633 Squadron is a 1964 British film which depicts the exploits of a fictional Second World War British fighter-bomber squadron. It was based on a novel of the same name by Frederick E. Smith, published in 1956, which itself drew on several real Royal Air Force missions. The film was directed by Walter Grauman, produced by Cecil F. Ford for United Artists and stars Cliff Robertson and George Chakiris. 633 Squadron was the first aviation film to be shot in colour and Panavision wide screen.
When Norwegian resistance leader Lieutenant Erik Bergman reports the location of a German V-2 rocket fuel plant, the Royal Air Force’s No 633 Squadron is assigned the mission to destroy it. No 633 Squadron is under the command of Wing Commander Roy Grant, an ex-Eagle Squadron pilot (Americans serving in the RAF before America entered the war).
The plant is in a seemingly impregnable location beneath an overhanging cliff at the end of a long, narrow fjord lined with anti-aircraft guns. The only way to destroy the plant is by collapsing the cliff on top of it, a job for No 633 Squadron’s fast and manoeuvrable de Havilland Mosquitos. The squadron trains in Scotland, where there are narrow valleys similar to the fjord. There, Grant is introduced to Bergman’s sister, Hilde. They are attracted to each other, despite Grant’s aversion to wartime relationships.
The Norwegian resistance is supposed to destroy the anti-aircraft defences guarding the facility. When unexpected German reinforcements arrive, Bergman returns to Norway to try to gather more forces for the upcoming attack. However, he is captured while transporting desperately needed weapons. He is taken to Gestapo headquarters and tortured for information. Since Bergman knows too much, he must be silenced before he breaks. Grant and newly married Flying Officer Bissell are sent in with a single Mosquito to bomb the place. Though they are successful, their shot-up airplane crashes on its return, and Bissell is wounded and becomes blind. A tearful Hilde thanks Grant for ending her brother’s suffering.
Still worried, Air Vice-Marshal Davis decides to move up the attack to the next day. However, all of the Norwegian resistance fighters are ambushed and killed, leaving the defences intact. Though Grant is given the option of aborting, he decides to press on. The factory is destroyed at the cost of the entire squadron, though a few crews are able to ditch in the fjord. Grant crash-lands. A local man helps Grant’s navigator, Flying Officer Hoppy Hopkinson, pull the wounded wing commander from the burning wreckage. Back in England, AVM Davis tells a fellow officer, “You can’t kill a squadron.”