A film with no spoken dialogue, just follows the music and lyrics of Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem, which include WWI soldier poet Wilfred Owen's poems reflecting the war's horrors. It ... See full summary »




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Cast overview, first billed only:
The Nurse
The Old Soldier
Patricia Hayes ...
Rohan McCullough ...
Enemy Mother
The Unknown Soldier
The German Soldier
Blinded Soldier
Claire Davenport ...
Charge Sister / Britannia
Spencer Leigh ...
Soldier 1
Milo Bell ...
Soldier 2
Richard Stirling ...
Soldier 3
Kim Kindersley ...
Soldier 4
Stuart Turton ...
Soldier 5


A film with no spoken dialogue, just follows the music and lyrics of Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem, which include WWI soldier poet Wilfred Owen's poems reflecting the war's horrors. It shows the story of an Englishman soldier (Wilfred Owen) and a nurse (his bride) during World War I. It also includes actual footage of contemporary wars (WWII, Vietnam, Angola, etc.) Written by Michel Rudoy <mdrc@hp9000a1.uam.mx>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | War


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Release Date:

6 January 1989 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Sota requiem  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(as spectral recording Dolby Stereo SR in selected theatres)


(archive footage)|
See  »

Did You Know?


Opening credits prologue: Wilfred Owen, the soldier poet whose words inspired Benjamin Britten's music, was killed in the last week of World War I at the age of 27. See more »


War Requiem, Op. 66
Composed and conducted by Benjamin Britten
Based on poems by Wilfred Owen
Soloists: Galina Vishnevskaya, Peter Pears and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau with The Bach Choir, The London Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Highgate School Choir
Music played by The Melos Ensemble of London and The London Symphony Orchestra
Organist: Simon Preston
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User Reviews

Powerful, lyrical visual poem
25 April 2002 | by (Hatfield, MA) – See all my reviews

War Requiem is a vital film in Derek Jarman's filmography; seemingly handcuffed by a score with which he could not play around at all, Jarman could not work his sonic wizardry with his usual collaborator Simon Fisher Turner, or any others. However, here Jarman fused many of his passions and obsessions into one of his most personal statements: working with favorite actors, especially the intense and beautiful Tilda Swinton; using the shimmering, glorious Super 8 of home and play; collaging and staging and digging up artifacts to reposition and reexamine them; and composing image and cuts like a composer working on a new symphony. Dziga Vertov and Dovzhenko may have been working in this vein this decades ago, but if Jarman gives it a try today, the comparisons are to "music video"; naturally, no one is really paying attention if they're making comments like this. The intent and effect of works such as War Requiem (or The Last of England and The Garden) are virtually an antithesis of the shallow, splashy, and seizure-ridden style and pace of MTV and company. Jarman has advanced his uniquely cinematic aesthetic - somewhere between the work of a symphonic composer and a painter, working with light and celluloid instead of oils - in this work that treads a tightrope between narrative and poetic verse. So many sequences of this film are powerful and gutsy and utterly moving: the montage of war footage, building in rhythm and intensity with Britten's score; the tear-inducing shot of Tilda swaying to the music; the nurses playing "Blind Man¹s Bluff"; the smoke and flowers. Derek crafted one of his most hearfelt, original, and spontaneously lyrical movies in War Requiem; now it only needs a top-notch release on DVD.

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