7.2/10
2,383
67 user 25 critic

Oh! What a Lovely War (1969)

The working-class Smiths change their initially sunny views on World War I after the three boys of the family witness the harsh reality of trench warfare.

Writers:

Charles Chilton (based on Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop Production by, and the members of the original cast), Ted Allan (after a stage treatment by)
Reviews
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 7 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Wendy Allnutt ... Florence Victoria 'Flo' Smith
Colin Farrell Colin Farrell ... Harry Arnold Smith
Malcolm McFee Malcolm McFee ... Frederick Percy 'Freddie' Smith
John Rae John Rae ... Grandpa Smith
Corin Redgrave ... Bertram Biddle 'Bertie' Smith
Maurice Roëves ... George Patrick Michael Smith
Paul Shelley Paul Shelley ... Jack Henry Smith
Kim Smith Kim Smith ... Richard 'Dickie' Smith
Angela Thorne ... Elizabeth May 'Betty' Smith
Mary Wimbush ... Mary Emma Smith
Vincent Ball Vincent Ball ... Australian Soldier
Pia Colombo Pia Colombo ... Estaminet Singer
Paul Daneman Paul Daneman ... Czar Nicholas II
Isabel Dean ... Sir John French's Lady
Christian Doermer ... Fritz
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Storyline

A movie about World War I based on a stage musical of the same name, portraying the "Game of War", and focusing mainly on the members of the Smith family who go off to war. Much of the action in the movie revolves around the words of the marching songs of the soldiers, and many scenes portray some of the more famous (and infamous) incidents of the war, including the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, the Christmas meeting between British and German soldiers in no-man's-land, and the wiping out by their own side of a force of Irish soldiers newly arrived at the front, after successfully capturing a ridge that had been contested for some time. Written by Sonya Roberts <sonya_roberts@geocities.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The ever popular war game with songs battles & a few jokes See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Musical | War

Certificate:

14 | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French | German

Release Date:

26 March 1970 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Aftos o yperohos polemos See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Accord Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The final scene involved the placing of over sixteen thousand crosses on the Sussex Downs. Each cross had to have a hole dug for it in order to hold it steady in the ground, and stop it from falling or being blown over. The helicopter aerial shot had to be filmed many times, due to problems with high winds and camera shake. See more »

Goofs

The bayonets of the Band of the Irish Guards as they parade down the Brighton promenade appear to be for the L1A1 self loading rifle, first issued 1957 and still issued as standard by the time of the film, rather than the correct 1907 pattern bayonet for the Lee-Enfield No1 mkIII rifle (characterised by its longer blade length of 17" as opposed to the 8" of the L1A1's bayonet). See more »

Quotes

[to a stretcher case with a bandaged head]
Nurse: Don't worry. We'll soon have you back at the front.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: The principal statements made by the historical characters in this film are based on documentary evidence and the words of the songs are those sung by the troops during the First World War See more »

Connections

Featured in Richard Attenborough: A Life in Film (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Sing Me to Sleep, Sergeant Major
(uncredited)
Written by G. Clifton Bingham and Edwin Greene
Performed by chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

Maggie Smith's depiction of Anticipation versus Reality
8 December 2004 | by rozmarijaSee all my reviews

What struck me most about the film was Maggie Smith's remarkable transformation as she was at first an alluring young girl,- the Music Hall star as recruiting agent - the epitome of that era's romantic glorification of Going To Do Battle,then as the blood and death became evident, her character was transformed into a painted, ravaged whore.The heart-rending ending aside,the acres and acres of crosses dotting a hillside,her symbolism is what stays with us.My sister's-in-law first husband was next to Rudyard Kipling's son when he got blown up,and the sensitivity and denial of that time was such that the Kipling family only received notice that their son was "lost".This film managed to show just that attitude.And-- it resonates in today's view of the current lost cause.


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