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Two Men Went to War (2002)

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Comedy drama based on the true story of two British Army dentists who in 1942, eager to see action, go AWOL and invade occupied France on their own.


John Henderson


Richard Everett (screenplay), Raymond Foxall (book) | 1 more credit »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Kenneth Cranham ... Sergeant Peter King
Leo Bill ... Pvt. Leslie Cuthbertson
Anthony Valentine ... Sergeant Major Dudley
James Fleet ... Major Bates
Richard Sutton ... Private Horrocks
Anthony O'Donnell ... Chief armourer
Glen Davies Glen Davies ... Corporal at bomb crater
Paul Bayfield Paul Bayfield ... Dental trainee 1
Jason Round Jason Round ... Dental Trainee 2
Julian Glover ... Colonel Hatchard
Tim 'Nobby' Clarke Tim 'Nobby' Clarke ... Young sergeant
Nick Miles Nick Miles ... Sergeant Mowat
Brian Bosley Brian Bosley ... Drill sergeant
Dickon Tolson Dickon Tolson ... Bar Steward
Nick Hussey Nick Hussey ... Sentry


Based on a true story, Sergeant Peter King of the Army Dental Corps, too old to fight, and Private Leslie Cuthbertson, a trainee dental mechanic in the Corps, are thrown together by their passionate desire to see active service. Armed with just two revolvers and a dozen grenades, King persuades Cuthbertson to join him on a mission to occupied France. In a letter to Winston Churchill, King explains their intention to invade France and fight the Germans. After a number of failed attempts, they finally arrive by boat and stumble across a German radar station. They succeed in blowing up what they believe to be the main Operations Room, but are soon forced to make their escape as the entire compound unexpectedly erupts with gunfire and explosions. After narrow escapes from the Germans and a stray mine in the Channel, the two men are picked up at sea and interrogated as spies. Identified as deserters, they are returned to their barracks to be court-martialed. At the eleventh hour King and ... Written by Ira Trattner

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A true story . . . that no one believed See more »


Comedy | War | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language and some violence | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

1 November 2002 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

2 Men Went to War See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,672, 28 March 2004, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$151,133, 10 June 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


The real Sergeant King was not as old as portrayed in the film. He was only 26 at the time of his exploits in the film. After returning from his raid, he was demoted to corporal and transferred to the commandos. He regained his rank of sergeant prior to D-Day, and later was commissioned in the field eventually reaching the rank of Captain by the end of the war. See more »


The pub, at which the two soldiers stayed prior to stealing a boat for their journey to France, had all it's lights blazing at night, even though the whole country was under blackout regulations throughout the war. See more »


Pvt. Leslie Cuthbertson: We're out of petrol.
Sgt. Peter King: Cop hold of that oar Cuthbertson.
Pvt. Leslie Cuthbertson: We're not going to row are we?
Sgt. Peter King: No. We're going to knit a jumper. It'll give you an appetite.
See more »


Followed by Two More Men Went to War (2003) See more »


It's A Hap Hap Happy Day
Written by Al Neiburg (as Neiburg), Winston Sharples (as Sharples) and Sammy Timberg (as Timberg)
Performed by Harry Roy and his band
See more »

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User Reviews

It's not a documentary!
13 September 2006 | by ruddy_jimSee all my reviews

This film is a solid 6/10. 3 out of 5 Stars etc...

First - it is billed as a comedy-drama based on the true story of two men who go AWOL in order to invade France. Anyone who is going to be so upset by lights on in a harbour or no tape on the windows that they would rant about it for weeks probably won't like this film.

Second - anyone who can enjoy a film for what it is, in this case a light comedy-drama based on bizarre true happenings, will likely enjoy this film.

In true British style, Two Men Went to War, is a story of character development and plot. It is not a Hollywood block buster action flick nor a Japanese sword fest but rather a mature enduring story that is family friendly and a joy to watch.

Why only 6/10 then? It could have been a little deeper for my taste and I would have liked to see some of the moral issues of the day addressed. It is definitely more light comedy than drama.

A worth-while watch for those who can ignore minor historical inaccuracies like no tape on windows, lights on in a harbour and a modern shipping container that could have easily been covered in canvas.

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