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Behind the Lines (1997)

Regeneration (original title)
Based on Pat Barker's novel of the same name, 'Regeneration' tells the story of soldiers of World War One sent to an asylum for emotional troubles. Two of the soldiers meeting there are ... See full summary »

Director:

Gillies MacKinnon (as Gillies Mackinnon)

Writers:

Pat Barker (novel), Allan Scott (screenplay)
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17 nominations. See more awards »

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A young soldier faces profound disillusionment in the soul-destroying horror of World War I.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jonathan Pryce ... Capt. William Rivers
James Wilby ... 2nd Lt. Siegfried Sassoon
Jonny Lee Miller ... 2nd Lt. Billy Prior
Stuart Bunce ... 2nd Lt. Wilfred Owen
Tanya Allen ... Sarah
David Hayman ... Maj. Bryce
Dougray Scott ... Capt. Robert Graves
John Neville ... Dr. Yealland
Paul Young Paul Young ... Dr. Brock
Alastair Galbraith ... Capt. Campbell
Eileen Nicholas ... Miss Crowe
Julian Fellowes ... Timmons
David Robb ... Dr. McIntyre
Kevin McKidd ... Callan
Rupert Procter Rupert Procter ... Capt. David Burns
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Storyline

Based on Pat Barker's novel of the same name, 'Regeneration' tells the story of soldiers of World War One sent to an asylum for emotional troubles. Two of the soldiers meeting there are Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, two of England's most important WW1 poets. Written by Daniel Roy <elijah@colba.net>

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Taglines:

Adventure See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for war-related violent images, and some sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 August 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Behind the Lines See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£68,447 (United Kingdom), 9 January 1998, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,273, 16 August 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$19,273, 16 August 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film used a lot of present and former Territorial Army soldiers as extras for larger scenes. This includes soldiers from 52nd Lowland, 6th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland, located in Hotspur street, Glasgow. See more »

Goofs

Sassoon threw his MC ribbon away, not the medal. The medal is in The Royal Welsh Fusiliers Regimental. See more »

Quotes

Capt. William Rivers: I find it interesting that you don't stutter.
Billy Prior: I find it even more interesting that you do.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 100 Greatest War Films (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Just Before The Battle, Mother
Words and Music by George Frederick Root (As G.F. Root)
Performed by Craig Titus
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Look at the Plight of the Soldier in All Wars
9 November 2008 | by Neil TurnerSee all my reviews

Regeneration tells the story of the hospitalization during World War I of English poet, Siegfried Sassoon. It seems he was committed to a facility treating victims of shell-shock because he made the following statement about the war:

"I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority, because I believe that the War is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it. I am a soldier, convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers. I believe that this War, on which I entered as a war of defence and liberation, has now become a war of aggression and conquest. I believe that the purpose for which I and my fellow soldiers entered upon this war should have been so clearly stated as to have made it impossible to change them, and that, had this been done, the objects which actuated us would now be attainable by negotiation. I have seen and endured the sufferings of the troops, and I can no longer be a party to prolong these sufferings for ends which I believe to be evil and unjust. I am not protesting against the conduct of the war, but against the political errors and insincerities for which the fighting men are being sacrificed. On behalf of those who are suffering now I make this protest against the deception which is being practised on them; also I believe that I may help to destroy the callous complacency with which the majority of those at home regard the contrivance of agonies which they do not, and which they have not sufficient imagination to realize".

Due to the influence of fellow poet, Robert Graves, Sassoon was confined to the hospital rather than being confined to prison.

The film opens with this statement after having panned from above the scenes of death in the mud so familiar to soldiers in that especially bloody war. I was struck that the statement could have been easily made by any soldier honorably serving today in the Middle East.

Even though the film is based upon a work of fiction, three of four main characters were real people - Sassoon; young writer, Wilfred Owen; and anthropologist, William Halse Rivers who did extensive work with victims of the mental trauma of war. Owen died in the war in 1918 at the age of twenty-five. Halse died in 1922 at the age of fifty-eight. Sassoon lived until 1967, dying at the ripe old age of eighty-one.

The film is expertly produced giving insight into the view of soldiers who are emotionally devastated by war as well as those treating them. Keep in mind that the general attitude was that any treatment should lead to the soldier returning to the battlefields. Halse is more sympathetic to the trials of these soldiers, but it is his aim to return them to be killed - or survive with a little luck. The battle scenes are somewhat dreamlike as most take place in the minds of the patients. Even with their grim subject, they are beautifully done.

This is not a happy film. Its subject prevents that. It is, however, a production with fine acting, authentic locations, and a script that causes you to think about the plight of the soldier in all wars at all times. It caused great sadness in me knowing that I will die thinking that mankind will never find a solution to sending young men out to be slaughtered in the name of politics or religion just as those who have died hundreds of years before me have thought. Do you suppose that people - at sometime in the future - will die knowing that political and religious differences are always settled without the spilling of blood?


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