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Cinema of WWI

A young film industry just settling into its own home - the cinema - found itself enlisted to record, report and dramatise a war unlike any other.

The films made during and just after World War I have a special directness, untainted as they are by layers of mythologising and cliché built up over the decades.

There is a great variety of news, comedy and heartrending drama. A genre unique to this period of film production is the battle reconstruction film: the film equivalent of the stone memorials still to be found in every town and village of the UK.

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Cinema of WWI

RECOMMENDED

View Somme
Somme
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Somme 1927

Dramatic reconstruction of the Somme

90 mins United Kingdom Director. M.A. Wetherell

View Lt Pimple and the Stolen Submarine
Lt Pimple and the Stolen Submarine
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Lt Pimple and the Stolen Submarine 1914

The intrepid Lieutenant Pimple thwarts foreign enemies in an action-packed wartime spy spoof.

14 mins United Kingdom

View From Trinidad to Serve the Empire
From Trinidad to Serve the Empire
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From Trinidad to Serve the Empire 1916

Colonial recruits from Trinidad meet the Lord Mayor of London during WWI.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Anti-German War Cartoons
Anti-German War Cartoons
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Anti-German War Cartoons 1915

Follow the lightning-quick hand of the artist behind a series of comic cartoon sketches poking fun at the enemy during WWI.

5 mins United Kingdom

View Nurse and Martyr
Nurse and Martyr
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Nurse and Martyr 1915

The moving true story of wartime heroine Nurse Edith Cavell, recreated in the aftermath of her execution.

United Kingdom Director. Percy Moran

View E13 Avenged
E13 Avenged
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E13 Avenged 1915

Pioneering visual graphics – with added cotton wool – recreate an incendiary WWI incident involving a stricken British submarine.

1 mins United Kingdom

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View The Warrior Strain
The Warrior Strain
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The Warrior Strain 1920

Young Lord Billy sniffs out sneaky German marauders in this flag-waving war drama - thrills for British boys, 1919-style.

50 mins United Kingdom

View Bully Boy
Bully Boy
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Bully Boy 1914

Lightning sketch propaganda stirs outrage about Reims bombing, and features a British bulldog eating the German sausage

6 mins United Kingdom

View A Patriotic Offer
A Patriotic Offer
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A Patriotic Offer 1914

An introduction to the wonders of the automobile for curious WWI enlisties.

1 mins United Kingdom

View The Lads of the Village
The Lads of the Village
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The Lads of the Village 1919

Humour and adventure as the returning heroes of an English village recount their exploits in the Mesopotamian war.

44 mins United Kingdom Director. Harry Lorraine

View German Spy Peril
German Spy Peril
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German Spy Peril 1914

Inventive WWI propaganda in which a rejected volunteer foils a German plot to blow up Parliament.

19 mins United Kingdom Director. Bert Haldane

View How Kitchener Was Betrayed
How Kitchener Was Betrayed
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How Kitchener Was Betrayed 1921

Dramatisation of the popular conspiracy theory surrounding the mid-WWI death of Lord Kitchener.

80 mins United Kingdom Director. Percy Nash

View The British in Belgium
The British in Belgium
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The British in Belgium 1930

In Flanders fields - this educational compilation of WWI footage tries to teach the most important lesson of all: never again

10 mins United Kingdom

View Shower Baths in the Trenches
Shower Baths in the Trenches
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Shower Baths in the Trenches 1916

A humble scrub is all it takes to get these French troops in a lather.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Army Economy
Army Economy
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Army Economy 1916

Soldiers show off a fine crop of sprouts, grown at the Army Service Corps depot at Osterley Park in Hounslow.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Blinded Soldiers Playing Push Ball
Blinded Soldiers Playing Push Ball
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Blinded Soldiers Playing Push Ball 1916

This moving scene of wounded WWI fighters in a London park reminds us of the real costs of combat.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Chiswick's Gallant Gunner
Chiswick's Gallant Gunner
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Chiswick's Gallant Gunner 1916

Three cheers for Maurice Samuels, as a Chiswick tram driver receives a medal for bravery at the Western Front at Ypres.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Preparing the Rations
Preparing the Rations
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Preparing the Rations 1914

Ear-to-ear grins prove that an army marches on its stomach in this poignant film of young WWI reservists at a field kitchen far from home.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Outposts of Empire
Outposts of Empire
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Outposts of Empire 1915

British troops try to coax and cajole their pack animals on to a military supply train, but they're stubborn as mules...

1 mins United Kingdom

View The Man Who Came Back
The Man Who Came Back
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The Man Who Came Back 1914

The son of a wealthy merchant fakes his own death to join up, but his heroic act at the Front is wrongly attributed to his cowardly cousin.

United Kingdom Director. Charles Weston

View Mons
Mons
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HD

Mons 1926

Arrival of the British Army in France

91 mins United Kingdom Director. Walter Summers

View Heroes of Neuve Chapelle
Heroes of Neuve Chapelle
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Heroes of Neuve Chapelle 1915

Casualties from the Battle of Neuve Chapelle enjoy their recuperation in Kent.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Poppies of Flanders
Poppies of Flanders
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HD

Poppies of Flanders 1927

Powerful wartime drama that sees rivals in love becoming comrades-in-arms in the trenches of the Western Front.

99 mins United Kingdom

View More Canadians Coming!
More Canadians Coming!
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More Canadians Coming! 1915

Welcome help from the Empire! And Pathé's newsreel cameraman is on the spot.

United Kingdom

View To Aid the Motherland
To Aid the Motherland
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To Aid the Motherland 1915

Poignant scenes capture a moment’s relaxation for a Canadian cavalry unit on Salisbury Plain.

United Kingdom

View World War One Troops Inspection
World War One Troops Inspection
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World War One Troops Inspection 1915

Brigades of stretcher-bearers and Cyclist Corps soldiers straighten their spines for parade. But who? And where?

United Kingdom

View Labour's Recruiting Appeal
Labour's Recruiting Appeal
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Labour's Recruiting Appeal 1915

Stirring scenes in Trafalgar Square as Labour MP Will Thorne rallies recruits for the war effort.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Mr Churchill's Departure
Mr Churchill's Departure
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Mr Churchill's Departure 1914

A handsome steam launch ferries the future PM downriver to the luxury yacht 'Enchantress'.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Ypres
Ypres
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HD

Ypres 1925

Battle film made as a memorial to the dead of WWI, documenting events at Ypres using reconstructed and genuine footage.

63 mins United Kingdom

View Conscription
Conscription
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Conscription 1915

The nation's menfolk try anything to avoid being 'called up' in this raucous WWI comedy.

United Kingdom Director. Dave Aylott

View Sons of the Sea
Sons of the Sea
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HD

Sons of the Sea 1925

Two boys answer the call of the sea as Royal Navy recruits in this adventure of the seven seas.

72 mins United Kingdom

View Gaumont Graphic No. 406
Gaumont Graphic No. 406
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Gaumont Graphic No. 406 1915

This intriguing and beautifully-shot newsreel features sea-faring heroes, feisty females and a generous lick of paint for a Mississippi steamship.

United Kingdom

View Lord Charles Beresford in France
Lord Charles Beresford in France
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Lord Charles Beresford in France 1916

A military legend on location, and some vertiginous thrills from a balloon.

7 mins United Kingdom

View Sea Dreams
Sea Dreams
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Sea Dreams 1914

Skilled artist Lancelot Speed brings his cartoons to life to mock the German navy at the start of WWI.

4 mins United Kingdom

View My Old Dutch
My Old Dutch
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My Old Dutch 1934

Moving family drama of the life of a working-class Hackney couple over 40 years, inspired by the famous music hall song

80 mins United Kingdom Director. Sinclair Hill

View Blighty
Blighty
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Blighty 1927

Life on the Home Front during WWI, through the eyes of one family.

102 mins United Kingdom Director. Adrian Brunel

View East Is East
East Is East
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East Is East 1917

Charming tale of East End lovers divided by a not so lucky windfall, with beautiful scenes in the Kent hop fields.

81 mins United Kingdom Director. Henry Edwards

View Armistice
Armistice
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Armistice 1929

Take your seat for an Armistice concert by military bands playing a medley of songs commonly sung during WWI.

15 mins United Kingdom

View All Quiet on the Western Front
All Quiet on the Western Front
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HD

All Quiet on the Western Front 1930 PG

Lewis Milestone's pioneering, Oscar®-winning film is one of the most powerful films about the consequences of war

136 mins USA Director. Lewis Milestone

View Forgotten Men: The War As It Was
Forgotten Men: The War As It Was
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HD

Forgotten Men: The War As It Was 1934 12

Norman Lee’s 1934 documentary takes audiences through the harsh horrors and realities of war, showing everyone what soldiers truly go through within the armed forces.

80 mins United Kingdom Director. Norman Lee

View Hedd Wyn
Hedd Wyn
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Hedd Wyn 1992 12

The stirring story of poet Ellis Evans-Hedd Wyn, the Welsh poet posthumously awarded the Eisteddfod chair at Birkenhead in 1917 after failing to return from 1st World War trenches.

112 mins Wales Director. Paul Turner

View Brown on Resolution
Brown on Resolution
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HD

Brown on Resolution 1935 PG

Walter Forde’s 1935 war drama stars a young John Mills as the illegitimate son of a naval officer who brings down a German cruiser in WWI.

79 mins United Kingdom Director. Walter Forde

View Newsreel War Compilation
Newsreel War Compilation
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Newsreel War Compilation 1925

Graduates of machine gun school mix with the great and the good of WWI in this eclectic mix of newsreel from WWI and after

17 mins United Kingdom

View The Sinking of the Lusitania
The Sinking of the Lusitania
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The Sinking of the Lusitania 1915

The tragic fate of the once-glorious ocean liner and its aftermath.

2 mins United Kingdom

View Remember the Lusitania
Remember the Lusitania
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Remember the Lusitania 1916

Remembrance is used to fuel anti-German feeling in London on the first anniversary of the sinking of RMS Lusitania.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Funeral of the Lusitania Victims
Funeral of the Lusitania Victims
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Funeral of the Lusitania Victims 1915

Queenstown (Cobh), County Cork, mourns the dead of one of WWI's greatest maritime tragedies.

2 mins Great Britain

View Lusitania Day
Lusitania Day
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Lusitania Day 1916

One year on from the tragic sinking of RMS Lusitania, the 1198 dead are remembered with grief and anger.

United Kingdom

View John Bull's Animated Sketchbook No. 4
John Bull's Animated Sketchbook No. 4
Watch for free 6 mins

John Bull's Animated Sketchbook No. 4 1915

An animated recreation of the sinking of the Lusitania is the centrepiece of this pioneering mix of comedy, satire and outrage in cartoon propaganda.

6 mins United Kingdom

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