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Private's Progress (1956)

In WW2, a failed British officer is selected by his uncle, a Brigadier with the War Office, to participate in a secret operation to "recover" looted artworks from the Nazis.



(based on the story by), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Doctor at Medical
Henry B. Longhurst ...
Mr. Spottiswood (as Henry Longhurst)
Peter Jones ...
Arthur Egan
Miles Malleson ...
Sally Miles ...
David King-Wood ...
Pat (as Derrick de Marney)
Sgt. Sutton
Brian Oulton ...
M.O. at Gravestone Camp
Michael Trubshawe ...
Col. Fanshawe
Prudence Greenslade


Stanley Windrush has to interrupt his university education when he is called up towards the end of the war. He quickly proves himself not to be officer material. This leads him to meets up with wily Private Cox who knows exactly how all the scams work in the confused world of the British Army. And Stanley's brigadier War Office uncle seems to be up to something more than a bit shady too. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The film that is respectfully dedicated to all those who got away with it ! See more »


Comedy | War


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Release Date:

17 February 1956 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Private's Progress  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (re-issue) (1957)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Forty or so minutes into the film, Terry-Thomas' character goes to watch In Which We Serve, where he finds half the company. Richard Attenborough plays one of the privates watching. Attenborough also happened to star in the film In Which We Serve See more »


Arthur Egan: Look Stanley, the British army isn't run by a lot of idiots you know.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the opening credits, there is a drawing depicting three officers in the "hear, see & speak no evil" stance with the words "the producers gratefully acknowledge the official cooperation of absolutely nobody. See more »


Referenced in Rock Rock Rock! (1956) See more »


There'll Always Be an England
Music by Ross Parker
Lyrics by Hugh Charles
Sung in the pub
See more »

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User Reviews

A nicely executed and very funny satire
14 July 2015 | by (Derry, Ireland) – See all my reviews

"Private's Progress" was the first of the Boulting Brothers' anti-establishment satires, (this time it was the army getting it), and over the years it has built up something of a reputation. It's also very funny, (more 'Private Eye' than 'Punch'), and much more cynical than other British comedies of the time. It introduced us to Ian Carmichael's character Stanley Windrush, the perpetual innocent abroad in a world of charlatans and n'er-do-wells beautifully represented by the likes of Richard Attenborough, Dennis Price and, best of all, the great Terry-Thomas. They are all great company and other familiar faces in the cast include Ian Bannen, William Hartnell, Kenneth Griffith and Christopher Lee. It would take the Americans several years to catch up.

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