75 years ago, Britain threw itself a party. After six gruelling years of war, it had earned it.
Much of our film record of the war is official - notably the output of the government's Crown Film Unit. But for the true spirit of VE Day, we should look not to the professionals, but to the amateurs, joyously filming their own families and neighbours.
Home movie cameras were still rare in 1945, but anyone who had one that day would surely have used it. And, wonderfully, many of the moving (in both senses) pictures they took - several, remarkably, in colour - later made it to the archives, where they stand as some of the most prized of all home movies.
These films almost burst with joy and relief, with each grinning face standing for countless more across the nation. They are a priceless record of a monumental day for all who were alive to see it.
Amateur film19452 minsSilent Location: Woodford
Jubilant crowds gather to celebrate VE Day and the end of the war in Europe. Banners are raised above bomb damaged streets and buildings.
Soldiers from the far reaches of the British Empire arrive in London to take part in the official commemoration of the end of war in Europe.
Amateur film19459 minsSilent Location: Newport/Casnewydd
Beautifully presented production from The Newport and District Amateur Film Society which gives a real flavour of city celebrations on Victory in Europe Day (8th May 1945).
Amateur film19455 minsSilent Location: Aspley Guise
A Bedfordshire village celebrates Allied victory in the Pacific with a street party, captured in full colour by amateur filmmaker and Aspley Guise resident A.R. Sinfield.
Non-Fiction194540 minsSilent Location: Kingston upon Hull
After nearly six years at war the people of Hull show their relief and joy through dancing, children’s parties and other celebrations seen here breaking out all across the city.
Amateur film194219 minsSilent Location: Sheffield
Military men and women from Sheffield put on a show from 1942-1947 in this patriotic compilation film.
Bishopstoke VE day celebrations and seaside holidaysBishopstoke VE day celebrations and seaside holidays
Amateur film194510 minsSilent Location: Bishopstoke
Bishopstoke casts off the war in this celebratory record of VE Day - with street parties for the children and dancing for the grown-ups all to the tune of fiddles and an accordion.
Home movie194519 minsSilent Location: Littleover
At Littleover in Derby the end of war in Europe is marked by Britannia leading a fancy dress parade. And, after nearly six years of war, it's finally time for a street party!
V.E. Day May 8th & 9th 1945 – Thanksgiving Day May 14th 1945V.E. Day May 8th & 9th 1945 – Thanksgiving Day May 14th 1945
Amateur film194510 minsSilent Location: Gateshead
You can almost hear the cheers in this gorgeous silent film of VE day celebrations on the red, white and blue decked streets of Gateshead
Amateur film194820 minsSilent Location: Kettering
1945 and a new era dawns. Goodbye to the evacuees and the ever-present American Air Force as Kettering looks to the future.
Swimming gala, ATC parade and VE Day march, HoylakeSwimming gala, ATC parade and VE Day march, Hoylake
Amateur film19428 minsSilent Location: Hoylake
Wartime scenes on the Wirral as Hoylake Air Training Corps plays its part.
Amateur film194511 minsSilent Location: Whitchurch
The war is over at last and Victory in Europe Day is celebrated on 8/5/1945 at the Iles home in Heathwood Road, Cardiff, and with parties in Heathway and Albert Street.
Non-Fiction194512 minsSilent Location: Bradford
A sense of ending is evident among the service personnel and citizens of Bradford as V E Day finally arrives, although it is enough to inspire some jubilant dancing in the streets.
Documentary19452 minsSilent Location: Westminster
This nostalgic and charming window into VJ Day celebrations has its eye on all, from the soldiers and civilians to the local wildlife.
Public Information Filler19450 mins
Crumbs! Victory celebrations give way to postwar austerity as shortages leave countries short of dough in more ways than one
Non-Fiction19458 minsSilent Location: Bradford
Soon after the VE Day celebrations, there is a second chance to let the hair down, and these dancers make the most of it with much humour, besides the pomp of the official ceremonies.
Amateur film19459 minsSilent Location: Colwick
With races and a Punch and Judy show for the children and tug of war and a 'drunks' race for the adults the VE party at Colwick is soon in full swing.
Amateur film194516 minsSilent Location: Manston
There's Victory jollity aplenty and a sumptuous banquet, despite rationing, for the children of Manston, Kent. We also see potato-girls in action and a mini-baby boom.
Amateur film194514 minsSilent Location: Cardiff/Caerdydd
It’s all over, for Britain at least – the dreaded telegrams, the bombings, the blackouts - and Cardiffians celebrate the end of the war with tea and cake, fancy dress and bonfires.
Amateur film19439 minsSilent Location: Abercynon
The good folk of Abercynon are determined to maintain their fitness, fun and fighting spirit during WW2
Home movie194517 minsSilent Location: Sheffield
Whether it’s the height of the war or its aftermath makes no difference to these children enjoying themselves: at the seaside, on V E Day and around the bomb sites of Sheffield.
Amateur film193915 minsSilent Location: Welwyn Garden City
A great example of ‘despite war, life continues’, Welwyn Garden City residents continue with annual traditions, festive occasions and celebrations, during wartime.