The Battle of the River Plate

The Battle of the River Plate

Michael Powell (1956)

U Certificate


Our Score
Though this true-life Second World War drama hardly rates alongside A Matter of Life and Death and The Red Shoes on the CV of writing/producing/directing duo Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, it is a tale well told and features some impressive location work - not least at sea in the Mediterranean. Peter Finch pulls off the role of a noble German officer (no mean feat in a British war film, even in the 1950s), captain of pocket battleship Graf Spee, the pursuit of which forms the basis of the action. Despite a surfeit of naval detail and some rather obvious shipboard sets, the climax in Montevideo makes it worthwhile viewing.


British naval forces pursue German battleship the Admiral Graf Spee, finally blockading the vessel in Montevideo harbour, where its commanding officer is faced with an impossible choice. Second World War adventure from Powell and Pressburger, starring John Gregson, Anthony Quayle, Peter Finch, Bernard Lee and Jack Gwillim.

Cast & Crew

Commodore Harwood Anthony Quayle
Capt Bell John Gregson
Capt Langsdorff Peter Finch
Capt Dove Bernard Lee
Capt Woodhouse Ian Hunter
Capt Barry Jack Gwillim
Mike Fowler Lionel Murton
Mr Millington-Drake Anthony Bushell
Lt Cdr Medley Patrick Macnee
Capt McCall Michael Goodlife
Director Michael Powell
Director Emeric Pressburger
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: J.A.R.F.D. LtdAvailable on: video and DVD