The Moonraker

The Moonraker is a British swashbuckler film made in 1957 and released in 1958 and set in the English Civil War. It was directed by David MacDonald and starred George Baker, Sylvia Syms, Marius Goring, Gary Raymond, Peter Arne, John Le Mesurier and Patrick Troughton.[1][2]

The Moonraker
British cinema poster
Directed byDavid MacDonald
Produced byHamilton G. Inglis
Written byRobert Hall
Wilfred Eades
Alistair Bell
Based onplay by Arthur Watkin
StarringGeorge Baker
Sylvia Syms
Marius Goring
Music byLaurie Johnson
CinematographyMutz Greenbaum
Edited byRichard Best
Distributed byAssociated British-Pathé
Release date
22 May 1958
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The film depicts a fictionalised account of the escape of Charles II, arranged by a foppish royalist nobleman, the Earl of Dawlish, who leads a double life as a roundhead-baiting highwayman called The Moonraker, who already has helped more than thirty royalists to escape to France.[3]

The film was one of the last productions made by the Robert Clarke regime at Associated British-Pathe.


After the Battle of Worcester at the end of the Second English Civil War, the main aim of General Oliver Cromwell (John Le Mesurier) is to capture Charles Stuart (Gary Raymond), son of the executed Charles I. However, the dashing Royalist hero nicknamed The Moonraker (George Baker) prepares to smuggle him to safety in France, under the noses of Cromwell's soldiers. According to the story, the hero is named after the smuggler term, Moonrakers, who were sometimes claimed to hide contraband in the village pond and to rake it out by moonlight.



The film was shot at Boreham Wood with location filming at Dorset, Wiltshire and Hertfordshire. Sylvia Syms and Peter Arne were under long term contract to ABPC at the time.[4]


  1. At Home with GEORGE BAKER: "The Moonraker" Picture Show; London Vol. 71, Iss. 1855, (Oct 18, 1958): 2.
  2. MOONRAKER, The Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 25, Iss. 288, (Jan 1, 1958): 62.
  3. THE MOONRAKER Picture Show; London Vol. 71, Iss. 1845, (Aug 9, 1958): 9
  4. Round the British Studios Nepean, Edith. Picture Show; London Vol. 70, Iss. 1814, (Jan 4, 1958): 11.
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