IMDb > Oh! What a Lovely War (1969)
Oh! What a Lovely War
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Oh! What a Lovely War (1969) More at IMDbPro »

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Oh! What a Lovely War -- 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.


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Charles Chilton (play)
Ted Allan (stage treatment)
View company contact information for Oh! What a Lovely War on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
3 October 1969 (USA) See more »
The ever popular war game with songs battles & a few jokes See more »
A movie about the First World War based on a stage musical of the same name, portraying the "Game of... See more » | Add synopsis »
Won Golden Globe. Another 9 wins & 5 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Should be subtitled: Don't Go Near the Poppies See more (61 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)
Wendy Allnutt ... Florence Victoria 'Flo' Smith
Colin Farrell ... Harry Arnold Smith
Malcolm McFee ... Frederick Percy 'Freddie' Smith
John Rae ... Grandpa Smith

Corin Redgrave ... Bertram Biddle 'Bertie' Smith

Maurice Roëves ... 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 ... Czar Nicholas II
Isabel Dean ... Sir John French's Lady
Christian Doermer ... Fritz
Robert Flemyng ... Major Mallory - Staff Officer in Gassed Trench
Meriel Forbes ... Lady Pamela Grey

Ian Holm ... President Raymond Poincaré
David Lodge ... Recruiting Sergeant at Music Hall
Joe Melia ... The Photographer
Guy Middleton ... General Sir William Robertson

Juliet Mills ... Nurse
Nanette Newman ... Nurse
Cecil Parker ... Sir John
Natasha Parry ... Sir William Robertson's Lady
Gerald Sim ... Chaplain
Thorley Walters ... Staff Officer in Ballroom
Anthony Ainley ... 3rd Aide

Penelope Allen ... Solo Chorus Girl (as Penny Allen)
Maurice Arthur ... Soldier Singer at Chaplain's Address
Freddie Ascott ... 'Whizzbang' Soldier

Michael Bates ... Drunk Lance Corporal
Fanny Carby ... Mill Girl
Cecilia Darby ... Sir Henry Wilson's Lady
Geoffrey Davies ... Aide to Field-Marshal Haig

Edward Fox ... Aide to Field-Marshal Haig
George Ghent ... Heckler at Pankhurst Speech
Peter Gilmore ... Private Burgess
Ben Howard ... Private Garbett
Norman Jones ... Scottish Soldier
Paddy Joyce ... Irish Soldier

Angus Lennie ... Scottish Soldier
Harry Locke ... Heckler at Pankhurst Speech
Clifford Mollison ... Heckler at Pankhurst Speech
Derek Newark ... Shooting Gallery Proprietor

John Owens ... Seamus Moore
Ron Pember ... Corporal at Railway Station
Dorothy Reynolds ... Heckler at Pankhurst Speech
Norman Shelley ... Staff Officer in Ballroom
Marianne Stone ... Mill Girl
John Trigger ... Officer at Railway Station
Kathleen Wileman ... Emma Smith - Age 4

Dirk Bogarde ... Stephen
Phyllis Calvert ... Lady Dorothy Haig

Jean-Pierre Cassel ... French Colonel (as Jean Pierre Cassel)
John Clements ... General Helmuth von Moltke

John Gielgud ... Count Leopold von Berchtold

Jack Hawkins ... Emperor Franz Joseph

Kenneth More ... Kaiser Wilhelm II

Laurence Olivier ... Field-Marshal Sir John French

Michael Redgrave ... General Sir Henry Wilson

Vanessa Redgrave ... Sylvia Pankhurst

Ralph Richardson ... Sir Edward Grey

Maggie Smith ... Music Hall Star

Susannah York ... Eleanor

John Mills ... Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig
Band of the Irish Guards ... Military Band in Brighton (as The Band of the Irish Guards)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Pamela Abbott ... Czarina Alexandra (uncredited)
Charlotte Attenborough ... Emma Smith - Age 8 (uncredited)
Annie Bee ... Girl Friend in 'Goodbyee' (uncredited)
Norman Bird ... Training Sergeant (uncredited)
Joanne Brown ... Singer (uncredited)
Christopher Cabot ... Soldier in Shell Hole (uncredited)
Jeremy Child ... Wealthy Young Man (uncredited)
Frank Coda ... Soldier in 'Goodbyee' (uncredited)
Ambrose Coghill ... His Father (uncredited)
Stella Courtney ... Poincaré's Lady (uncredited)
Sheila Cox ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Elizabeth Craven ... Kaiserin Augusta (uncredited)
Richard Davies ... Sergeant in Burial Party (uncredited)
John Dunhill ... Irish Soldier (uncredited)
Ray Edwards ... 3rd Staff Officer in Ballroom (uncredited)
Charles Farrell ... Policeman (uncredited)
Hermione Farthingale ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Frank Forsyth ... President Woodrow Wilson (uncredited)
Joyce Franklin ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
John Gabriel ... Nikolai Lenin (uncredited)
Zeph Gladstone ... Sir John's Chauffeuse (uncredited)
Ruth Gower ... General von Moltke's Lady (uncredited)
Kim Grant ... Soldier in 'Goodbyee' (uncredited)
Carole Gray ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Paul Hansard ... German Officer (uncredited)
Kathleen Helme ... Berchtold's Lady (uncredited)
Richard Howard ... Young Soldier at Mons (uncredited)
John Hussey ... Soldier on Balcony (uncredited)
Dinny Jones ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Lind Joyce ... Scoreboard Girl (uncredited)
Dolores Judson ... Haig's Girlfriend (uncredited)
Ruth Kettlewell ... Duchess Sophie (uncredited)
Stanley Lebor ... Soldier in Gassed Trench (uncredited)
Delia Linden ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Richard Loring ... Soldier in 'Goodbyee' (uncredited)
Tom Marshall ... Soldier in 'Goodbyee' (uncredited)
Stanley McGeagh ... Soldier in Gassed Trench (uncredited)
Isabelle Metcalfe ... Girl Friend in 'Goodbyee' (uncredited)
Jenny Morgan ... Girl Friend in 'Goodbyee' (uncredited)
Anthony Morton ... Italian Military Attaché (uncredited)
Christine Noonan ... Mill Girl (uncredited)
Wensley Pithey ... Archduke Franz Ferdinand (uncredited)
Steve Plytas ... Turkish Military Attaché (uncredited)
Andrew Robertson ... 2nd Scottish Soldier (uncredited)
Sue Robinson ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
David Scheuer ... French Soldier (uncredited)

Jane Seymour ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Valerie Smith ... Girl Friend in 'Goodbyee' (uncredited)
Pippa Steel ... Scoreboard Girl (uncredited)
P.G. Stephens ... Irish Soldier (uncredited)
Tony Thawnton ... Officer on Telephone (uncredited)
Christian Thorogood ... Irish Soldier (uncredited)
Brian Tipping ... 4th Scottish Soldier (uncredited)
Bette Vivian ... Heckler at Pankhurst Speech (uncredited)
Tony Vogel ... German Soldier (uncredited)
Arthur White ... Sergeant in Dugout (uncredited)
Michael Wolf ... German Officer (uncredited)
John Woodnutt ... British Officer (uncredited)
Julia Wright ... Haig's Secretary (uncredited)
Mary Yeomans ... Scoreboard Girl (uncredited)

Directed by
Richard Attenborough 
Writing credits
Charles Chilton (play)

Ted Allan (stage treatment)

Len Deighton  screenplay (uncredited)

Produced by
Richard Attenborough .... producer
Mac Davidson .... associate producer (as Mack Davidson)
Brian Duffy .... producer
Len Deighton .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Alfred Ralston 
Cinematography by
Gerry Turpin (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Kevin Connor 
Casting by
Miriam Brickman 
Production Design by
Donald M. Ashton  (as Don Ashton)
Art Direction by
Harry White 
Costume Design by
Anthony Mendleson 
Makeup Department
Biddy Chrystal .... chief hairdresser
Stuart Freeborn .... makeup supervisor
Production Management
John Comfort .... production manager
Paul Hitchcock .... executive in charge of production (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Claude Watson .... assistant director
Nicolas Hippisley-Coxe .... second second assistant director (uncredited)
Drummond Riddell .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Ron Baker .... property buyer
Albert Blackshaw .... construction manager
Peter James .... set dresser
Jack Towns .... stand-by propman
Peter Wood .... scenic artist
Tim Hutchinson .... draughtsman (uncredited)
Sound Department
Tom Buchanan .... boom operator
Don Challis .... sound editor
Peter Handford .... special sound effects
Brian Holland .... sound editor
Gerry Humphreys .... dubbing mixer
Simon Kaye .... sound mixer
Special Effects by
Ron Ballanger .... special effects
Brian Gamby .... special effects (uncredited)
Fred Heather .... special effects (uncredited)
Garth Inns .... special effects (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Fred Anderson .... electrical supervisor
David Cripps .... photographer: title sequence
Pat Newman .... camera grip
Michael Sarafian .... camera assistant
Ronnie Taylor .... camera operator
Ian McMillan .... camera operator: helicopter (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Brian Owen-Smith .... wardrobe master
Eileen Sullivan .... wardrobe mistress
Editorial Department
Peter Hollywood .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Music Department
Michael Clifford .... music editor
E.G. Horabin .... director of music: The Orchestra of the Corps of Royal Engineers [Aldershot] (as Captain E.G. Horabin LRAM ARCM psm RE)
C.H. Jaeger .... director of music: The Band of the Irish Guards (as Lieut-Colonel C.H. Jaeger OBE Mus Bac LRAM ARCM psm)
Alfred Ralston .... conductor
Alfred Ralston .... orchestrator
Eric Tomlinson .... music recordist
Other crew
Douglas Campbell .... military advisor (as Major-General Sir Douglas Campbell KBE CB DSO MC)
Bryan Coates .... location manager
Eleanor Fazan .... choreographer
Raymond Hawkey .... title designer
Joan Littlewood .... producer: Theatre Workshop production
Ann M. Paterson .... production secretary (as Ann Paterson)
May Routh .... production researcher
Ann Skinner .... continuity
Derek Tarrant .... production accountant
Ron Bareham .... assistant accounting (uncredited)
Pam Rose .... stand-in/double (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies
  • Band of the Corps of Royal Engineers  kind permission for appearance: The Orchestra of the Corps of Royal Engineers [Aldershot] (as The Engineer-in-Chief, Corps of Royal Engineers)
  • Irish Guards, The  kind permission for appearance: The Band of the Irish Guards (as The Officer Commanding, Irish Guards)
  • Panavision  filmed in

Additional Details

Also Known As:
144 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:G | Finland:K-8 | Netherlands:14 (1970) | Sweden:11 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (video rating) | USA:G

Did You Know?

Gerald Sim (Chaplain) was the brother-in-law of the director Richard Attenborough.See more »
Continuity: During the song "Bombed Last Night" in the trench that had just undergone a gassing disaster, when the sergeant is doing his dance, he is just turning clockwise on 'no more of us'. However, in the next frame, he is suddenly facing the absolute opposite way with no time in between shots for him to have turned around that quickly.See more »
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...See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in The EE British Academy Film Awards (2015) (TV)See more »
Pack Up Your TroublesSee more »


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34 out of 37 people found the following review useful.
Should be subtitled: Don't Go Near the Poppies, 10 July 2001
Author: Barbara Eberly ( from Cullowhee, NC

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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