7.2/10
2,418
68 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

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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 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 Musical Shot In The Arm ! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Musical | War

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French | German

Release Date:

3 October 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Aftos o yperohos polemos See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Accord Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song "La Chanson de Craonne" ("Adieu la Vie"), sung by Pia Colombo (Estaminet Singer) in this movie, commemorates a mutiny in 1917 by French troops. Merely singing it was considered an act of mutiny, and it was banned in France until 1974. During the war, a reward of one million francs and immediate honorable release from the Army was offered for the identity of the author, but never claimed. See more »

Goofs

The bayonets of the Band of the Irish Guards as they parade down the Brighton promenade appear to be for the L1A1 self loading rifle, first issued 1957 and still issued as standard by the time of the film, rather than the correct 1907 pattern bayonet for the Lee-Enfield No1 mkIII rifle (characterised by its longer blade length of 17" as opposed to the 8" of the L1A1's bayonet). See more »

Quotes

Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig: Grant us victory, O Lord, before the Americans get here.
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

Referenced in Elstree 1976 (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

The Alley Alley Oh
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Alfred Ralston
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A brilliant, moving, anti-war film
5 August 2000 | by klg19See all my reviews

I first saw this film when it came out. I was 10 years old, the Viet Nam war was still going on, and it blew me away completely.

I saw it again 5 years later, in a revival house. I went with a high-school friend, happy to be able to introduce its power and brilliance to someone new. It blew her away completely.

That was 27 years ago, and I would give almost anything to know if the film could still move me as much as it did those first two times. It is not available on video, and I've never seen it broadcast on any TV channel.

This is truly one of those films that burned itself into my memory at first viewing. I urge anyone who finds the chance to see it to run, not walk, to the theatre! The Great War -- the War to End All Wars -- has faded deep into the past for most people, and we forget that the death-toll from that conflict blighted an entire generation. This film makes that loss all too vivid, using the music of the war itself.

Truly a classic, in the most literal sense of the word: a film for the ages.


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