7.1/10
2,616
69 user 25 critic

Oh! What a Lovely War (1969)

The working-class Smiths change their initially sunny views on World War I after the three boys of the family witness the harsh reality of trench warfare.

Writers:

Charles Chilton (based on Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop Production by, and the members of the original cast), Ted Allan (after a stage treatment by)
Reviews
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 7 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Wendy Allnutt ... Florence Victoria 'Flo' Smith
Colin Farrell Colin Farrell ... Harry Arnold Smith
Malcolm McFee Malcolm McFee ... Frederick Percy 'Freddie' Smith
John Rae John Rae ... Grandpa Smith
Corin Redgrave ... Bertram Biddle 'Bertie' Smith
Maurice Roëves ... George Patrick Michael Smith
Paul Shelley ... Jack Henry Smith
Kim Smith Kim Smith ... Richard 'Dickie' Smith
Angela Thorne ... Elizabeth May 'Betty' Smith
Mary Wimbush ... Mary Emma Smith
Vincent Ball Vincent Ball ... Australian Soldier
Pia Colombo Pia Colombo ... Estaminet Singer
Paul Daneman Paul Daneman ... Czar Nicholas II
Isabel Dean ... Sir John French's Lady
Christian Doermer ... Fritz
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Storyline

A movie about World War I based on a stage musical of the same name, portraying the "Game of War", and focusing mainly on the members of the Smith family who go off to war. Much of the action in the movie revolves around the words of the marching songs of the soldiers, and many scenes portray some of the more famous (and infamous) incidents of the war, including the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, the Christmas meeting between British and German soldiers in no-man's-land, and the wiping out by their own side of a force of Irish soldiers newly arrived at the front, after successfully capturing a ridge that had been contested for some time. Written by Sonya Roberts <sonya_roberts@geocities.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The ever popular war game with songs battles & a few jokes See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Musical | War

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the only film that Michael Redgrave (General Sir Henry Wilson) made with his son Corin Redgrave (Bertie Smith). See more »

Goofs

Sir Edward Grey (Ralph Richardson) is shown early in the film being accompanied by his wife, described in the credits as Lady Pamela Grey. In fact, Grey did not marry Pamela (nee Wyndham, and the widow of Lord Glenconer) until 1922. See more »

Quotes

[to a stretcher case with a bandaged head]
Nurse: Don't worry. We'll soon have you back at the front.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: The principal statements made by the historical characters in this film are based on documentary evidence and the words of the songs are those sung by the troops during the First World War See more »

Connections

Featured in Stars of the Silver Screen: Laurence Olivier (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Sing Me to Sleep, Sergeant Major
(uncredited)
Written by G. Clifton Bingham and Edwin Greene
Performed by chorus
See more »

User Reviews

 
To the millions who died thinking they were making this a better world...
1 November 2006 | by patrick.hunterSee all my reviews

So many of us in the United States are clueless about the significance of the red poppy which recurs so often in the movie. First of all, it is not an opium poppy. It is a symbol for peace. John McCrae, one of the great poets who were killed in World War I, wrote in the following in his anti-war poem "In Flanders Fields":

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row by row,. . .

If yea break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields

Anyway, shortly after WWI, in the early nineteen-twenties, the red poppy became the symbol of remembering and honoring the heroic dead. The day for remembrance became November 11, the date World War One ended. These days, I fear, most people in the United States think of November 11 not as "Remembrance Day" or "Armistice Day" but more as just Veteren's Day. It rarely even falls on November 11, and, when it does, most Americans view it simply as time off work.

As critic Roger Ebert once said, OH! WHAT A LOVELY WAR really isn't a movie at all, but a theatrical tableau. Like many a British muscial review, it contains little plot, much spirited music, and--in this case--the story of World War I. Some portions, as even director Richard Attenborough admitted, go on too long; however, so many other portions are just brilliant. Like other Attenborough movies, one hates to dislike it because its subject matter is so worthwhile and commands respect (will anyone do a remembrance film honoring the fallen dead of the present Iraqui conflict?) I know I gave it an 8, but I must say I don't quite know how to rate a movie like this one. There's nothing else in cinema like it.


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French | German

Release Date:

3 October 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Oh! What a Lovely War See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$801,591
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Accord Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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