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Dad's Army (1971)

G  |   |  Comedy, War  |  September 1971 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 1,555 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 2 critic

The misadventures of a ragtag group of elderly Home Guard local defense volunteers at the onset of WW2.



(idea), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
James Beck ...
Liz Fraser ...
Bernard Archard ...
Maj. Gen. Fullard
Derek Newark ...
Edward Sinclair ...
Anthony Sagar ...
Police Sergeant
Pat Coombs ...
Mrs. Hall


When World War Two breaks out, the small seaside town of Walmington-on-Sea finds itself less than ably defended by the elderly and inept members of Captain Mainwaring's home guard unit. Put on manoeuvres by a visiting Major-General, Mainwaring's men manage to bungle one task after another. However, when a group of Germans from a scout plane take the Mayor hostage at the church hall, the clueless soldiers might still have a chance of saving the day! Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


At last! Their epic story invades the Big Screen!


Comedy | War


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

September 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Daar komen de schutters  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)


(archive footage in opening scenes)| (Technicolor) (as Technicolor®)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


A sequel was mooted, but never made. The plot devised by the writers had the platoon at a country manor house, beneath which they would discover a clandestine U-boat base. The film was to conclude with Mainwaring's men taking control of a submarine, only to realise that none of them could steer it. See more »


Jones is wearing a jacket at the meeting in the police station but as they leave to go to the church hall his jacket is missing. When they reach the church hall he is wearing it again See more »


[Jones' "Anti Dive Bomber Gun" has set a barn alight]
Cpt. George Mainwaring: One thing, Jones. I don't think you should have added the bicarbonate of soda.
See more »


References Dracula (1931) See more »


We'll Meet Again
Sung by Vera Lynn
Lyrics by Hugh Charles
Music by Ross Parker
See more »

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User Reviews

Gentle but brilliantly performed comedy - 72%
2 May 2010 | by (Hampshire, England) – See all my reviews

TV shows rarely translate well to the silver screen, even nowadays. I'm sure that fans of "Sex And The City" and "The X Files" will wax lyrical about their big-screen outings until the cows come home but in truth, neither will go down as classics. In the past, popular British sitcoms were even less successful - nonsense like "On the Buses" would really only appeal to die-hard fans these days but even at the time, they were hardly ground-breaking. One of the few true comic gems of that era was the World War 2-themed "Dad's Army" which was a gentle, family-friendly serving of old men fooling around in the name of serving King & country. It is one of the very best sitcoms the UK has produced but can it survive the treacherous translation to the movie screen?

In the early part of World War 2, the British Government announced that anyone wishing to volunteer to defend the British mainland was to report to the authorities and help establish the Local Defence Volunteers (later renamed as the Home Guard). For local bank manager Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe), this is the chance he's been dreaming of to stand up and lead his community of Warmington-On-Sea in the fight against the Germans. Sadly, his dreams of glory are shattered by his ramshackle bunch of men including an enthusiastic veteran of many conflicts (Clive Dunn), a geriatric clerk-turned-nurse (Arnold Ridley), a gloomy Scottish undertaker (John Laurie) and the wet-behind-the-ears "nephew" (Ian Lavender) of his upper-class second-in-command Sergeant Wilson (John Le Mesurier). Nevertheless, Mainwaring intends to prove his doubters wrong but could such an inadequate bunch of men hope to succeed against the might of the Nazis?

The beauty and genius of "Dad's Army" lay less in the situation and more in the understated performances of the cast led by Le Mesurier and Lowe. They really were a great team and without the laughter normally heard on the TV show, their witty dialogue shines through and really lifts the film. All the cast are exceptional, as you'd expect given that they had been playing the parts on TV for a few years by then but they really do give it everything. My main gripe, however, is that this feels like three episodes stitched together to last for an hour and a half and perhaps avid fans of the show may feel short-changed, especially given that some of the gags and plot-lines were plundered from the show. But for newcomers and casual viewers alike, this is a funny (if sometimes poignant) reminder of a great show that still has many fans so long after the show ended.

I cannot deny that the film has aged a little, as you'd expect, and the comedy is very much to taste. My wife was howling with laughter at some of the slapstick and situational comedy, especially during the middle of the film where they run into the General (Bernard Archard) and his horse but for me personally, I never found "Dad's Army" to be THAT funny. It isn't a riot like "Fawlty Towers" was but something that was gentle fun, to be watched with your granny and Little Baby Sue at the same time. The curious thing that always struck me was how true to life it was. It felt strangely evocative as if it were a documentary instead of a comedy and in the movie, it made me think about how awful those dark days were, watching ordinary men trying to train themselves to be soldiers capable of killing other men just like themselves. However, that shouldn't distract from what is a great comic film filled with fantastic performances, dialogue to savour and a heart that is firmly in the right place.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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