A tribute to the courage and resiliency of Britons during the darkest days of the London Blitz.


(uncredited), (uncredited)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A depiction of life in wartime England during the Second World War. Director Humphrey Jennings visits many aspects of civilian life and of the turmoil and privation caused by the war, all without narration.

Directors: Humphrey Jennings, Stewart McAllister
Stars: Leonard Brockington, Joseph Macleod, Bud Flanagan
Short | Documentary | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The Japanese attack on Midway in June 1942, filmed as it happened.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, Logan Ramsey
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A new man joins the civilian firefighters at a London unit during the Second World War. He meets his fellow firemen and firewomen, manages to enjoy some leisure time with them, and then ... See full summary »

Director: Humphrey Jennings
Stars: Philip Dickson, George Gravett, Fred Griffiths
Bon Voyage (1944)
Short | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A young Scottish RAF gunner is debriefed by French officials about his escape from occupied territory, and in particular one person who may or may not have been a German agent.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: John Blythe
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A 10 minute long journey of emotions that befall children faces. Fear, Curiosity; a Smile. They all sit in a dark theater. What they see, we don't; we can only guess from their faces.

Director: Herz Frank
Documentary | Short | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

This Oscar-nominated short film tells the story of the discovery of radium and how it is used in medicine.

Director: Jacques Tourneur
Stars: Pete Smith, Margaret Bert, André Cheron
Short | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Porter's sequential continuity editing links several shots to form a narrative of firemen responding to a house fire. They leave the station with their horse drawn pumper, arrive on the ... See full summary »

Directors: George S. Fleming, Edwin S. Porter
Stars: Vivian Vaughan, Arthur White, James H. White
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A Victorian-age scientist returns to London with his paleontological bag-of-bones discovery from Papua New Guinea. Unfortunately, when exposed to water, flesh returns to the bones ... See full summary »

Director: Freddie Francis
Stars: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Lorna Heilbron
The 47 Ronin (1941)
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In 1701, Lord Takuminokami Asano has a feud with Lord Kira and he tries to kill Kira in the corridors of the Shogun's palace. The Shogun sentences Lord Asano to commit suppuku and deprives ... See full summary »

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Stars: Chôjûrô Kawarasaki, Yoshizaburo Arashi, Utaemon Ichikawa
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Annabelle (Whitford) Moore performs one of her popular dance routines. She uses her dance steps and her long, flowing skirts to create a variety of visual patterns.

Directors: William K.L. Dickson, William Heise
Stars: Annabelle Moore
Spare Time (1939)
Documentary | Short | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A look at how industry workers spend their time when they are not at work.

Director: Humphrey Jennings
Stars: Laurie Lee
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Director: Pavel Kogan


Complete credited cast:
Quentin Reynolds ...
Commentator (voice)


Reporter Quentin Reynolds narrates and comments on the fortitude, courage, and perseverance of London civilians during the months of bombing by German air forces in the Second World War. Documentary footage of air-raid shelters, fire brigades, and decimated structures illustrate the plight and the strength of the citizens of London. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | War | Short





Release Date:

27 December 1940 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

Britain Can Take It!  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Included in Warner Home Video's 2007 DVD release of The Fighting 69th (1940). See more »


Commentator: The sign of a great fighter in the ring is can he get up from the floor after being knocked down. London does this every morning.
See more »


Featured in Warner at War (2008) See more »


Symphony No.2: A London Symphony
Music by Ralph Vaughan Williams (as Vaughan Williams)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Proud and Indomitable People
22 February 2013 | by (Tunbridge Wells, England) – See all my reviews

The GPO Film Unit was set up in 1933 with the principal aim of producing short documentary films publicising the work of the British General Post Office; the famous "Night Mail" is perhaps their best-known such film. During the thirties, however, they also made a number of documentaries on other subjects, such as "North Sea" about the fishing industry. After the outbreak of war in 1939 the Unit's main purpose was to make propaganda and information films about the war effort; after 1940 it was renamed the Crown Film Unit, emphasising the fact that it was no longer primarily concerned with the GPO.

"London Can Take It!" was one of the last films the unit made under its original name, and deals with the German "Blitz" against London in the autumn and winter of 1940. (The term "Blitz" is, strictly speaking, a misnomer deriving from a misunderstanding of the German term "Blitzkrieg", or "lightning war", but it is the name by which the German strategic bombing campaign has become universally known in Britain). It was made with two purposes in mind. The first is to uphold British morale by demonstrating that the bombardment was having no effect other than to strengthen the British people's determination to fight. (The unit made another, similar, film around the same time, "The Front Line", about the will to resist of the people of Dover, the English town closest to the European coastline and a frequent target for German bombing or shelling). The second was to influence public opinion in the still-neutral USA, where the film was widely distributed. An American journalist, Quentin Reynolds, was chosen as the narrator; the film- makers clearly felt that American audiences would respond more favourably to a commentary in a familiar accent.

This is not "atrocity propaganda" concentrating on the suffering of the innocent and the supposed bestial cruelty of the enemy. There was a backlash against that sort of propaganda in Britain following its over- use in the First World War, even though the Nazis seemed to be doing everything in their power (far more, in fact, than did the Kaiser's armies) to justify the old "Beastly Hun" slogans of 1914-18. The film opens with scenes of Londoners commuting home in the evening, and then concentrates on the work of the British air defences and emergency services in responding to the German attacks. It is far more a celebration of British courage and resilience than it is a denunciation of Nazi barbarism.

The film did not, of course, persuade America to enter the war; it took Pearl Harbor to do that. In some respects, however, it can be seen a highly successful propaganda. It was directed by two of the Unit's most experienced directors, Humphrey Jennings and Harry Watt, and provides a series of vivid and unforgettable images of the Blitz- the "white fingers" of the searchlights against the night sky, the fire engines racing to put out the blazes, the people sheltering in the tube stations. It was images like these which helped to strengthen British morale by reinforcing the 'stiff upper lip' self-image of a proud and indomitable people.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss London Can Take It! (1940) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: