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Oh! What a Lovely War (1969)

The working-class Smiths change their initially sunny views on World War I after the three boys of the family witness the harsh reality of trench warfare.

Writers:

(based on Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop Production by, and the members of the original cast), (after a stage treatment by)
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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 7 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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
...
Elizabeth May 'Betty' Smith
...
Mary Emma Smith
Vincent Ball ...
Australian Soldier
Pia Colombo ...
Estaminet Singer
Paul Daneman ...
Isabel Dean ...
Sir John French's Lady
Christian Doermer ...
Fritz
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Storyline

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 <sonya_roberts@geocities.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Musical Shot In The Arm ! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Musical | War

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

3 October 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aftos o yperohos polemos  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The final scene involved the placing of over 16,000 crosses on the Sussex Downs. Each cross had to have a hole dug for it in order to hold it steady in the ground and stop it falling or being blown over. The actual helicopter aerial shot had to be filmed many times due to problems with high winds and camera shake. See more »

Goofs

Sir Edward Grey (Ralph Richardson) is shown early in the film being accompanied by his wife, described in the credits as Lady Pamela Grey. In fact, Grey did not marry Pamela (nee Wyndham, and the widow of Lord Glenconer) until 1922. See more »

Quotes

Soldier Singer: It was Christmas Day in the cookhouse, the happiest time of the year, Men's hearts were full of gladness and their bellies full of beer, When up popped Private Shorthouse, his face as bold as brass, He said We don't want your Christmas pudding, you can stick it up your... tidings of co-omfort and joy, comfort and joy, o-oh ti-idings of co-omfort and joy. It was Christmas Day in the harem, the eunuchs were standing 'round, And hundreds of beautiful women were stretched out on the ground, Along ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: 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 »

Connections

Featured in Richard Attenborough: A Life (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Should be subtitled: Don't Go Near the Poppies
10 July 2001 | by (Cullowhee, NC) – See all my reviews

I first saw this movie in the theater in 1969. In my opinion it was by far the most powerful anti-war movie I had ever seen. I came to IMDB looking for a place where I could order a copy so that my children could see it. I can not think of another movie which makes use of the media so effectively. For instance, the party atmosphere of the boardwalk where we see a toy merry-go-round with puppets which blends into a real merry-go-round with real soldiers and real women which blends into real soldiers in a real battle. And the scene where the "upper class" lady is enticing men to join the army morphs into a whore soliciting anybody she can drag onstage. Then the camera moves to the men gathered backstage and the backdrop of the curtains in the theatre becomes the canvas cover of the truck carrying the men to the battlefront. Death is symbolized by poppies. The surrealistic atmosphere allows the characters to pass by poppies, or be handed a poppy rather than being shot or dying from mustard gas. And I particularly liked the scoreboard where the result--regardless of the men lost or the ground lost was always VICTORY! The final scene with the women and children having a picnic in a beautiful field requires the scope of the "big screen." When the child comes running up to his mother and asks, "What did Daddy do in the war?" the answer comes not from the mother but from the camera pulling back very slowly from the picnic. We see a cross and some poppies and then we see more poppies and more crosses until all we can see are the crosses and poppies of Flanders Field and we are no longer able to distinguish the people having the picnic. This is a film for those who enjoy surrealism and satire. It is a must for anyone studying anti-war films. And as an added treat, it has in it practically everybody who was anybody in British theatre at the time it was made.


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