The Way Ahead (1944)

Approved  |   |  War, Drama  |  3 June 1945 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,179 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 11 critic

A group of conscripts are called up into the infantry during WWII. At first they appear a hopeless bunch but their sergeant and Lieutenant have faith in them and mould them into a good team... See full summary »



(screenplay), (story), 1 more credit »
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Spitfire (1942)
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Aircraft designer/patriot R. J. Mitchell, alarmed at growing German militarism, works to perfect a defense against the German Messerschmidt at the cost of his health.

Director: Leslie Howard
Stars: Leslie Howard, David Niven, Rosamund John
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In the Post-World War II, the British Susanne Mallison travels to Berlin to visit her older brother Martin Mallison, a military that has married the German Bettina Mallison. The naive ... See full summary »

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: James Mason, Claire Bloom, Hildegard Knef
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Davey Fenwick leaves his mining village on a university scholarship intent on returning to better support the miners against the owners. But he falls in love with Jenny who gets him to ... See full summary »

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: Michael Redgrave, Margaret Lockwood, Edward Rigby
Attack (1956)
Drama | War | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In 1945, an American Infantry company sets up an artillery observation post but tensions between captain Cooney and lieutenant Costa run high.

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Jack Palance, Lee Marvin, Eddie Albert
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Out on patrol in the war-time desert a Canadian corporal reminisces about the woman he has left behind in London and ponders whether she will fall for the charms of his rival in love. At ... See full summary »

Director: John M. Stahl
Stars: Henry Fonda, Maureen O'Hara, Thomas Mitchell
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

When Nazi anti-aircraft fire damages a British bomber, its crew bails out and seeks help from the Dutch underground.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Godfrey Tearle, Eric Portman, Hugh Williams
Comedy | Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When the Germans march into Prague, armour-plating inventor Dr Bomasch flees to England. His daughter Anna escapes from arrest to join him, but the Gestapo manage to kidnap them both back ... See full summary »

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: Margaret Lockwood, Rex Harrison, Paul Henreid
Odd Man Out (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A wounded Irish nationalist leader attempts to evade police following a failed robbery. Action takes place in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: James Mason, Robert Newton, Cyril Cusack
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A British wartime aviator who cheats death must argue for his life before a celestial court.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: David Niven, Kim Hunter, Robert Coote
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Noel Coward's attempt to show how the ordinary people lived between the wars. Just after WWI the Gibbons family moves to a nice house in the suburbs. An ordinary sort of life is led by the ... See full summary »

Director: David Lean
Stars: Robert Newton, Celia Johnson, Amy Veness
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Jim Wormold, who is a vacuum cleaner salesman, participates as an agent in the British Secret Service. But he soon realizes that his plans by lying are going to get him into trouble.

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: Alec Guinness, Maureen O'Hara, Burl Ives
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A butler working in a foreign embassy in London falls under suspicion when his wife accidentally falls to her death, the only witness being an impressionable young boy.

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: Ralph Richardson, Michèle Morgan, Sonia Dresdel


Cast overview, first billed only:
Pvt. Evan Lloyd
Pvt. Luke
Leslie Dwyer ...
Pvt. Sid Beck
Hugh Burden ...
Pvt. Bill Parsons
Jimmy Hanley ...
Pvt. Geoffrey Stainer (as Jimmie Hanley)
Sgt. Ned Fletcher (as Billy Hartnell)
Reginald Tate ...
The Training Company Commanding Officer
Capt. Edwards
John Ruddock ...
Chelsea Pensioner
A. Bromley Davenport ...
Chelsea Pensioner (as Bromley Davenport)
Marjorie Gillingham (as Renee Asherson)
Mary Jerrold ...
Mrs. Gillingham
Tessie O'Shea ...
Herself - ENSA Entertainer


A group of conscripts are called up into the infantry during WWII. At first they appear a hopeless bunch but their sergeant and Lieutenant have faith in them and mould them into a good team. When they go into action in N. Africa they realise what it's all about. Written by Steve Crook <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Story of Today---YOU'LL REMEMBER FOREVER! (original ad - several caps)


War | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

3 June 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Immortal Battalion  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the UK, this movie was released on D-Day--June 6, 1944. See more »


Following some energetic army training, Private Bill Parsons is seen sitting on the grass at the top of a cliff, with his colleagues, exhausted. However, the action then cuts to him being helped up the cliff. See more »


Pvt. Ted Brewer: Only one good man ever got into Parliament.
Pvt. Herbert Davenport: Oh really? Who?
Pvt. Ted Brewer: Bleedin' Guy Fawkes.
See more »


Referenced in An Adventure in Space and Time (2013) See more »


Wine, Women and Song
Music by Johann Strauss
Arranged by Frederic Bayco
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Oh, what a lovely war!
13 August 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Although it may appear simplistic to divide the work of great artists into three distinct periods, there can be no escaping the fact that this tidy and convenient way of classification actually works for the majority. In the case of the most significant British director of the immediate post World War II years, Carol Reed, the chronological view works surprisingly well. There is the fairly anonymous early period up to "The Way Ahead" of 1944, a glorious middle period from "Odd Man Out" to "Outcast of the Islands" - the subsequent "The Man Between" and "A Kid for Two Farthings", although less successful, belong to this period because of their stylistic affinity - and a third period where Reed reverted to anonymity possibly through the pressures of commercialism - how else to explain works as dull as "The Agony and the Ecstasy" and "The Running Man", which do not even look like Reed films. Certainly none of the other films in the first period compare with the sheer enjoyment and confidence of "The Way Ahead". Here the youngish director flexes his muscles, a little parochially perhaps, before taking centre stage with the great directors of that time, De Sica, Rossellini, Welles and Wyler. Technically the film is astonishingly assured. Every shot is lovingly composed with figures always formally balanced within each frame. The editing is nothing short of brilliant. It is only in retrospect and with the advantage of several showings that one realises that the excitement and immediacy of a scene such as the torpedoing of the troopship are entirely achieved by the skill of montage. In every sense "The Way Ahead" is immeasurably superior to the Lean/Coward naval counterpart "In Which We Serve" which parades class distinctions in a way that is positively nauseous. There is nothing patronising in Reed's presentation of a group of men drawn together by the accident of war. Although they come from different social backgrounds, Reed presents them as conditioned by their varied forms of employment rather than being pigeonholed by class. "The Way Ahead" is that very unusual thing, a completely upbeat war film. I suppose it had to be, given its date - 1944. With the scent of victory about to be achieved it had to be an optimistic morale booster. However it goes very much further than any other I know in presenting a completely sanitised war. Not a single character is killed let alone wounded - and this even after the ship carrying the bulk of the cast is blown to smithereens just seconds after the captain leaves. The film ends with the men attaching bayonets to rifles before marching forward into a desert attack. By now we are conditioned into thinking they will all survive although we will never have a way of really knowing. Not that it matters at this stage. So sit back, relax and enjoy as lovely a war as you are ever likely to experience.

23 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss The Way Ahead (1944) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: