony Snell
Baby John Jolyon Jackley
Director David Lean
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteAvailable on: video, DVD and Blu-ray