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The Way Ahead (1944)

Approved | | Drama, War | 3 June 1945 (USA)
World War II drama that follows a group of British draftees, starting with their rigorous basic training, and ending with their deployment in North Africa.

Director:

Carol Reed

Writers:

Eric Ambler (original story), Eric Ambler (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Niven ... Lt. Jim Perry
Stanley Holloway ... Pte. Ted Brewer
James Donald ... Pte. Evan Lloyd
John Laurie ... Pte. Luke
Leslie Dwyer Leslie Dwyer ... Pte. Sid Beck
Hugh Burden ... Pte. Bill Parsons
Jimmy Hanley ... Pte. Geoffrey Stainer (as Jimmie Hanley)
William Hartnell ... Sgt. Ned Fletcher (as Billy Hartnell)
Reginald Tate Reginald Tate ... The Training Company Commanding Officer
Leo Genn ... Capt. Edwards
John Ruddock John Ruddock ... Chelsea Pensioner
A. Bromley Davenport A. Bromley Davenport ... Chelsea Pensioner (as Bromley Davenport)
Renée Asherson ... Marjorie Gillingham (as Renee Ascherson)
Mary Jerrold Mary Jerrold ... Mrs. Gillingham
Tessie O'Shea Tessie O'Shea ... Herself - ENSA Entertainer
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Storyline

A group of draftees are called up into the infantry during World War II. At first, they appear to be a hopeless bunch, but their Sergeant and Lieutenant have faith in them and mould them into a good team. When they go into action in North Africa, they realize what it's all about. Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Story of Today---YOU'LL REMEMBER FOREVER! (original ad - several caps)

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French | German

Release Date:

3 June 1945 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Immortal Battalion See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Two Cities Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (recorded on) (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the U.K., this was released on D-Day, June 6, 1944. See more »

Goofs

The Vickers gun used by Brewer and Luke changes from having a smooth barrel casing/water jacket, in the exterior shots, to a corrugated pattern once inside the Cafe Rispoli. See more »

Quotes

Pvt. Ted Brewer: Only one good man ever got into Parliament.
Pvt. Herbert Davenport: Oh really? Who?
Pvt. Ted Brewer: Bleedin' Guy Fawkes.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: MARCH 1939 See more »

Alternate Versions

The version seen on American TV under the alternate title "The Immortal Battalion" has been re-edited and extensively cut (from 115 to 91 or 86 minutes) by Ed Fitz with an added preface and epilogue by war correspondent Quentin Reynolds. See more »

Connections

Remake of The New Lot (1943) See more »

Soundtracks

Marche Mustapha Kamel
(uncredited)
Composer unknown
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Jerrie's attacked and broken through our front lines!
13 December 2007 | by sol-kaySee all my reviews

(Minor Spoilers) One of the very best war movies to be made while WWII was still in progress with almost no hint of propaganda and false or movie-like heroism on the part of the good guys a squad,not battalion, of British Tommies in the North African desert. Released in London on June 6, 1944 D-Day, the film was released in the USA a year later as "The Immortal Battalion, "The Way Ahead" couldn't have come at a better time with the Allies and Nazis in a life and death struggle on the beaches of Normandy.

The movie starts off with a number of British recruits well into their 20's or even early 30's getting the hang of military life which at first they greatly, like their first sergeant Ned Fletcher(William Hertwell), dislike. As the trooper are whipped into shape by the though as nails Sgt. Fletcher and their commanding officer the soft spoken Let. Jim Perry, Davd Niven, their slated to sail to French North Africa to participate in the invasion, in Operation Torch, of Vichy France's colonies Algeria and Tunisia. As things turn out the troop ship that their in gets struck by a German U-boat torpedo and sinks, with half the battalion lost, in the Mediterranean Sea.

With Let.Perry's unite now reduced to company size it's sent to Gibraltar for what seems like the remainder of the war. It's not until the battle of El Alamein starts to turn against the British Eight Army that Let. Perry's men are immediately sent to the front lines to stop the German Afrika's Corps advance. We , as well as Perry's men, finally get to see action as Let. Perry's men are outflanked and cut off by the advancing German troops as the battle of El Alamein rages on behind their backs.

Fghting for their very lives and almost out of ammunition the trapped and outnumbered British troops at the end of the movie tack on their bayonets and walk out of the safety of their barricaded and fixed position, the Rispoli Café, to confront the heavily armed Germans. And at the same time walk into the pages of history in both courage and valor under fire.

You just can't keep from holding back your tears in watching the movie knowing that almost all the cast will eventually end up killed or captured. The movie both didn't overemphasize the British Troops as well as downplay Rommell's Africa Corps. Both parties came across equally brave and effective in the fighting that takes pace in the film. Which is very rare in war movies were one side, the one who makes the film, is shown vastly superior morally as well as militarily over the other: The one that the side who made the movie is at war with.

P.S Look for both Actor Peter Ustinov as café owner Rispoli and Trevor Howard as the troop ships, that goes under the waves, officer in the movie.


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