The IWM Film Archive is the oldest film archive in the UK, holding over 20,000 hours of film, video and digital material and covering the two World Wars and all conflicts involving British or Commonwealth Forces since the start of the Twentieth Century to the present. Our collection also reflects aspects of civilian life in wartime, military life in peacetime, military exercises and operations.
This film is part of Free
Behind the Guns
A Second World War propaganda film, looking at the industrial might behind Great Britain’s armed forces.
From the collection of:
A propaganda film whisking the audience through a tour of Britain’s wartime industries, sending a clear message that Britain’s war workers are an “army without uniform”. The fervent propaganda builds momentum as the film progresses. One wartime viewer commented that the film; “builds-up picture and music into a series of hammer blows”, making a direct link between the workers and the war front.
This government film is a public record, preserved and presented by the BFI National Archive on behalf of The National Archives, home to more than 1,000 years of British history.
Industry sponsored film 1940 8 mins
An enticing government call for men to retrain as skilled engineers to help with the war effort.
Government sponsored film 1942 12 mins
Wartime news magazine for factory workers, sponsored by the Ministry of Supply. News items often stressed the value of the 'factory front'.
Government sponsored film 1942 11 mins Location: Liverpool
A wartime magazine made to motivate and inform war workers, commissioned by the Ministry of Information in 1942 and exclusively screened in factories.
Government sponsored film 1940 10 mins
Shipwrights, plate-fitters and riveters support the war effort as their ships take majestic shape in this tour of British shipyards.
Promotional 1943 25 mins Silent Location: Whitchurch
Meat and wheat, oranges and eggs (dried), salmon and peaches (tinned) arrive in Cardiff from Brazil, America, Canada and New Zealand to keep war-time’s wolf from the allied door.
Government sponsored film 1941 9 mins
Women on the factory floor? An engineer needs convincing that war work is a feminine pursuit.
Action and Adventure 1923 28 mins Silent Location: Tilbury
Plotting world domination, Devil Doctor Fu-Manchu steals plans for a new aero-torpedo in this earliest surviving thrill-a-minute serial instalment.
Inside Film 2024 16 mins
Filmmakers Jane Giles and Ali Catterall discuss their documentary Scala!!!, revisiting the legendary and inspirational cinema venue and some of the most notorious films that screened there.
Drama 2023 2 mins
A group of young Black boys run into a building. One of them is about to do the unimaginable.
Romance 2023 2 mins
A queercore romance - a visceral and immersive exploration of the power of the mosh pit and finding love in the most unlikely of places.
Charity appeal 1939 10 mins
Long thought lost, this Powell-directed promotional short for a veteran’s charity was only rediscovered in 2003.
Documentary 1941 6 mins
A poignant, stirring letter from a recently deceased pilot to his mother is read by John Gielgud.