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Oh! What a Lovely War (1969)

 -  Musical | War  -  3 October 1969 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,625 users  
Reviews: 58 user | 20 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 one family (last name Smith) who go off to ... See full summary »

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(play), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Oh! What a Lovely War (1969)

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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 9 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Wendy Allnutt ...
Flo Smith
Colin Farrell ...
Harry Smith
Malcolm McFee ...
Freddie Smith
John Rae ...
Grandpa Smith
...
Bertie Smith
...
George Smith
Paul Shelley ...
Jack Smith
Kim Smith ...
Dickie Smith
Angela Thorne ...
Betty Smith
Mary Wimbush ...
Mary 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 one family (last name Smith) 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 Duke Ferdinand, the Christmas meeting between British and German soldiers in no-mans-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:

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)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The band marching though Brighton is the Band of the Irish Guards (formed in 1900), as evidenced by the blue plumes in their bearskins and the 4-button groupings on their tunics. See more »

Goofs

This occurs in the scene of the morning of the Christmas Truce: when one of the soldiers is offered a hot drink, he doesn't move his lips when he says "cocoa". See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Over There
(uncredited)
Written by George M. Cohan
Performed by chorus (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Masterpiece
12 April 2005 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

It is a mystery to me why this film isn't on everybody's top ten films listing. It is truly a masterpiece of acting and direction, and without doubt the best anti-war film I have ever seen. Yet it was never released on video, and it took over 20 years of waiting to see it repeated on television and tape it for my collection.

It is all the more telling for its simplicity - none of the many great actors taking part delivers a weighty pronouncement on the evils - or otherwise - of war; it is enough to see the awful toll posted on the cricket scoreboard that keeps the daily tally of dead. The ordinariness of the Smith family, who lose every last one of their young men to the conflict, the cheerful patriotism of the proud families waving their loved ones off to war, and the stupid banalities of the officers who daily send their men out to be killed only serve to highlight the absolute futility and waste of WWI and all the wars that followed.

Scenes of upper class twits at play while their servants are dying to preserve their privileges; the officers' ball where military leaders try to score points off each other, concerned only with protocol and promotion; and the brilliant black humor of the outdoor church service are juxtaposed with scenes from the trenches as we watch the young men die one by one, all the more harrowing for their cheeky humor and fatalism.

Why this brilliant film has been allowed to sink without trace is baffling; I first saw it in the early seventies, and today it still has the same impact. And sadly, it is just as relevant now as it was then - a testimony to our inability to learn from our mistakes.


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