The British Army on Film – We Have Ways Festival 2023

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We recently gave a talk at the fantastic ‘We Have Ways of Making You Talk‘ podcast Festival, after hosting our war movie quiz at two previous events. This year we gave a talk on depictions of the British Army on Film during the Second World War. From Dunkirk to the Far East we talked Niven and Mills, PIATs and Panthers and everything in between. We outlined some of our favourite depictions of the British Army and explored the themes and context that set them apart.

Listen to our talk below, in full:

The episode is also available on all other podcast platforms, you can find them here

We were asked if we could share our lists of films from the talk. To get a good overview of the British Army on film we looked at five of the key theatres of war that it fought in, including the Battle for France, the Desert Campaign, North West Europe and the Far East:

Battle for France:

The Foreman Went to France (1942)
Dunkirk (1958)
Channel Incident (1940)
Weekend at Dunkirk (1965)
Atonement (2007)

Honourable Mentions:
Mrs Miniver (1942)
Dunkirk (2017)

Desert Campaign: 

Nine Men (1943)
The Way Ahead (1944)
The Steel Bayonet (1958)
Sea of Sand (1956)
The Battle of El Alamien (1969)
Ice Cold in Alex (1958)
The Red Beret (1953)

Honourable mentions:
Desert Mice (1959)
Sahara (1943)
Raid on Rommel (1971)
How I Won the War (1967)

Italy Campaign:

There are sadly no real representation of the British Army in Italy other than brief appearances in films like Anzio and Tea with Mussolini (which amusingly lifts an entire battle sequence from A Bridge Too Far!).

POW Film (Subgenre):

The Captive Heart (1946)
The Colditz Story (1955)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
The Password Is Courage (1962)
The Great Escape (1962)
The Camp on Blood Island (1958)
The Hill (1962)
The Wooden Horse (1950)
Honourable Mention:
Escape to Victory (1982)

North West Europe:

Theirs is The Glory (1946)
A Bridge Too Far (1977)
They Were Not Divided (1950)
The Longest Day (1962)
Overlord (1975)
Honourable mentions:
The Forgotten Battle (2020)
The Long Day’s Dying (1968)

Far East:

Yesterday’s Enemy (1959)
The Long and the Short and the Tall (1961) 
Honourable Mention:
Too Late the Hero (1970)

While not a definitive final group of lists we believe these films offer interesting and engaging depictions of the British Army of the period. We hope you find the talk interesting!

Remember to follow us on Twitter @FightingOnFilm and on Facebook. If you enjoy the podcast then please consider supporting us and out our Patreon here.

Matthew Moss

Matthew Moss

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