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Oh! What a Lovely War (1969)

G  |   |  Comedy, Musical, War  |  3 October 1969 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 1,900 users  
Reviews: 61 user | 23 critic

A movie about the First World War based on a stage musical of the same name, portraying the "Game of War" and focusing mainly on the members of the Smith family who go off to war. Much of ... See full summary »


(play), (stage treatment), 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 9 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Wendy Allnutt ...
Florence Victoria 'Flo' Smith
Colin Farrell ...
Harry Arnold Smith
Malcolm McFee ...
Frederick Percy 'Freddie' Smith
John Rae ...
Grandpa Smith
Bertram Biddle 'Bertie' Smith
George Patrick Michael Smith
Paul Shelley ...
Jack Henry Smith
Kim Smith ...
Richard 'Dickie' Smith
Angela Thorne ...
Elizabeth May 'Betty' Smith
Mary Wimbush ...
Mary Emma Smith
Vincent Ball ...
Australian Soldier
Pia Colombo ...
Estaminet Singer
Paul Daneman ...
Isabel Dean ...
Sir John French's Lady
Christian Doermer ...


A movie about the First World War based on a stage musical of the same name, portraying the "Game of War" and focusing mainly on the members of the Smith family who go off to war. Much of the action in the movie revolves around the words of the marching songs of the soldiers, and many scenes portray some of the more famous (and infamous) incidents of the war, including the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, the Christmas meeting between British and German soldiers in no-man's-land, and the wiping out by their own side of a force of Irish soldiers newly arrived at the front, after successfully capturing a ridge that had been contested for some time. Written by Sonya Roberts <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Musical Shot In The Arm ! See more »


Comedy | Musical | War


G | See all certifications »




| |

Release Date:

3 October 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aftos o yperohos polemos  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The "Christmas Day Truce" scenes, which involved creating a freezing snowy landscape, was shot during midsummer. The actors had to endure some of the hottest days of the year with the temperature in the 90's., in full heavy Winter's costume. See more »


The bayonets of the Band of the Irish Guards as they parade down the Brighton promenade appear to be for the L1A1 self loading rifle, first issued 1957 and still issued as standard by the time of the film, rather than the correct 1907 pattern bayonet for the Lee-Enfield No1 mkIII rifle (characterised by its longer blade length of 17" as opposed to the 8" of the L1A1's bayonet). See more »


Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig: Grant us victory, O Lord, before the Americans get here.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The principal statements made by the historical characters in this film are based on documentary evidence and the words of the songs are those sung by the troops during the First World War See more »


Referenced in The 100 Greatest War Films (2005) See more »


The Battle Hymn of the Republic
Music by William Steffe
Arranged by Alfred Ralston
See more »

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User Reviews

A brilliant, moving, anti-war film
5 August 2000 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

I first saw this film when it came out. I was 10 years old, the Viet Nam war was still going on, and it blew me away completely.

I saw it again 5 years later, in a revival house. I went with a high-school friend, happy to be able to introduce its power and brilliance to someone new. It blew her away completely.

That was 27 years ago, and I would give almost anything to know if the film could still move me as much as it did those first two times. It is not available on video, and I've never seen it broadcast on any TV channel.

This is truly one of those films that burned itself into my memory at first viewing. I urge anyone who finds the chance to see it to run, not walk, to the theatre! The Great War -- the War to End All Wars -- has faded deep into the past for most people, and we forget that the death-toll from that conflict blighted an entire generation. This film makes that loss all too vivid, using the music of the war itself.

Truly a classic, in the most literal sense of the word: a film for the ages.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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