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Parents' Guide to

The Sound Barrier

By Tom Cassidy, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Thoughtful, thrilling test pilot drama has moments of peril.

Movie NR 1952 109 minutes
The Sound Barrier Poster Image

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This is a masterfully balanced piece that celebrates test pilots as aviation adventurers but never ignores the feelings of those who are impacted by them risking their lives in the name of science. Directed by British legend David Lean -- Lawrence of Arabia and Brief Encounter -- the movie can be seen as a blueprint for Damien Chazelle's "Space Race" drama First Man. Despite being made 66 years prior, The Sound Barrier matches it blow for blow, even down to the flight sequences, which are just as thrilling and rattly at Chazelle's 2018 movie. The Sound Barrier's Oscar-nominated script by playwright Terence Rattigan is steeped in admiration for the story's dashing adventurers of the skies but feels wholly for the widows in the picture. Leads Patrick and Todd both won BAFTA awards for their performances, while the movie won Best Film and Best British Film.

The photography of The Sound Barrier is beautiful, with the wonder of flight lavishly shown with a sense of awe for an activity not yet commonplace for the general public. The roar of the new jet engines is impressive too, and earned the movie the 1952 Best Sound Recording Oscar. The movie is an ode to post-war progress -- the final shot of a telescope looking up at the stars and a model of a futuristic looking aircraft points directly to the next two decades of aviation exploration and man reaching the moon. An inspirational and heartfelt thrill ride even after all these years.

Movie Details

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