on January 21, 2004
633 Squadron is a great war movie to see. I read the back of my DVD version of this epic drama and I saw at the beginning of the story that the movie was based on a true story in WWII.
The Allies learn that the Nazis are building launch pads for their new V-1 rockets to launch againist the Normandy invasion, but the one thing that keeps them from launching is a special rocket fuel that they need from fuel factory located underneath a mountain inside a Norwegian fjord. The only way to stop the threat is send a group of Mosquito bombers to bomb the mountain because it has a earth fissure inside of it. If the bombers succeed, the mountain will bury the factory forever. Can Roy Grant and 633 Squadron pull it off? You'll find out in this exciting epic war drama. I recemend it for war movie buffs and model buffs too. Give this movie a try, those who liked Battle of Britain, will love this movie.
on June 18, 2004
Okay, I admit it - I excuse all the obvious failings of this forty-year-old film already noted by other reviewers because of the airplanes. DeHavilland's experience building high-performance airplanes from the original naturally-occurring composite material (wood) conserved strategic materials and produced the fastest airplane in the world for at least two years running during World War II. One of the few successful airplanes designed after the beginning of the war to be produced in quantity (over 7700 in dozens of versions in six factories on three continents), the Mossie is truly the star of this film. We may not think much of most of the scenes on the ground, but losses were a grim reality. The determination of the crews to defend their homeland and fight to liberate others while coping with their own fear and mortality shows us the best qualities of that great generation. Even if some of the acting was as wooden as the airplanes.
My biggest complaint about the show was the actual destruction of two or three precious Mossies (Robertson's two prangs and another plowing into a fuel bowser). I second the craving for better sound - for those of you who can't get enough of the sound of a Merlin or two singing that most beautiful and alluring of mechanical siren songs, visit [...] and go to "Donated Files." Scroll down to "Sounds," and get an earful. I turned up the computer speakers and played the "fly-past" clip, and my wife (upstairs in the bedroom) thought we had been buzzed!!
on October 13, 2000
Several reviewers are right-on-target here about the virtue of this film is its use of actual Mosquito bombers. The point is that by sacrificing weight by going to all wood, the mosquito could fly very fast like a fighter (self-defense against enemy fighters) yet BOMB targets. Its was the world's first fighter-bomber by design. The rarity of flying footage is that the aircraft was DISPOSABLE by design and the glue that held these planes together has fallen apart over the years leaving us only one plane left in flying condition!
What I derive is that today we could today build in war-winning large quantities (can't do this with expensive F/A-18s, Harriers) an inexpensive disposible "Mosquito" attack plane using composites like Burt Rutan's ARES "mudfighter" and have it as either manned or unmanned to perform attack missions flying from dirt strips or grassy fields like the 633 Squadron does for better response to our ground troops.
We should re-edit this movie with 21st century Mosquito model effects and see if it stands up to its copy-cat Star Wars "death star" fighter-bomber sequence?
on December 9, 2003
The last time I watched this movie, it suddenly occurred to me that its climax can be best explained in Freudian terms. Perhaps the power of these underlying sexual connotations, along with the unforgettable music, is the reason why this part of the movie -- despite its Airfix special effects -- is so impressive.
The lead-up -- the usual subplots about love in wartime and angst over the possibility of making the ultimate sacrifice-- is mediocre to say the least, but once the squadron skims off across the North Sea to destroy Hitler's heavy water producing plant in Norway, you can't help getting swept along.
Those familiar with the basic concepts of Freudianism will observe that to get to the target they have to fly up a fjiord -- a deep, wet inlet with obvious feminine connotations -- and, once they get there, they have to franticly 'fumble around,' bombing a mountain until they hit the equivalent of a seismic G-spot. When this is done the 'earth' truly moves as an avalanche of rock thunders down on the Nazis. The only thing to do for the few survivors is return to base and have that post-coital cigarette!
on July 28, 1999
Somewhat loosely adapted from the first of a series of novels by Frederick Smith, this is the story of a fictitious Mosquito squadron's mission to bomb a "rocket fuel factory" (no, not an atomic bomb plant or heavy-water refinery) located at the end of the portentiously-named "Black Fjord". And yes, indeed, George Lucas must cringe whenever anyone sees this movie, because it is SO VERY OBVIOUSLY the source of practically every shot from the now-famous "Death Star Assault" sequence at the end of the original "Star Wars", albeit with unfortunately very unconvincing AA fire effects. The characters are the most amazing assembly of stock types one could ask for (the reckless, the Aussie, the Sikh, the French, the Cockney, the Yank (hopelessly mis-written for the American audience), the world's only black-haired Norwegian and his knock-out ash-blond sister - you get the picture.....) but who the heck cares? All you want to see in this is the one and only chance to catch three Mosquitos starting their engines, taxiing, and flying. Flying through canyons, buzzing the field, zipping through clouds - that's the reason to watch this film. NO, it isn't based on any single "real life story", but it takes the spirit of the "Dambusters" (which is a far superior film) and transplants it to a vastly more impressive aircraft. The score grated on MY nerves after a while - it's main theme is abused in repetition - but I guess some folks go for that. (I much preferred Goldsmith's score for "The Blue Max", but you can't have everything.) Action on the ground IS soapy, almost becoming self-consciously so. But again - that's just something to pass the time between all those great shots of Mossies doing their thing. If you're the kind of person who has to run outside when you hear multiple piston engines roaring overhead, you really will love this movie. If airplanes make you change the channel - take a pass.
on October 30, 2003
I was always under the impression that since many of the pre-war airframes had been built by furniture manufacturers; and that from the very beginning of aircraft specialist joinery firms had been involved. It seemed logical to use the capacity of the furniture and piano manufacturing industry to fabricate an aircraft from plywood.
This aircraft also used the renowned Merlin engine designed by Henry Royce as PV-12; and was a very fast, lightly-armed fighter-bomber which later became an aerial reconnaissance and pathfinder aircraft to guide in heavy bombers to target..."It was said that the 2 man twin engined Mosquito could carry the same bomb load to Berlin as the 4 engined Flying Fortress with its crew of 11. It also did it quicker and used less fuel... the Mosquitoes in the film were photo-reconnaissance models built late in the war. I suppose it would have been quite unique to have an American commanding an RAF Squadron too; especially as those Americans who did fly with the RAF as volunteers came through Canada as the USA was officially 'neutral' until Hitler declared war on the US on 11th December, 1941.
on May 8, 2003
Well I am an American, but I love the British planes and movies. This cast I think is mostly British and do a splendid job of acting. A group of international pilots in the RAF band together to bomb a factory that the silly Germans stuck under a large rock overhang just aching to be avalanched. Even though that would not have happened they at least have plenty of Anti-Aircraft guns and thats factual. Perhaps a slightly exaggerated story premise, but very entertaining and it certainly gives an idea of the heroism of the RAF pilots during WWII. Anyway this is a fine film especially for anyone that enjoys movies like "The Battle of Britain" or "Memphis Belle". As pointed out one benefit is the opportunity to see the magnificent "Mosquito" planes and the beautiful scenery they fly over. Did I mention that the sound of a Merlin engine not only arouses WWII pilots. With the great musical theme of the movie and the acting of cliff Robertson you have a winner. Good point about the models used in the bombing sequences. After all we are talking 40 year old F/X. Star Wars is almost 30 years old and we can certainly see how those special effects are now dated. George Lucas even went back and changed the Death Star explosion to improve it for the re-release. It might be nice to see an updated version of the models in this movie but then we couldn't poke a little fun at them and our age since most of us saw this as kids. Great movie and I have pre-ordered my DVD copy. For you fans of WWII movies, "Sink the Bismack" will also be out on DVD this month. Another great Brit movie.
on January 7, 2001
World War II adventure film about a Royal Air Force fighter-bomber squadron assigned to destroy a Nazi nuclear weapons research facility in Norway. Cliff Robertson headlines the movie as a former Eagle Squadron pilot in command of 633 Squadron with a colorful assembly of international pilots. They embark on the hazardous assignment with the target located inside a Norwegian fjord, guarded by an immense array of anti-aircraft artillery. Worth noting is the story was probably inspired by the real-life exploits of RAF Mosquito squadrons that conducted such dangerous missions, hunting down Nazi ship convoys along Norway's rugged coastline.
The real attraction of this film is abundant footage of authentic World War II-era De Havilland Mosquito bombers used for the movie production. The scenes of these rare aircraft in flight are a delight, especially since there the are no airworthy examples left in the entire world today (the last one was lost with its crew in a tragic crash in 1996). The model airplane special effects are too obvious, especially when compared to the quality of "The Bridges of Toko Ri" starring William Holden. Nonetheless, it's still pretty exciting and viewers can't help but compare the squadron's climatic attack in the treacherous fjord with "Star War's" Jedi attack on the Empire's Death Star.
The script and several scenes could have been better, but the authentic aircraft are worth watching. Overall a decent adventure, dated, but enjoyable if you're a fan of the famous De Havilland Mosquito fighter-bomber built of wood, and flown by pilots in daring missions that helped win World War II.
For those interested, there's a nice De Havilland aircraft museum north of London, England, on the actual grounds where these impressive aircraft were built. The original prototype Mosquito airplane, and another production model used in the later movie "Mosquito," are on display.
on February 6, 1999
Your right. Cheesy on the ground. Maybe not the best in character development but, the Ron Goodwin score and aviation cinematography is to revel in. Excellent footage of the deHavilland Mosquito Fighter-Bomber. (Currently only one flyable Mosquito is known and it is a veteran of this movie.) A chance for the aviation buff to see and hear the a pair of Rolls-Merlins start to wind up as the squadron starts it's training sorties and then the actual mission. Beautiful airborne scenery backed by an awesome swashbucklers score. Downside, the special effects in the fjord bombing scene...eh. But, please take into account the year this was made (1964)...no Industrial Light and Magic yet exsists. What you will get from the movie...an appreiation of Ron Goodwin's music, an appreication of British War film's (Dambusters, Battle of Britian...et al.) Cliff Robertson and Angus Lennie are great together. See Robertson as JFK in "PT 109" and Angus Lennie a great part opposite Steve McQueen in the "Great Escape", in fact, you might think that Angus Lennie's character in "633 Squadron" meets his end in "The Great Escape". George Chakaris in something other than "West Side Story", please. If you don't enjoy the movie, I do think you will enjoy the score. You can get the Theme on the London label recordings, as well as, other Ron Goodwin themes. (Battle of Britian and Operation Crossbow)
on September 8, 2003
This film seems to have attracted a number of interesting, positive reviews--there is little for me to add except to say that is is a fine World War II thriller, featuring Cliff Robertson, George Chakiris and a solid British cast in support.
Of course, the real "stars" of the movie are the Mosquitos--seeing them fly is a feast for aviation fans. Some scenes really seem to put you in the cockpit with our heroes as they train for their "mission impossible". There is also a fair bit of model work involved, and this is perhaps the only area of the movie that is dated. Special effects have made huge strides since the sixties--when these planes crash or blow up, it is not done in a convincing way for modern audiences.
Cliff Robertson is fine in the lead--later in the decade, he was to win an Oscar for "Charly", yet he has always been under-rated. His career certainly had it's "ups and downs"--in the seventies, he blew the whistle on a Hollywood executive who was embezzling money, and good movie roles seemed to "elude" him for a while. Clearly, he is a man of great integrity. It was nice to see him, after so many years, have an important role in the monster hit, "Spiderman".
George Chakiris aquits himself well as a Norwegian resistance leader. British character actors, Harry Andrews and Donald Houston, provide the mandatory "stiff upper lips" ! When the movie is over though, it is those fabulous planes that you remember most.
The DVD is widescreen, with decent colour for its age--the sound is mono ( imagine those Mosquitos in surround ? ! ). The packaging is very rudimentary, but I suppose this is in keeping with the low price ?
If you like war films with the accent on aviation, this one is for you. Try it !