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The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands (1927)

Dramatic reconstruction of two 1914 naval battles off Coronel and the Falkland Islands.The first a defeat of the British by Vice Admiral Maximilian von Spee, the second a retaliation by the British under vice Admiral Sturdee.


Walter Summers


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Credited cast:
Roger Maxwell Roger Maxwell
Craighall Sherry Craighall Sherry ... Adm. Sturdee
Hans von Slock Hans von Slock ... Vice-Adm. Maximilian Reichsgraf von Spee


Dramatic reconstruction of two 1914 naval battles off Coronel and the Falkland Islands.The first a defeat of the British by Vice Admiral Maximilian von Spee, the second a retaliation by the British under vice Admiral Sturdee.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

navy | world war one | ship | See All (3) »


A mighty British Naval Epic Picture 40,000 MEN! 35 SHIPS (Print Ad- Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, ((Saskatoon, Saskatchewan)) 15 September 1928)


Drama | War


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Release Date:

12 February 1928 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

As Grandes Batalhas de Falkland e Coronel See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(2014) (restored)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Featured in Silent Britain (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

An unknown masterpiece
29 January 2015 | by g-donaldson505See all my reviews

I was entirely unaware of the existence of this film until the day before yesterday. Having watched it through, I can't fully express my admiration for Walter Summers and his production crew. The photography is superb, at times equalling or even surpassing Eisenstein in 'Potemkin'. The use of real ships adds to the realism, even if naval anoraks like myself will be aware of the discrepancies between the ships used in the film and those that fought in the actions, but generally speaking the sequences of the ships at sea, steaming and fighting in formation, as remarkably authentic. I would almost say that the film's worth seeing just for the shots of 'Malaya' and 'Barham' steaming hard and firing broadsides at speed. It's a real insight into a period of naval life long since gone from us.

The screenplay is remarkably faithful to the events, and commendably fair and even-handed to Von Spee and his crews. If any one character can be said to be the hero of the film that character is Von Spee, played by Hans Von Slock, though Craddock and Sturdee (and Jacky Fisher) are well-portrayed.

As I watched the action unfold, I was drawn to compare this film with the 1960 film 'Sink the Bismarck!' There's the same movement from defeat to victory, the same suspense back in London as to the outcome of the second engagement, and the same resolution of that tension as dawn breaks and the sun rises on a new day. However, I much prefer this film. 'Battles' is extremely well-photographed, the pacing of the action is impeccable, and the musical score complements the photography and screenplay wonderfully well.

There's a minor historical inaccuracy right at the end, but that apart the film conveys a real sense of the urgency and jeopardy of naval service in wartime, without losing sight of the humanity of the people involved on both sides of the action. This is a real treasure of the British cinema; I am SO glad I now possess a copy.

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