The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)

Passed  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  4 May 1945 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 9,566 users  
Reviews: 78 user | 94 critic

From the Boer War through World War II, a soldier rises through the ranks in the British military.

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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
James McKechnie ...
Neville Mapp ...
Stuffy Graves
Vincent Holman ...
Club Porter (1942)
David Hutcheson ...
Spencer Trevor ...
Period Blimp
Roland Culver ...
Colonel Betteridge
James Knight ...
Club Porter (1902)
Edith Hunter / Barbara Wynne / Johnny Cannon
Dennis Arundell ...
Café Orchestra Leader
David Ward ...
Jan Van Loewen ...
Indignant Citizen
Valentine Dyall ...
von Schönborn
Carl Jaffe ...
von Reumann (as Carl Jaffé)
Albert Lieven ...
von Ritter


Portrays in warm-hearted detail the life and loves of one extraordinary man. We meet the imposingly rotund General Clive Wynne-Candy, a blustering old duffer who seems the epitome of stuffy, outmoded values. Traveling backwards 40 years we see a different man altogether: the young and dashing officer "Sugar" Candy. Through a series of relationships with three women and his lifelong friendship with a German officer, we see Candy's life unfold and come to understand how difficult it is for him to adapt his sense of military honor to modern notions of "total war." Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


An unforgettable story of forty gallant years. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance | War


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Release Date:

4 May 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Colonel Blimp  »

Box Office


£200,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Microphonic Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


One of the earliest films to directly refer to The Wizard of Oz (1939) (one of the characters sings part of "We're Off To See the Wizard"), proving rather conclusively that "Oz" was more successful and popular on its first release than is sometimes claimed. See more »


The position of the two decks of cards on the card table changes from one position at the time the nurse picks up the table to move it to another when she sets it down. See more »


Murdoch: Anything wrong, sir?
Clive Candy: Murdoch, the war is over. The Germans have accepted the terms of the armistice; hostilities cease at 10 O'clock. It's nearly that now. Murdoch, do you know what this means?
Murdoch: I do, sir. Peace. We can go home. Everybody can go home.
Clive Candy: For me, Murdoch, it means more than that; it means that right is might after all. The Germans have shelled hospitals, bombed open towns, sunk neutral ships, used poison gas, and we won -- clean fighting, honest soldiering have won. God bless you, ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The lead actors' names are sewn onto a tapestry-like picture, written on scrolls. This opening credits "needlework tapestry" was completed by the Royal College of Needlework. See more »


Referenced in Mine Own Executioner (1947) See more »


Je suis Titania
from Mignon
Music by Ambroise Thomas
See more »

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User Reviews

Not what you expect.
9 December 1999 | by (Canberra, Australia) – See all my reviews

I'm not sure what you expect; but I'm pretty sure it isn't this.

We open in the early days of World War II with some motorcyclists speeding through the English countryside to some jaunty music. (The score, by the way, is a fine one - by Allan Gray, a composer I don't think I've heard of in any other context.) Very little is explained about the motorcyclists' quest and we don't get the full significance of the opening events until the the film's conclusion, after we've gone back to the end of the Boer War and seen events narrated from there. There's no sudden revelation at the end: it just slowly dawns on us why the motorcycle chase was so very important. I found, also, that the title preyed on my mind through most of the film's running time. It's `The Life AND DEATH of Colonel Blimp'. Why `death'?

It's a lovely, sad story with a pronounced moral, even though it isn't at all clear, even on reflection, what the moral is. Does Clive Candy really become out of date and out of touch? If so, when? There doesn't seem to be any particular moment; or rather, there are many moments - he's a character who always gives the impression of having only just ossified.

There's a lot of humour beneath the sadness - I'm particularly fond of the Battle of the Orchestra, which takes place late last century, where Candy keeps bribing the musicians to play a piece by Johann Strauss, while a German officer, who loathes the piece, offers fresh bribes to get them to stop. The German officer is, of course, an omen. Strauss is much too merry for the Germany that's to come.

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