7.2/10
2,110
63 user 28 critic

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 ...
...
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 ever popular war game with songs battles & a few jokes 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

Gerald Sim (Chaplain) was the brother-in-law of the director Richard Attenborough. See more »

Goofs

Towards the end of the film, a group of Scottish soldiers wait in a trench for an attack to begin. The weather is unsettled and the film crew's reflections are visible in the soldiers' wet helmets. 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 ...
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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 in Film (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Keep the Home Fires Burning
(uncredited)
Music by Ivor Novello
Lyrics by Lena Guilbert Ford
Performed by chorus
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.


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