7.2/10
4,975
62 user 39 critic

In Which We Serve (1942)

Not Rated | | Drama, War | 23 December 1942 (USA)
This "story of a ship", the British destroyer H.M.S. Torrin, is told in flashbacks by survivors as they cling to a life raft.

Directors:

Noël Coward (as Noel Coward), David Lean

Writer:

Noël Coward (by) (as Noel Coward)
Reviews
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Noël Coward ... Capt. E.V. Kinross R.N. - Captain 'D' (as Noel Coward)
John Mills ... Ordinary Seaman Shorty Blake
Bernard Miles ... Chief Petty Officer Walter Hardy
Celia Johnson ... Mrs. Alix Kinross
Kay Walsh ... Freda Lewis
Joyce Carey ... Mrs. Kath Hardy
Derek Elphinstone Derek Elphinstone ... No. 1
Michael Wilding ... Flags
Robert Sansom Robert Sansom ... Guns
Philip Friend ... Torps
Chimmo Branson Chimmo Branson ... Midshipman
Ballard Berkeley ... Engineer Commander
Hubert Gregg ... Pilot
James Donald ... Doc
Michael Whittaker Michael Whittaker ... Sub
Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Just after World War I, the Gibbons family moves to a nice house in the suburbs. They lead an ordinary life throughout the years, but everything changes when World War II breaks out.

Director: David Lean
Stars: Robert Newton, Celia Johnson, Amy Veness
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Fictionalized story of British aerospace engineers solving the problem of supersonic flight.

Director: David Lean
Stars: Ralph Richardson, Ann Todd, Nigel Patrick
Blithe Spirit (1945)
Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Charles and his second wife Ruth are haunted by the spirit of his first wife, Elvira. Medium Madame Arcati tries to help things out by contacting the ghost.

Director: David Lean
Stars: Rex Harrison, Constance Cummings, Kay Hammond
Madeleine (1950)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The middle-class family of a young woman cannot understand why she delays in marrying a respectable young man. They know nothing about her long-standing affair with a Frenchman.

Director: David Lean
Stars: Ann Todd, Norman Wooland, Ivan Desny
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The Passionate Friends were in love when young, but separated, and she married an older man. Then Mary Justin (Ann Todd) meets Steven Stratton (Trevor Howard) again and they have one last ... See full summary »

Director: David Lean
Stars: Ann Todd, Trevor Howard, Claude Rains
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Henry Hobson (Charles Laughton) is a successful bootmaker, a widower and a tyrannical father of three daughters. The girls each want to leave their father by getting married, but Henry refuses because marriage traditions require him to pay out settlements.

Director: David Lean
Stars: Charles Laughton, John Mills, Brenda de Banzie
Adventure | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A humble orphan suddenly becomes a gentleman with the help of an unknown benefactor.

Director: David Lean
Stars: John Mills, Valerie Hobson, Tony Wager
Oliver Twist (1948)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An orphan named Oliver Twist meets a pickpocket on the streets of London. From there, he joins a household of boys who are trained to steal for their master.

Director: David Lean
Stars: Robert Newton, Alec Guinness, Kay Walsh
The Cruel Sea (1953)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The World War II adventures of a British convoy escort ship and its officers.

Director: Charles Frend
Stars: Jack Hawkins, Donald Sinden, John Stratton
49th Parallel (1941)
Drama | Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A World War II U-boat crew are stranded in northern Canada. To avoid internment, they must make their way to the border and get into the still-neutral U.S.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Leslie Howard, Laurence Olivier, Raymond Massey
Adventure | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

During World War II in North Africa, a medical field unit must cross the desert in their ambulance in order to reach the British lines in Alexandria.

Director: J. Lee Thompson
Stars: John Mills, Anthony Quayle, Sylvia Syms
Dunkirk (1958)
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A dramatization of the British Expeditionary Force's 1940 retreat to the beaches of France and the extraordinary seaborne evacuation that saved it from utter destruction by Nazi Germany.

Director: Leslie Norman
Stars: John Mills, Richard Attenborough, Bernard Lee
Edit

Storyline

This is the story of a British Naval ship, H.M.S. Torrin, from its construction to its sinking in the Mediterranean during action in World War II. The ship's first and only commanding officer is the experienced Captain E.V. Kinross, who trains his men not only to be loyal to him, but to the country, and most importantly, to themselves. They face challenges at sea, and also at home. They lose some of their shipmates in action, and some of their loved ones in the devastation that is the blitz. Throughout it all, the men of the Torrin serve valiantly and heroically. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You'll Never Forget...In Which We Serve [UK Theatrical] See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

When this movie opened in September 1942, the Admiralty praised it for its authentic portrayal of Navy life. See more »

Goofs

When the sailors are in the water, clinging to the life raft, a German aircraft strafes them with machine gun fire. This simply did not happen, with the Germans, when dealing with the British or American adversaries, especially when it came to naval targets. In fact, sometimes Germans would rescue stranded sailors in the water. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: [voiceover] This is the story of a ship...
[long sequence of ship-building and launch]
See more »

Crazy Credits

This film is dedicated to the Royal Navy "whereon under the good providence of God, the wealth, safety and strength of the kingdom chiefly depend". See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dad's Army: My British Buddy (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

An der schönen, blauen Donau (On the Beautiful Blue Danube), Op. 314
(uncredited)
Music by Johann Strauss
See more »

User Reviews

 
The effect of war
18 June 2007 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Naval men watch their ship sink as they cling to a raft and remember the lives they left in "In Which We Serve," a 1942 film starring Noel Coward, John Mills, Celia Johnson, and Bernard Miles. The story takes place in World War II and shows how the war affected the British soldiers and their loved ones. Noel Coward also wrote and co-directed this film with David Lean. Like Coward's Brief Encounter, there are no glamorous movie star types. This is the story of the common man bound together by war and by their ship. Coward is Captain Kinross, who has a wife (Celia Johnson) and two children. John Mills is "Shorty," a seaman who falls in love while on leave, gets married and has a short honeymoon. Bernard Miles is Walter Hardy, a happily married man whose wife hates having him go away. Each man reflects on his story in flashback.

The impact of "In Which We Serve" must have been very powerful when it was first released. The announcement of war by the Prime Minister which comes over the radio is met with a chilling silence that the audience feels along with the men. The devastation of a blackout, the impact of the bombs at sea are very real.

"In Which We Serve" is the story of a ship, the HMS Torrin, but we learn quickly that a ship is about its people, united in one cause and who share a special camaraderie. The captain's final speech to his men is highly emotional, all the more so because it is so restrained.

All of the acting is top-notch. Someone commented that Coward seemed stiff. I think his role called for a certain formality. Hard to believe John Mills was ever that young. Celia Johnson, in her first film role, is wonderful. Coward obviously had no problems attracting the best actors to the film, as every person fits his or her role perfectly.

Like many classics, despite changes in film technique, the core story remains compelling, especially today with so many soldiers in Iraq. In one scene, the camera falls on some of the seamen as they go to their stations to do battle. Each man was carefully chosen to show his extreme youth. It was a terrible time for the world, but somehow the film is strangely uplifting. A no-miss.


7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 62 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 December 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

In Which We Serve See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

GBP240,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Sound System)

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed