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Their Finest (2016)

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A former secretary, newly appointed as a scriptwriter for propaganda films, joins the cast and crew of a major production while the Blitz rages around them.


Lone Scherfig


Lissa Evans (based on the novel "Their Finest Hour and a Half" by), Gaby Chiappe (screenplay by)
4,454 ( 181)
1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Sam Claflin ... Tom Buckley
Gemma Arterton ... Catrin Cole
Nicholas Murchie Nicholas Murchie ... Bus Conductor
Richard E. Grant ... Roger Swain
Henry Goodman ... Gabriel Baker
Rachael Stirling ... Phyl Moore
Jack Huston ... Ellis Cole
Bill Nighy ... Ambrose Hilliard / Uncle Frank
Amanda Root ... Cecy / Mrs Brown (Careless Talk Film)
Patrick Gibson ... Rex, the Clapper Loader
Darren Clarke Darren Clarke ... The Gaffer
Ed Birch Ed Birch ... Walter, the Director (Careless Talk Film)
Lissa Evans Lissa Evans ... Make-Up Woman (Careless Talk Film)
Richard Bevan Richard Bevan ... Mr. Richards (Dubbing Editor)
Gaby Chiappe Gaby Chiappe ... Dolly (Carrot Film)


During the London Blitz of World War II, Catrin Cole is recruited by the British Ministry of Information to write scripts for propaganda films that the public will actually watch without scoffing. In the line of her new duties, Cole investigates the story of two young women who supposedly piloted a boat in the Dunkirk Evacuation. Although it proved a complete misapprehension, the story becomes the basis for a fictional film with some possible appeal. As Cole labors to write the script with her new colleagues such as Tom Buckley, veteran actor Ambrose Hilliard must accept that his days as a leading man are over as he joins the project. Together, this disparate trio must struggle against such complications such as sexism against Cole, jealous relatives, and political interference in their artistic decisions even as London endures the bombs of the enemy. In the face of those challenges, they share a hope to contribute something meaningful in this time of war and in their own lives. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In the fight for freedom everyone played a part See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language and a scene of sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



UK | Sweden


English | Hungarian | Polish | French

Release Date:

7 April 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Their Finest Hour See more »


Box Office


€10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$76,197, 7 April 2017, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,595,841, 16 June 2017

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$12,313,591, 7 June 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Made its U.K. premiere at the 2017 Glasgow Film Festival. See more »


In the newsreel footage the token American is seen to run toward his waiting Spitfire, he climbs into a Hurricane, waves to the camera from a Spitfire, takes off in a Hurricane then after his mission he lands and walks away from a Spitfire! American pilots who joined the RAF and didn't join the RCAF were assigned to one of the three Eagle Squadrons. Given that the movie is set in 1940 and the only Eagle squadron established at the time was 71 Squadron, so this young hero, must have been in 71. It is true that 71 did fly both Hurricanes and Spitfires, but they didn't start flying Spits until August 1941. See more »


Catrin Cole: Anything else?
Tom Buckley: Since you're so keen to flex your femininity, you can tidy up!
See more »


Referenced in KVIFF Guide: Episode #1.9 (2017) See more »


Red Sails in the Sunset
Written by Will Grosz (as Wilhelm Grosz) and Jimmy Kennedy
Performed by Charlie Kunz, His Piano & The Casani Club Orchestra
See more »

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User Reviews

Their Second Bests
22 April 2017 | by jadepietroSee all my reviews

(RATING: ☆☆☆☆ out of 5 )



IN BRIEF: A well acted and thoroughly entertaining war story.

SYNOPSIS: During World War II, a secretary joins a movie crew to make a propaganda film about Dunkirk.

JIM'S REVIEW: Let's face it, with a film entitled Their Finest, the bar is set mighty high. And while the film is not the finest film you will ever see, it is still a fine film worthy of one's attention. It boasts very good acting, a literate script, strong direction and period details, and an intriguing premise. Not all of these elements works as a whole, but the parts are genuinely compelling.

A movie production crew wants to tell "a story that will inspire the world". These are desperate times, in 1940 war-town London. Public spirits is low and the government wants the entertainment industry to provide a more positive uplift to the doom and glory that is an everyday occurrence for the English folk by creating a propaganda film to unite the country. Thrown into the mix of creative souls is Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton), a former secretary hired as a screenwriter to bring a more authentic woman's point of view. It is there she meets Tom Buckley (Sam Clafin), a cynical talented writer, although she is involved with Ellis Cole (Jack Huston) an egotistical artist. But duty calls and Catrin has found her calling, both professionally and personally.

Also on the set is Phyl Moore (Rachael Stirling), a tough-as-nails Rosalind Russell type, Carl Lundbeck (Jake Lacy), an American war hero turned actor ala Audie Murphy (with even less talent), and a washed-up matinée idol, Ambrose Hilliard (the reliable Bill Nighy). Adding more prestige to this movie-within-a-movie are such steadfast British stars as Richard E. Grant, Jeremy Irons, and Eddie Marsan, although their contributions are mere cameo walk-ons. All of the actors are superb, even if some of their roles are underwritten.

The film, when always entertaining, is in need of a few rewrites. Some scenes seems out of place and supporting characters lack depth. It feels as if there are two films vying for the moviegoer's attention: the down-on-his-luck aging actor in search of a hit, and a tender love story about two writers who find each other. While both are interesting and acted to maximum effect, the plot rarely gels, especially with some contrivances toward the third act. The overall mood varies from comedic moments to pure melodrama and then serious wartime drama. Lone Scherfig solidly directs but she doesn't find the right tone and Gaby Chaippe's screenplay needs to show more realism and edginess rather than seeing the story through rose-colored glasses.

Still, the chemistry between the ill-matched lovers is palpable and Ms. Arterton and Mr. Clafin make a charming duo. Add the self-effacing subtlety of Mr. Nighy to add a taste of the bittersweet and Their Finest is a refreshing change of pace, especially from the usual dregs of the pre-summer movie season.

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