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In Which We Serve (1942)

Not Rated | | Drama, War | 23 December 1942 (USA)
This "story of a ship," the British destroyer HMS Torrin, is told in flash backs by survivors as they cling to a life raft.


(as Noel Coward),


(by) (as Noel Coward)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ordinary Seaman Shorty Blake
Chief Petty Officer Walter Hardy
Celia Johnson ...
Mrs. Alix Kinross
Kay Walsh ...
Freda Lewis
Joyce Carey ...
Mrs. Kath Hardy
Derek Elphinstone ...
No. 1
Robert Sansom ...
Philip Friend ...
Chimmo Branson ...
Engineer Commander
Hubert Gregg ...
Michael Whittaker ...


This is the story of a British Naval ship, HMS Torrin, from its construction to its sinking in the Mediterranean during action in World War II. The ship's first and only commanding officer is the experienced Captain E.V. Kinross who trains his men not only to be loyal to him but to the country and most importantly, to themselves. They face challenges at sea and also at home. They lose some of their shipmates in action and some of their loved ones in the devastation that is the blitz. Throughout it all, the men of the Torrin serve valiantly and heroically. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Greatest Motion Picture Of Our Time! [USA Theatrical] See more »


Drama | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

23 December 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hidalgos de los mares  »

Box Office


£240,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Sound System)


(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


After about three weeks of shooting, Coward realized that (a) Lean knew a lot more about the film-making process than he did and (b) he didn't care much for the long hours. So Coward effectively handed the entire directorial reins over to his partner at that point. See more »


When a scene is shown in the wardroom, the point of view changes to simulate the ship moving. However, the sherry or wine in the glasses does not move at all, showing that it is the camera that is moving rather than the 'ship' (or set). See more »


[first lines]
Voice: [voiceover] This is the story of a ship...
[long sequence of ship-building and launch]
See more »

Crazy Credits

This film is dedicated to the Royal Navy "whereon under the good providence of God, the wealth, safety and strength of the kingdom chiefly depend". See more »


Featured in The Greatest Ever War Films (2014) See more »


An der schönen, blauen Donau (On the Beautiful Blue Danube), Op. 314
Music by Johann Strauss
See more »

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User Reviews

patriotism for the British Navy
13 August 2003 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A flag waver for the British navy (‘the story of a ship') in which we meet rough representatives of the three classes (upper, middle, working) brought together by circumstance and service.

The working classes are represented by John Mills and Kay Walsh, who marry quietly during a leave and go to their honeymoon on a train. Mills plays a good sort, reliable, the usual depiction of the honest working Joe. Slightly above them in class (with a garden and refined accents) are Bernard Miles and Joyce Carey, both very fine performances. The top of the scale is naturally Noel Coward (who wrote, co-directed, and produced this) and Celia Johnson, with their luncheon parties and their two affected children (one is the actor Daniel Massey, then a little child).

By weaving the stories of all three together we do go some way to understanding the (fictional) mind-set of the man at war, his worries, his triumphs and preoccupations. And as a morale-booster for our chaps at sea it must have done its job very well - it remains fairly touching all these years on.

14 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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