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Pursuit of the Graf Spee (1956)

The Battle of the River Plate (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Adventure, Drama | November 1957 (USA)
In the first major naval battle of World War II, the British Navy must find and destroy a powerful German warship.
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Nominated for 3 BAFTA Film Awards. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Gregson ... Captain Bell - H.M.S. Exeter
Anthony Quayle ... Commodore Harwood-H.M.S. Ajax
Peter Finch ... Captain Hans Langsdorff - 'Admiral Graf Spee'
Ian Hunter ... Captain Woodhouse - H.M.S. Ajax
Jack Gwillim ... Captain Parry - H.M.N.Z.S. Achilles
Bernard Lee ... Captain Dove - M.S. Africa Shell
Lionel Murton Lionel Murton ... Mike Fowler
Anthony Bushell ... Mr. Millington Drake - British Minister, Montevideo
Peter Illing ... Dr. Guani - Foreign Minister, Uruguay
Michael Goodliffe ... Captain McCall - R.N., British Naval Attache, Buenos Aires
Patrick Macnee ... Lieutenant Commander Medley R.N.
John Chandos John Chandos ... Dr. Langmann - German Minister, Montevideo
Douglas Wilmer ... M. Desmoulins - French Minister, Montevideo
William Squire ... Ray Martin
Roger Delgado ... Captain Varela - Uruguayan Navy
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Storyline

In the fall of 1939, the German heavy cruiser (referred to as a pocket battleship) Graf Spee seems to have command of the Atlantic. In the first three months of World War II, she was responsible for sinking nine ships. The British sent three cruisers commanded by Commodore Henry Harwood to confront her. The battle took place on December 13, 1939 and the British came out on top. The Graf Spee headed for the neutral harbor of Montevideo, Uruguay. They were given only a short time to effect repairs and the British did their best to make them believe a British fleet of six or eight ships awaited them. Rather than chance the loss of his men, the German Captain ordered the Graf Spee scuttled. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The nightingale of Montevideo...she sang of love while the world was shaking! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German | Spanish

Release Date:

November 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pursuit of the Graf Spee See more »

Filming Locations:

Atlantic Ocean See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

The Archers See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Attention to detail was particularly important to the producers, so all of the naval procedures depicted in this movie are completely accurate. The scene where Harwood meets with his Captains on-board the Ajax, however, was a fictitious one, created in order to explain the situation to the audience. See more »

Goofs

When Benard Lee is on the deck of the "Graf Spee", one of the main battery turrets plainly has a U.S. Navy "E" on it. See more »

Quotes

Captain Woodhouse - H.M.S. Ajax: Well done, Guns!
See more »

Crazy Credits

H.M.S. Sheffield as H.M.S. Ajax See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Golden Gong (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Cabalgata de los Gauchos
(uncredited)
Music by Brian Easdale
Lyrics by Manuel Salina
Performed by April Olrich (dubbed by Muriel Smith)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Powell and Pressburger's Most Underrated Film.
11 March 2009 | by JohnWellesSee all my reviews

"The Battle of the River Plate" (1956) is Powell and Pressburger's most underrated movie. Set in 1939, its about the British navy trying to capture "The Graf Spee" pursued by the "HMS Ajax", "HMS Exeter" and "HMS Achilles".Most people say it is not up to the standard as, say, "A Matter of Life and Death", but I disagree. As it is not one of the more wider known parts of World War Two, it makes the first half tense and exciting. But its the second half, when "The Graf Spee" hides in a neutral port where it kicks into high gear. The whole place reeks of atmosphere, unequalled in any over Powell and Pressburger film. As I have said before, a very underrated movie, that is well worth watching.


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