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Composed: 1955

Length: c. 4 minutes

About this Piece

The Dam Busters March is the theme from the 1955 British war film of the same title. Austin Coates, the composer’s son, recounted in a BBC radio interview that the march was not composed specifically for the film. At the time, his father had been composing a march in the style of Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance marches. Within just days of completing the composition, Coates was contacted by the film’s producers. Coates’ disdain for writing film music prompted him to turn down their numerous requests. When they convinced Coates that it was “a film of national importance,” he finally acquiesced. On learning more about the film, Coates came to the conclusion that his march could serve as a perfect overture.