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Private Peaceful
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Private Peaceful More at IMDbPro »

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22 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

A beautiful portrayal of love and loyalty.

Author: rhudson1066 from United Kingdom
1 November 2012

A beautiful portrayal of love and loyalty, this film gives a convincing insight into the lives at home and at war of young men in the First War. Key relationships are poignantly rendered, firstly between cocksure Charlie Peaceful and his sensitive and introspective brother Tommo. Their relationship with their father is particularly moving as well, as is their mutual love for their friend Molly. One thing that stands out for me is the authenticity of the film's portrayal of their acceptance of each other, of one sibling's 'conquest' of Molly, and of the relative poverty of their situation as fatherless farm-boys - although the outbursts of politicised rebellion in this respect are also convincing, if not when blurted out to the landowner who is bizarrely drinking in the public bar with the lads. This is indeed one of several anachronisms in the film (along with unrealistic woodcutting of the forester and the strangely silent field hospital), but these do not undermine what is otherwise a deeply moving portrayal of an everyday tragedy.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Beautifully constructed drama about sacrifices

Author: perkypops from United Kingdom
25 June 2013

This story involves the lives of two English brothers growing up in the early twentieth century. We witness their comradeship at school as older brother Charlie looks after younger Tommo. We observe the hardship endured by their mother after her husband dies in an accident. We see them meet Molly for the first time and have a beautifully painted scene where we know exactly what each brother is thinking. And the passage of time leads us to the Great War and how they end up as soldiers.

Each link in the chain is perfectly manufactured, perfectly fitted together and brilliantly paced apart. Every thing is carefully drawn in charcoal before the colours are added and we know what the painting is really revealing.

The acting is of top quality, the costumes a delight, and the times, cultures, and habits carefully put to good use. There is poetry on the screen in abundance but it is not stuff that is hard to work through. In the whole it is entirely entertaining and satisfying because there is no artifice in the script. You know what the characters are and there is little sentimentality present but sensitivity in abundance.

If you had made this film you would be well proud of it. Had Hollywood made it with major stars it would be in the Oscar stakes. As it is it is a work of art, lovingly put together by a crew who must all be congratulated on their skill.

Warmly recommended for early teens and above.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Very good war drama

Author: yeltzmanmatt from Birmingham, England
25 August 2014

Private Peaceful follows 2 brothers from childhood to their participation in World War 1. It features themes of friendship, loyalty, courage and sibling rivalry. It features a good UK based cast featuring the late Richard Griffiths and the always excellent Jack O'Connell.

For a film covering a period of time it has a relatively short running time and therefore has a lot to pack in. Therefore there are a number of characters that aren't fully fleshed out. For a small film I thought the war scenes were extremely well done and managed to convey the full horror of war for the often under prepared soldiers.

It all ends rather abruptly and doesn't tie up loose ends which is a bit risky from the filmmaker. I think in this case however it is justified as it makes a greater impact.

This is a only small film but is very engrossing and well worth seeking out. Very enjoyable and thought provoking.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Richard Griffiths Last Film.

Author: morrison-dylan-fan from United Kingdom
15 July 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

With my dad's Birthday fast approaching,I suddenly remembered seeing a poster outside a local outhouse cinema a few months ago,for what looked to be a very interesting British WW1 movie.

Tracking down the name of the title after checking the listings of movies shown in the art-house cinema's archive,I went straight away to Amazon UK,where I was shocked to find the movie being sold at an insane high price.Deciding to try and find put if there were any other DVD editions of the movie by searching online,I was instead happily caught by surprise,when I discovered that a supermarket website was selling the movie at an extremely good price,which led me to excitingly getting ready to experience "peace time" for the first time.

The plot:


As he awaits his sentence for disobeying a general's order's to re-enter no man's land,Private Peaceful begins to think back to his childhood.


Being the 5th generation to work for the family as a games keeper and groundsman ,James Peaceful push's his annoyance over the family's superiority complex aside, by thinking about the wage that he receives,which is allowing James to send his 2 sons Charlie and Tommy "Tommo" Peaceful to a good school,as his loving wife Hazel looks after the couple's autistic son,"Big Joe" Peaceful ,and also feeling happy that one of his son's will follow in his footsteps in the future.

Despite both of them playing some rather naughty games around the school yard,Tommy and Charlie each hold the bond with their family dearly.Joining his dad in the family ground's to help cut down some trees,Charlie fails to notice a huge tree failing near him.Pushing Charlie out of the way,Jack is sadly unable to avoid the falling tree,which leads to him getting crushed to death.Haunted by the sight of his father taking his dying breath,Charlie vows to do everything possible to make amends in himself for "killing" his dad.

View on the film:

Appearing within the first 5 minutes of the film (and also on a mini making of) the late Richard Griffiths makes his final screen appearance a joy to witness,with Griffiths making sure that the wealthy man who is currently hiring the Peaceful family,strong,traditional views are clearly shown,whilst also making sure to smartly deliver the dialogue in a charming manner,which allows for the character to appear much more dimensional than other actors would have allowed him to be.

Taking place from 1908-1914,the Peaceful's children and childhood friends are each played by two different actors who brilliantly make each character's transition from childhood to adulthood feel completely natural,with Jack O'Connell and Hero Fiennes-Tiffin both superbly showing the deep scar that is left on Charlie from his father's death,which gradually becomes more consuming as Charlie and "Tommo" both decide to make their mum proud by signing up with the other youngsters in the village for the front line.

Whilst some of the anti-WW1 sentiment that the character's express dose feel a bit against the real life events which took place in the "last gasp" era of the Victorian period, (where dozens of villages tragically lost almost all of their young men and boys,who largely signed up to join the front lines of WW1 in large groups of either friends or family) the adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's novel by Simon Reade carefully balances the tragic events that take place for the Peaceful family with that of the events of WW1,with Reade showing James sense of optimism being replaced by Charlie and Tommo having a deep desire for the darkened corners of the old era to fade away,in the faint hope of a new horizon slowly appearing.

Shooting the WW1 scenes in an unflinching,raw manner which shows the full horrific world that Charlie and Tommo find themselves in,director Pat O'Connor and cinematography Jerzy Zielinski contrast the gritty nature of the 1914 scenes by making the 1908 scenes ones that are filled with a brightly lit sense of joy and peaceful optimism,which as the years get closer to 1914,tragically starts to fade away.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Life in the trenches WW1, exceptional BBC production

Author: ifet from Toronto
17 July 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Life in the trenches WW1, with malicious sergeant, thoughts of affectionate memories in back home Devon... This movie made a lasting and emotional impression on me, the director Pat O'Connor, screenwriter Simon Reade, and the BBC should all be proud… a grand tribute to one of the cast Richard Griffiths, he is no longer shining his starlight. I was literally taken there to that era, reminding me of time with my grandparents in Northern England, it was WW1 memories for them, with postwar WW2 shortages, ration books for me… No farm labourers left to plough the fields... I have seen a lot of war movies, but this small budget (presumably) film is perhaps superior, certainly more authentic than the big epics before it, with simple undisputed and reliable truths…. the actors portraying the characters relatively unknown to me, yet solid performances from all. This is what it was like for the British lads in WW1… fighting for King and Country, for the generals and the politicians, for the landowners, two brothers trying to survive the war with the Hun… a malicious insecure sergeant does not help…sending his men, following orders, to be mowed down by German machine guns... The storyline nicely interwoven returns to their childhood and first love, very sensitively screened and depicted. At times I found it very gripping and exasperating when Haig is seen playing billiards in his country estate home, a court martial warrant is sent in to be approved and signed. Hardly a moment's notice and the warrant is signed, a British soldier is to be shot for supposed "cowardice" … Haig immediately goes back to his game of billiards. Shocking and tragic… but I have no doubt it happened like that. It is interesting to note that writer Michael Morpurgo first published his book in 2003... and all the British soldiers "executed for cowardice" were pardoned in 2006. Worthwhile BBC production, highly recommended… Malcolm in Toronto July 2015

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Great Movie

Author: Stephen O Connell
2 June 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Movie is a brilliant capturing of the true problems and hardship in the times of World War 1, it captures the brilliant realism of the war and followed the life of a young man and his brother who befriend this girl who they both are great friends with, Tommo loves this girl very much, only for his brother Charlie to have captured her heart more.

This is a sad story and truly shows the great hardship that families had to with-stand during world war 1, Over all this is a great Movie and it should be certain you watch this.

This is very well portrayed from the novel- version and follows a struggling family from England during World War 1 in a small town in Iddlesbreigh who struggle with a elderly brother who has special-needs and has a fatal accident, when there father is killed, when a tree crushes him.

It's very sad a does show you the true realism of World War 1

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Peaceful's war

Author: Prismark10 from United Kingdom
8 March 2016

Private Peaceful is adapted from the book by Michael Morpurgo. It is a low budget film that features the final screen performance of Richard Griffiths who plays the pompous retired headmaster, the Colonel.

Told in flashbacks, the story is about two Devonshire brothers Tommo (George McKay) and Charlie (Jack O'Connell) who before the war was close and getting into scrapes such as upsetting the Colonel and fall for the young girl in the village Molly (Alexandra Roach.) It is Charlie who marries her. Now Charlie is facing the firing squad for alleged cowardice.

Until their father died in a tragic accident, the family had a relatively good life. Their father was a gamekeeper and forester employed by wealthy landowners.

Both join up to fight the Great War even though Tommo was too young. Charlie tries to take care of Tommo and concerned about Molly who became pregnant before they set of for Flanders. Charlie also crosses swords with a sadistic sergeant who proves his undoing as Charlie disobeys orders and stays with injured Tommo in no man's land that leads him to be court martialled despite both men surviving gas attacks and deaths of their fellow soldiers while in the trenches.

Both actors play their roles with sensitivity and despite the low key nature of the film there is an anti war message in its core. The film shows an England in the flux of change which the war accelerates albeit still too slowly for some.

General Haig signs Charlie death warrant while paying billiards in his country estate. No thought to delve deeper as to what actually happened. It is left to history to judge Haig.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Great film

Author: Jed-153-838716
7 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film is a great WW1 film. It shows how harsh some of the sergeants are. I didn't realise before I what he'd this film that deserters would be shot. Personally I think they should have just been put on the front line, rather than just murdering them. This film brought some questions to me. One of them was; why were sergeants so differing in their treatment of their soldiers? Some sergeants treated the soldiers as if they were muck, others treated them like they were friends or brothers. Also this film showed how many families were torn apart by the war, many fathers didn't come home. Also it brought into light that you were seen as a coward if you didn't join, and the fact that many teens joined in and lied about their age so that they could go to war. Plus many innocent people were killed in the war. It had a sad ending as most of Michael Morpergo's books do. It is a great film to watch, as it is informative as well as entertaining.

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1 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

A joke

Author: grayman175 from United Kingdom
19 January 2013

A terrible portrayal of a really good book. The films acting and general scene work was awful,any viewer who knows a tiny little bit about world war one Will watch this and know that they didn't put any care into the costumes and special effects. Overall this film is dog poo when put next to morpurgo's war horse film. Greatly Disappointed! This film really annoyed me as I was waiting for a really well made film (like the war horse) but they showed me a cast who's accents are terrible and General acting skills of a four-year old! At one point in the film sergeant Hanley makes Tommo run around and Charlie squares up to him,this annoys me as it would never of happened.Charlie got given field punishment number one and was tied to a gun wheel in clean uniform, this is wrong as the gun carriage would have been pulled around. This film was tripe!

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