6.6/10
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War Requiem (1989)

Not Rated | | Drama, War | 6 January 1989 (UK)
A movie with no spoken dialogue, it is set against the music and lyrics of Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem" which includes poetry by World War I soldier Wilfred Owen reflecting the horrors ... See full summary »

Director:

Derek Jarman

Writer:

Derek Jarman
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nathaniel Parker ... Wilfred Owen
Tilda Swinton ... The Nurse
Laurence Olivier ... The Old Soldier
Patricia Hayes Patricia Hayes ... Mother
Rohan McCullough Rohan McCullough ... Enemy Mother
Nigel Terry ... Abraham
Owen Teale ... The Unknown Soldier
Sean Bean ... The German Soldier
Alex Jennings ... Blinded Soldier
Claire Davenport Claire Davenport ... Charge Sister / Britannia
Spencer Leigh Spencer Leigh ... Soldier 1
Milo Bell Milo Bell ... Soldier 2
Richard Stirling Richard Stirling ... Soldier 3
Kim Kindersley Kim Kindersley ... Soldier 4
Stuart Turton Stuart Turton ... Soldier 5
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Storyline

A movie with no spoken dialogue, it is set against the music and lyrics of Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem" which includes poetry by World War I soldier Wilfred Owen reflecting the horrors of war. There is no linear story or dialogue. It's imagery reflects Owen's story, that of other soldiers, and a nurse during World War I. It also includes actual footage of contemporary wars, including World War II, Vietnam, and Angola. Written by Michel Rudoy <mdrc@hp9000a1.uam.mx>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Theatrical movie debut of Nathaniel Parker (Wilfred Owen). See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Sean Bean Deaths (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

War Requiem, Op. 66
Composed and conducted by Benjamin Britten
Based on poems by Wilfred Owen
Soloists: Galina Vishnevskaya, Peter Pears and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau with The Bach Choir, The London Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Highgate School Choir
Music played by The Melos Ensemble of London and The London Symphony Orchestra
Organist: Simon Preston
Original recording courtesy of The Decca Record Company Limited, England, Catalogue No. 414 383-2
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User Reviews

 
song of madness
11 January 2016 | by lee_eisenbergSee all my reviews

Derek Jarman's "War Requiem" is not a movie in the general sense of the term. The only dialogue is at the beginning. From there it's all images of soldiers, set to the tune of Benjamin Britten's* requiem of the same title. I'd say that the movie works as a look at the horrors of war. The focus is World War I, but it includes footage of later wars. The music offers a good contrast to the war, but at the same time it distracts.

This is the first Jarman movie that I've ever seen. It has its merits and its weaknesses. It turned out to be one of Jarman's final movies (he died of an AIDS-related illness in 1994). What the movie should do is force us to take a serious look at WWI. Not only did it senselessly kill millions and create a lost generation, but Versailles Negotiations set the stages for Hitler's rise to power, the Vietnam War, and the current bloodshed in the Middle East.

So the movie does a good job showing the horrors of the war, although I doubt that it's possible to portray to the full extent. It's not clear if Jarman meant for the emphasis to be on the war, or on the operatic soundtrack accompanying the scenes. The result is an OK, not great effort.

PS: Jarman, an openly gay man, fought Thatcher's proposed anti-gay laws in the '80s. I wonder what he would think now that the UK has marriage equality.

*Benjamin Britten's music more recently appeared in Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom".


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 January 1989 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

War Requiem See more »

Filming Locations:

UK

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR (as spectral recording Dolby Stereo SR in selected theatres)

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Color
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