The First World War
From the home front to the front line: life during the “war to end all wars” as seen through the lens of newsreel, propaganda and drama.
Films made and shown in Britain between 1914 and 1918 reflect the scale and horror of the unfolding conflict across multiple theatres of war, but also capture a nation trying to get on with everyday life. Filmmakers shot everything from local events and celebrations to short comedies that provided a much-needed dose of light relief in difficult times. Insights into the changing role of women in wartime and Britain's reliance on colonial troops can also be found.
After WWI, Armistice Day and Remembrance ceremonies were often caught on film, while British cinema produced epic dramas addressing the experiences of the Great War into the 1920s and beyond.
Growing potatoes in Green Park plus some handy uses for your old tin cans – it’s all part of the war effort on the home front.
A muted newsreel tribute to Austria's Archduke Franz Ferdinand - victim of an assassin's bullet in an event that would soon take Europe to war.
Animation & Artists Moving Image19146 minsSilent
Lightning sketch propaganda stirs outrage about Reims bombing, and features a British bulldog eating the German sausage
Non-Fiction19140 minsSilent Location: Westminster
The crowds gather in Trafalgar Square to join a rally for peace - two days before Britain declares war on Germany
Anti-German Riots in Liverpool following the Loss of 'Lusitania'Anti-German Riots in Liverpool following the Loss of 'Lusitania'
Newsreel footage captures the aftermath of riots in Liverpool following the sinking of Cunard liner 'the Lusy' during WWI.
Non-Fiction19151 mins Location: Westminster
The daughter of famed actor-manager Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree gets hitched to a military Captain during WWI.
Ramsgate Zeppelin Raid. Showing Damage Done to the Bull and George Hotel.Ramsgate Zeppelin Raid. Showing Damage Done to the Bull and George Hotel.
Non-Fiction19151 minsSilent Location: Ramsgate
Public anxiety about war from the air is all too real for the people of Ramsgate in this newsreel footage of the aftermath of a Zeppelin raid.
Non-Fiction19174 minsSilent Location: City of London
Twisted metal, jagged wood and piles of rubble: the devastating aftermath of an air raid in London.
Bashful British soldiers are mobbed by French citizens after Lille is freed from the Germans in WWI.
War1992115 mins Location: Trawsfynydd
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.
Non-Fiction19281 minsSilent Location: Richmond
A one-armed soldier is among those shown diligently manufacturing poppies on the 10th anniversary of Armistice Day at a factory in Richmond.
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 First World War dead were commemorated as they fell. That act of remembrance has never ceased. For the survivors, it invokes a range of emotions, not least pride, sorrow and anger.
The Sinking of RMS Lusitania
Remembering one of Britain's worst maritime disasters and a pivotal moment of World War One.
1914 on Film
What did our forebears watch a century ago? Discover the cinema of 1914 in this very mixed programme from the year the world changed.
1915 on Film
As a nation steeled itself for a long war, cinemas offered desperately wanted information - and welcome distraction. Find out what Britain watched a century ago.
1916 on Film
The war dragged on - and on… but cinemas offered more news from the Front, while trying to entertain those at home. Watch along with cinemagoers a century ago.
1917 on Film
A fourth year of war and no end in sight. Government propaganda stepped up, and even animation took a dark turn... What our forebears saw in cinemas a century ago.
1918 on Film
The final year of the war was a tough one for British film, but the industry did its patriotic best.