The Battle of the River Plate (Pursuit of the Graf Spee) 1956

Pursuit of the Graf Spee

Critics Consensus

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82%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 11

72%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 813
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Pursuit of the Graf Spee Photos

Movie Info

British officers (John Gregson, Anthony Quayle) chase the German pocket battleship Graf Spee to Uruguay, where its captain (Peter Finch) scuttles it.

Cast & Crew

John Gregson
Captain Bell
Anthony Quayle
Commodore Harwood
Peter Finch
Captain Langsdorff `'Admiral Graf Spee'`
Ian Hunter
Captain Woodhouse
Bernard Lee
Captain Dove
Patrick Macnee
Lieutenant Commander Medley R.N.
Christopher Lee
Manolo
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Critic Reviews for The Battle of the River Plate (Pursuit of the Graf Spee)

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (9) | Rotten (2)

  • The battle sequences, in which the lightweight British cruisers close in on the Graf Spee and force the enemy to take shelter in Montevideo harbor, are powerful, exciting and technically impressive.

    March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Give the British filmmakers a good, rousing subject from their own naval history and they're almost certain to come up with a picture that proudly bespeaks the courage and audacity of a hero breed.

    January 28, 2006 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Powell and Pressburger's final collaboration as The Archers was also, perhaps, their dullest.

    January 26, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Though it's mostly a waiting game, the film is tense and involving, thanks to Powell's fluid shifting of the point of view.

    January 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • This account of the first of the war's major naval actions is straightforward, serious and made with a scrupulous concern to be fair to both sides.

    January 24, 2018 | Full Review…
  • The film is adroitly directed by Powell and Pressburger, though the concentration is on the vessels, rather than the men aboard them.

    May 14, 2012 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Battle of the River Plate (Pursuit of the Graf Spee)

  • Aug 03, 2012
    During the early days of World War II, the Nazis tried to starve Great Britain by targeting its merchant fleet. One of Germany's deadliest weapons was the pocket battleship Graf Spee, where Captain Langsdorff(Peter Finch) welcomes aboard Captain Dove(Bernard Lee) after sinking his ship, the Africa Spell, in disputed waters off Portugese East Africa. Langsdorff soon fulfills his promise that Dove will have company, but not before one of the survivors gets off a radio message before his ship is sunk. So, now Commodore Harwood(Anthony Quayle) has a pretty good idea where the Graf Spee will be, as he waits with the destroyers Ajax, Achilles and Exeter. Written, directed and produced by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, "The Battle of the River Plate" gets off to a slow start, with minimal cuts, that serves its purpose in setting the stage for the taut action that is to follow. As such, the movie aims to give a realistic portrayl of naval warfare during World War II with the navies in full seek and destroy mode, armed with equal measures of skill and luck. Surprisingly, the characters are rather fond of rules, which get quoted a lot. Instead of dragging the movie down, this actually helps with adding suspense, especially with the ironic ending. As the story is told mostly from the British side, I do wish more time had been given over to Langsdorff as he does seem interesting in an old school sort of way and therefore something of an anomaly.
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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