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The Way Ahead (1944)

Approved | | War , Drama | 3 June 1945 (USA)
WW2 drama that follows a group of British conscripts, 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 conscripts are called up into the infantry during WWII. At first they appear 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 N. Africa they realise 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:

War | Drama

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

This started life as an Army training and instructional film, The New Lot (1943), written by Peter Ustinov and Eric Ambler, and which contained many of the cast members of this film (David Niven came in later). The training film had upset some Army brass with its frankness and was suppressed. It has recently re-emerged thanks to a copy found in an archive. 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

When originally released theatrically in the UK, the BBFC made cuts to secure a 'U' rating. All cuts were waived in 1986 when the film was granted a 'U' certificate for home video. See more »

Connections

Referenced in My Grandfather, the Doctor (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

If You Were the Only Girl (in the World)
(uncredited)
Written by Nat Ayer
Lyrics by Clifford Grey
Performed by Tessie O'Shea and soldiers
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Crazy or Eccentric!
23 March 2006 | by Rock SavageSee all my reviews

"The Way Ahead" is a wonderful addition to the History of film. I am sure the Director took the material given to him and changed it beyond recognition. What would normally have been a run of the mill propaganda film has in the hands of Carol Reed become a touching and poignant reminder of World War Two.

The acting is first class. David Niven adds the Hollywood dash and they're off to war. Surprisingly few people die in this war that Carol Reed is shooting yet he has obviously been given command of most of the British Army stationed in England. As the tanks, armoured cars and men featured are the real deal. The cast are, of course, professional seasoned actors. Quite old some of them.

The script co written with Peter Ustinov is intelligent and you do find yourself caring for these drafted men. The final advance is haunting.

The battle scene is impressive in it recreation and at points reminded me of the first reel of "Saving Private Ryan". Which only goes to prove that Directors have been shooting great Battle scenes for almost a century.

The "Way Ahead" is a good war film yet it has not dispelled a lingering and nagging thought. I have yet to see a war film where the British don't come across as crazy and eccentric.


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